Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

July 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

On the positive side, it’s great to see Harrison Ford back as Indiana Jones, he seems to be enjoying himself, and he can still pull off the role. Setting the film in the fifties as well as introducing his son (meaning there’s at least one new element) and bringing back Karen Allen as the love interest were all good ideas. Aside from refusing to deny the fact that Ford is older, setting the film in the fifties is also wise for allowing the setting to be another distinct era, complete with Cold War paranoia.

The film is certainly entertaining, though on the negative side we’re a long way from the gritty stunts of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and the curious lack of tension in the action sequences is partly because of all the CGI effects — the Tarzan sequence in particular is quite daft — but also almost certainly because this is the fourth time around, and even the rhythm of the film is familiar as it juggles plot and action. As the villain, Cate Blanchett sports a Louise Brooks haircut and appears to be under the impression it’s her job to be as two-dimensional as possible, even as another character changes sides so frequently I stopped caring. So it’s the weakest Indiana Jones film, though still head and shoulders above a lot of adventure films.

Oh, and for the record, I recognize Raiders is the best one (over at Rotten Tomatoes the consensus isthat it’s “one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time”) but Temple of Doom (1984) remains my favourite for breaking from the formula and doing something different, as well as being the most gleefully relentless film in the series. Hopefully there will be another film, and it won’t be afraid to be somewhat smaller scale (as we saw in Temple of Doom) and break the pattern of world-shattering discoveries we’ve seen so often in the series.

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