“It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”
Indiana Jones painfully uttered those words nearly 27 years ago. They are still true.
Despite all the shots from skeptics and the concerns of fans, it turns out that Harrison Ford is not too old for this role. In fact he is as good
as he ever was. As soon as he picks up that fedora, he is Indy again, and even the harshest critic would have a hard time telling you
As for the film itself, it’s a more than worthy addition to the series with plenty of thrilling action sequences and a mystery that provides a
fantastic and downright spectacular payoff.
The climactic sequences make for a visual extravaganza of Steven Spielberg camerawork, art direction and visual effects. And the ending
is truly a gift to the fans.
Speaking of Spielberg's camerawork, man, can this guy stage an action sequence. With the current trends of handheld cameras and furious
editing, Spielberg's relatively long, continuous shots build in energy and really show off the spectacular set pieces in a way that makes one
wonder why so many filmmakers are eager to obscure our vision all the time.
The show stopping sequence has to be a truck chase through the jungle which includes just about every method of fighting known to man,
from sword fighting to RPG. If the notion of two characters having a fencing match in between two moving vehicles is too much for you,
maybe you should stay away from this movie.
I will admit that a Tarzan sequence is a little on the silly side, but it’s all in the name of pulpy fun.
Unfortunately, one aspect of the film that does fall a bit short of the mark is David Koepp’s script. He does an admirable job developing
these characters and their relationships, but the humor doesn’t quite hit the mark consistently enough. There are certainly more than a
handful of really good laughs, but it can’t compete with “Last Crusade.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the new guys this time around, and all of them are up to the challenge. Leading the way is Cate
Blanchett as the villainous Irina Spalko, who is in search of the mysterious secret of the crystal skulls for mother Russia.
Shia LaBeouf, despite being the cause of almost as much concern as Indy’s age, is also quite good as Indy’s newfound sidekick Mutt
Williams. The two develop a nice chemistry throughout the film.
Karen Allen also does a nice job reprising her role of Marion Ravenwood, and Ray Winstone is always a welcome face as the shifty Mac
And while characters come and go throughout the series, it wouldn’t be an Indiana Jones film without a John Williams score, and the
maestro proves once again that he still has it with a wonderful score that truly recaptures the magic of the original films.
And now there’s the inevitable question. Is it as good as the originals? My gut reaction would be to say no, but honestly, “Temple of Doom”
and “Last Crusade” are not exactly perfect movies and it’s debatable which of the three sequels would rank in which order.
So I guess my answer is, Indy is back, and he is back in a good film. Enjoy it for what it is. It’s very rare that an iconic character can come
back after an almost 20 year vacation, but Spielberg, Lucas and Ford have brought him back to life, and the result is a fitting final(?) chapter
for the man in the hat.
* * *
(out of four)
|INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM
OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: David Koepp
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen,
Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent
Cinematography by: Janusz Kaminski
Music by: John Williams
Released: May 22, 2008; 120 Minutes