The team that could do no wrong in the 1980s (George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford) have reunited for the sequel that we never thought would happen - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's been a long time since any of these guys have had a bona-fide hit, (the Star Wars prequels don't count because most fans of the original films really don't like them), but did they return to greatness with Indy IV?
Let me preface this review by stating that Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time. I'm also a huge Indiana Jones fan. Despite this, I had relatively low expectations for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull due to the lackluster films that the guys mentioned earlier have made in the last 15 years. Still, the Indy fanboy in my was pretty darn excited when the Lucasfilm logo appeared on the screen last night and the movie began.
The first half of the movie is the answer to the prayers of all Indy fans. Action, drama, well-placed humor, nods to the previous films, and an older, but maybe not wiser, Indiana Jones. I totally accepted Indy in 1957 and the storyline had me curious. The intro of Mutt Williams, (played by Shia Labeouf), works well, too.
But, the second half of the movie was a bit of a let down. The action/fight scenes are drawn out too long, the humor is overplayed, and the whole crux of the movie just doesn't hold up to any of the previous films. Cate Blanchett's villainous Irina Spalko, is pretty lame, too, compared to the baddies in the first two films, but on par with Walter Donovan from the Last Crusade. Bottom line is that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has the weakest overall story of the four Indy films, and the mystery in this one is just so-so.
Having said all of that, it's Indiana Jones!!! Go see this movie in the theater. As with all of the previous Indy movies, it's got a huge scope, and I liked a great deal about it. First and foremost, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) is back! The best of Indy's love interests from the movies, Marion could hold her own with Indy in Raiders, and she fares pretty well in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Harrison Ford has been in slump for the last 15 years, but he hits it out of the park here. His portrayal of Indy is nostalgic and refreshing at the same time.
John Williams’ score is excellent. He weaves elements from the three previous films into a new tapestry of music for the film and it does what all good scores do - it enhances, and becomes part of, the movie.
With one viewing of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I would rank it just about even with, or slightly better than, The Last Crusade, but not as good as Temple of Doom and nowhere near as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark. But it's a solid sequel that most fans of the series should enjoy.
It gets a grade of B/B-.
Thanks for reading.
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