Friday, June 20, 2008

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

So I stole away and finally saw "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", and I have to say I liked it, but not as much as I did the others. Maybe the franchise is just getting old, or maybe it's me. After all I'm older too, and the film does make a lot of references to age. But the film does stand on it's own, and I like the way they worked in the 50's and the McCarthy witch hunts. I'm sure the filmmakers are winking at us and at how the more things change the more they stay the same. The bid bad Soviets are the bad guys here, and Cate Blanchett plays an evil little foe for Indy to go up against. Shia LaBeouf plays Indy's long lost son, which is no surprise. I mean I saw that coming a mile away, but the filmmakers have some fun with it, and if Shia LaBeouf is going to be the heir apparent to the Indy mantle then I don't see a problem. After all the franchise needs to continue. My only complaint was that Shia LaBeouf is a better actor then he plays here. In some scenes I sense he's just phoning it in. Harrison Ford does a good job, and he makes the age thing work for him, and don't forget Karen Allen. She's great at reprising her role as Marion. The end even works for me, so it's a nice wrap up for the series, but still there seems to be a lot of CGI in the film. Maybe it's the way things are, and I've complained about this before, but because you can do it doesn't mean you should use it.

The alien plot was a bit different, but it worked. I did feel that there were a lot of flights of fancy in this Indy then in others. The battle in the jungle seemed to go on forever, and after awhile it seemed just too unrealistic. But again the franchise is based on those 40's & 50's serials where the main character always got in over his or her head, and by next week he or she easily manages to extricate themselves from certain death.

Spielberg still has love for his characters, and he shows it here. I'm sure filming Indy 4 was a delight, and something special for the actors involved. The cinematography in the film is reminiscent of the old 40's noir lighting. Our first glimpse of Indy is in shadow as he puts on his famous hat. Maybe the other films are so steeped in our sub-conscious that nostalgia plays a big role in when we watch them. After all a lot of us were young when we first saw Indy kick some Nazi butt, and it was a style of filmmaking that had long ago been forgotten. The phrase what was old is now new is true here. Watching Indy 4 I got a bit misty thinking when I first heard Indy's theme swell up through the theaters speakers. John Williams score is as intrical to the film then any other element in the movie, and its an amazing score. I do feel that Spielberg does push it at times in this latest film, but then I can't blame him for doing so we all like what we hear.

If you're a fan I think you won't be disappointed, and if you're not and new to the series I still think you'll enjoy the roller coaster ride, but do see the original it still rocks even in today's age.

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