Thursday, May 22, 2008

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL - The Film Babble Blog Review

I just got home from a midnight show of the new Indiana Jones movie and am ready to blog ‘bout it so here goes: 

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2008)



The most anticipated movie since the first of the STAR WARS prequels has had fans worried the world over that their beloved childhood memories may again be in jeopardy. 


That’s right, of all the threats that our whip cracking archaeologist hero has to face, the wrath of the hardcore fanboy force may be the scariest. Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas knew going in that this franchise was in the current CGI era of comic book superheroes a murky cob-webbed temple filled with elaborate traps and to enter and go for the gold one more time may result in getting crushed by a giant boulder of condemnation. 


Well, somehow they amazingly emerge with an entry that is as good an Indiana Jones movie as could be made today. Right off the bat it’s an old school blast set in 1957 with the villains being the KGB (since Nazis would be out of date) led by a dominatrix-like Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone as a now you trust him, now you don’t partner of Indy’s and Shia LeBeouf as a WILD ONE attired motorcycling youth who ropes our Dr. Jones into another globe trotting adventure. 


The first shots of the grizzled grey haired Ford scowling like only Ford as Indy can are a bit of a shock. I mean, he’s 65 but within moments the manner in which he naturally assumes the role of his most iconic character again can be considered one of the best special effects on display here.



It’s fitting that my last post was about self-referential moments in Lucas/Spielberg movies because this is self-referential city! To go into any in any detail at this early point though would be major Spoiler action so don’t worry I won’t go there. 


I will say that all the elements you would expect and want from an Indiana Jones movie are here in abundance including the multitudes of close range shooting by groups of military men with machine guns that don’t hit anybody, legions of bugs, snakes (of course), those dusty skeleton filled caverns with still working mechanizations, bickering with the leading lady (welcome back to the spunky Karen Allen who seems to be really enjoying herself) in moments of extreme danger, and my personal favorite - the amount of times, with great classic sound effect, that Indy can be punched in the face and then be fine less than 10 seconds later. 


Ford is more engaged here than he has been in ages but with projects like HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (2003) that’s not too surprising. It does seem like LaBeouf is being groomed to take over the series (hope that's not a Spoiler) which is not a notion I’m comfortable with but hey, I’m getting ahead myself. 


It’s just so nice that unlike the STAR WARS prequels there is nothing here that embarrasses the series and I predict this will be embraced by the faithful fans for the most part. 


Despite that Indiana Jones has a new catchphrase with “this can’t be good” and even recites Han Solo’s classic “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” line, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is very good entertainment with just the right tone and humor. So join the rest of the world in breathing a sigh of relief at the multiplex. 


More later...

9 comments:

OKonheim said...

Hey Dan, I just rewatched the old indiana jones films and i watched the new one again, and i actually agree, on second viewing, that indiana jones, the new film was actually fairly consistent with the old films, in tone, and it is incredibly satisfying to see Jones and Marion Ravenwood reunite.

I think that the aliens just make it rediculous, and so does shia lebouf swining from vines.

blue-velvet-ant said...

I loved it, but I really couldn't get Jones and Marion getting married in the end. Forget the aliens, they didn't bother me in the least. That wasn't the first time that legend came up with connection to a crystal skull - but married? Come on?? He's Indiana Jones. He doesn't do married.

Assmaster-Towlie-ban said...

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Major Problems
Casting Shia Labeouf as Indiana Jones’s son. I know and I admit that he is a good actor, but I can’t take him seriously in movies. I mean, come on, he was Lewis from Even Stevens.

Indiana surviving the nuclear explosion by hiding in the lead refrigerator. Let’s just say the lead did shield him from the nuclear blast. The entire fridge wouldn’t be made of lead and the elements would melt in the blast opening the door and exposing him to nuclear fire. Fine, lets say the door didn’t melt off. Lead is an extremely soft metal and can be dented by human strength alone. The impact of hurling the fridge several hundred feet would crush it and anybody inside. Lets say he did survive the impact of being hurled. Nuclear explosions, even in the days of WWII are miles wide and Dr. Jones would have easily suffered from radiation poisoning, which he would die in agony a few days later.

Car scene where Shia Labeouf does the splits between the cars and is constantly getting pelted in the crotch by shrubbery and infant saplings. I’m not even going to go into detail about this.

Shia Labeouf swinging on the vines with the monkeys. Again I’m not even going to go into detail about how pathetically lame that scene is and how inaccurate every bit of it can be.
Again the monkeys attacking the Russians!!!!??????!~!!!!8===D

The ants

Driving the car off the cliff and safely landing in the tree while it bends miraculously down into the river. How did she know that would happen? She didn’t, and that’s why the movie is
so fake.

So many more towards the end……………………….

God damn it……the rest of the movie is so bad………….I can’t believe I thought it was good a quarter of the way in.

Assmaster-Towlie-ban said...

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Major Problems
Casting Shia Labeouf as Indiana Jones’s son. I know and I admit that he is a good actor, but I can’t take him seriously in movies. I mean, come on, he was Lewis from Even Stevens.

Indiana surviving the nuclear explosion by hiding in the lead refrigerator. Let’s just say the lead did shield him from the nuclear blast. The entire fridge wouldn’t be made of lead and the elements would melt in the blast opening the door and exposing him to nuclear fire. Fine, lets say the door didn’t melt off. Lead is an extremely soft metal and can be dented by human strength alone. The impact of hurling the fridge several hundred feet would crush it and anybody inside. Lets say he did survive the impact of being hurled. Nuclear explosions, even in the days of WWII are miles wide and Dr. Jones would have easily suffered from radiation poisoning, which he would die in agony a few days later.

Car scene where Shia Labeouf does the splits between the cars and is constantly getting pelted in the crotch by shrubbery and infant saplings. I’m not even going to go into detail about this.

Shia Labeouf swinging on the vines with the monkeys. Again I’m not even going to go into detail about how pathetically lame that scene is and how inaccurate every bit of it can be.
Again the monkeys attacking the Russians!!!!??????!~!!!!8===D

The ants

Driving the car off the cliff and safely landing in the tree while it bends miraculously down into the river. How did she know that would happen? She didn’t, and that’s why the movie is
so fake.

So many more towards the end……………………….

God damn it……the rest of the movie is so bad………….I can’t believe I thought it was good a quarter of the way in.

janu said...

I like this movie so much ....... its aliens create interest in this movie .....so people want to see in it more intersting.....Download movie Indiana jones

Anonymous said...

I have been an Indy fan since Raiders. The way that movie flowed from one action sequence to another, and the fight scenes were choreagraphed like broadway musical- perfect! Ive owned a Brown fedora and Bomber jacket ever since. The two sequels were fun and worthy of multiple viewings just like the original. But, this new one has left me quite disenchanted. There I was, in my hat and jacket, walking out of the midnight premier shaking my head and cursing not only Spielberg but the whole damn movie industry all together. The reason they made $80 mill was purely out of anticipation. What really kills me is that Harrison said this was the best Indy script he'd seen over the last 20 years. The others must have really been piss poor.
The reason why the first three were so damn good was due to the old school style in which it was filmed. On a real location with real snakes, bugs, and rats. Digital bugs? It was like Speilberg ripped off "The Mummy" with its beatles. Sorry guys, digital bugs and blue screens equal lazy, and indescribably boring film making. A friend bought the DVD for me as a gift. Its in the closet with all the other crap I'll never watch. But Raiders is right next to my armchair.

Anonymous said...

I have been an Indy fan since Raiders. The way that movie flowed from one action sequence to another, and the fight scenes were choreagraphed like broadway musical- perfect! Ive owned a Brown fedora and Bomber jacket ever since. The two sequels were fun and worthy of multiple viewings just like the original. But, this new one has left me quite disenchanted. There I was, in my hat and jacket, walking out of the midnight premier shaking my head and cursing not only Spielberg but the whole damn movie industry all together. The reason they made $80 mill was purely out of anticipation. What really kills me is that Harrison said this was the best Indy script he'd seen over the last 20 years. The others must have really been piss poor.
The reason why the first three were so damn good was due to the old school style in which it was filmed. On a real location with real snakes, bugs, and rats. Digital bugs? It was like Speilberg ripped off "The Mummy" with its beatles. Sorry guys, digital bugs and blue screens equal lazy, and indescribably boring film making. A friend bought the DVD for me as a gift. Its in the closet with all the other crap I'll never watch. But Raiders is right next to my armchair.

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Thomas Watson said...

It is staggeringly unremarkable in its plot and execution, but at under 2 hours long it is much less bloated and baggy than either the Star Wars prequels or the Pirates of the Caribbean series.