Theatrical Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

It’s 1957, and in the Nevada desert, a covert Russian military force has captured the archaeologist adventurer Professor Indiana Jones to find one of his finds to serve their own needs. Jones, with his usual aplomb, manages to make his escape, but not without consequence to himself. Because of what happened, and because of the “Red Scare” period of time, Jones finds himself under the watch of the FBI as a possible subversive. Jones is ready to leave the country when a young man by the name of Mutt Williams approaches him about helping to find a mutual friend, and Mutt’s mother. Their journey leads them to South America and a further tie with the adventure that Jones started this story out with. and of course, hijinks ensue…

… and I could tell you more, but to do so would be to spoil more of the and if you’re an Indiana Jones fan, you surely do not want me to do that.

I’ve gotta say, out of all the big summer blockbusters, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the one that I was least looking forward to, primarily because it’s been 20 years since the last story and I thought this might be dipping into the well one time too many and also because lead actor Harrison Ford hasn’t done that much to impress me with any of his other films of late, even being in one, Hollywood Homicide that I just consider extremely awful. So what an extremely pleasant surprise for me that so far, I think director Steven Spielberg, producer and writer George Lucas, and star Harrison Ford have delivered the best summer movie going experience yet. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is just a rousing good time and does some wonderful stuff to fill in the gaps of the 20 years since we’ve last seen Professor Jones back in action.

I’d put this one right on a par with Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade which I also thought was just one hell of a good time.

Oh sure, this has the signature stuff that you expect it to have, legends of old and thrilling adventure set pieces to go with it, but it also expands the story, adding significantly to Indy’s personal history and taking one of Indy’s quest in a whole new direction, one much more in the science fiction vein.

Harrison Ford is absolutely terrific here, and the fun he’s having shows all over the performance. Yeah, sure he’s aged 20 years and they don’t exactly hide it either and that’s just terrific. I also have to give Shia LeBeouf high marks as Mutt Williams. the scenes that he and Indy have together, especially after getting to South America are terrific. Mutt’s certainly a product of the time, a motorcycle riding greaser who’s certainly got a tough guy exterior, but once he’s in Jones’ world, he certainly bows to the experience. filling out the cast are Cate Blanchett as the villain of the piece, Ray Winstone, John Hurt and the return of Karen allen in the part of Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s really a wonderful cast and they are truly enjoying themselves here.

As is the case with the other films, this is a pure salute to the classic movie serials of old, and the action certainly comes from that, with some of it (mostly around Mutt) being a little over-the-top. But like I said, that’s mostly with Mutt and it works in a way that basically says, this is what this character would be all about, and I think by the film’s end, you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, I just think Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is just absolutely fantastic entertainment and so far the best of the big summer blockbusters. don’t miss this one for one moment… highly, highly recommended…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

25. May 2008 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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