I truly never thought Speilberg and Lucas were ever going to make another Indiana Jones film. It seemed like it always was a fanboy’s wildest dream and when the co-creators and Harrison Ford were interviewed, they always seemed to give the standard Hollywood line about finding a script upon which they all could agree.
Well, here we are 19 years after “The Last Crusade” and “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is in theaters.
Since 1989 and even before, fans have seen how difficult it is to recapture that hard-to-define movie magic after long years between sequels: “The Godfather III” and “Star Wars: Episode I” being the prime examples.
Go see this film. You’ll have fun. It deserves to be seen on the big screen.
As with any movie, you should go with no expectations; expectations can only disappoint you. And if you haven’t seen any other Indiana Jones films (or haven’t seen them in a while), take the time to do it. Watching “The Temple of Doom” is optional.
THE REVIEW: Don’t worry: Best buds and great collaborators Speilberg and Lucas have been able to dust off Indy’s universe successfully. (A bit of redemption on Lucas’ part for “Episode I” and casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker.)
“Crystal Skull” takes place in 1957; the dialogue addresses that there have been many years since the last adventure. Many parts of the story acknowledge what happened in the late 1950s: Testing the atomic bomb, the communism scare, “greasers” and Elvis’ “Hound Dog,” down to Shia LeBeouf channeling Marlon Brando and James Dean in his first on-screen appearance.
I went into it not wanting to like LeBeouf’s character, but Mutt Williams is a good foil for Indy. His name has two great double-meanings, but I won’t go into that so I don’t spoil it for you. (You’ll be able to figure out the significance Mutt plays in Indy’s life easily enough.)
Karen Allen isn’t quite as feisty as Marion Ravenwood was in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” However, she’s still a lot of fun and knows how to help Indy when he’s in a tough spot. While Marion obviously has become a middle-aged woman content with her life, she is more than a damsel in distress and it’s great to see her back in Indy’s life.
Sadly, “The Last Crusade” really was just that for the retired Sean Connery. On the other hand, the filmmakers (with Lucas co-writing the story and sharing executive producer credit with long-time Indy veteran Kathleen Kennedy) give the elder Jones a presence in “Crystal Skull.” Indy refers to him several times and briefly takes time to mourn his father’s death from several years ago. An even better homage is having Indy embrace being called “Henry Jones Jr.” much more than Indiana Jones.
Unlike the previous installments, “Crystal Skull” doesn’t address the recurring theme of belief, but the same sense of fun is still there. There’s not enough of Indy using his whip, but we still get the great chases, beautiful cinematography, thrilling action scenes and Indy reclaiming his fedora when it gets knocked off his head we’ve come to expect.
Parts of “Crystal Skull” drag, but the film never loses its momentum or becomes boring – also not like the previous three ones.
You thought I forgot about Harrison Ford, didn’t you? In the first few minutes, it seems Ford struggles slightly with playing the adventuring archeologist again — at least in the opening moments, but maybe the early scenes were filmed first or maybe it was me seeing something that’s not there. Once Indy starts looking for a mysterious artifact, Ford and Indy are one. He can still take a punch (and give one), delivers a few good one-liners, improvises during daring escapes and solves seemingly impossible riddles during his search.
Ultimately, you’d be numbskull to miss out on seeing “Crystal Skull” in the theaters. Grade: B+