Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sees the return of one of the great movie action heroes of all time. This time around, Indy finds himself traveling to a lost village somewhere along the Amazon with a young motorcycle enthusiast named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) and his long, lost love Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), who last appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy and the gang have set out to uncover the mystery of an enigmatic artifact known as the Crystal Skull but they must do so with an army of Russians, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), hot on their tail. As expected, Indy finds himself swinging around on a whip, face to face with a giant snake, in ridiculous car chases through the jungle, falling over not one, not two but three waterfalls and in more than one situation with his back against the wall and battling the odds as only Indiana Jones could do.

The first thing I must point out is that if you're going to Crystal Skull and expecting to see the next Raiders of the Lost Ark, don't go. Raiders is a movie that may never be duplicated. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it WILL never be duplicated. However, if you are going for a fun time, a good laugh, a walk down memory lane and Indiana Jones at his best, or as good as he can be at his age, then Crystal Skull is the perfect movie for you. Sure, Indy might move a little slower than he did 27 years ago. Who wouldn't? But he's still got a few great moves, a handful of one-liners and that brain that just never stops working and that's more than enough to keep Indiana Jones entertaining for close to 2 full hours.

There are a few problems I had with Crystal Skull. I wasn't crazy about the villains in the movie. They just didn't seem villainous enough, including Cate Blanchett. Definitely not in the league of Belloq and his pals from Raiders. I always rate my villains on how much you dislike them and I don't think we even got to know the villains enough in Crystal Skull to dislike them all that much. I also wasn't too crazy about Shia LaBeouf either and I'm a fan of his but he just seemed a bit too reserved in his role. Perhaps he was a bit intimidated working with Harrison Ford? Shia probably could have been used a bit better in the movie. He also starred in a pretty ridiculous sword fight and an even more ludicrous scene with some monkeys. Somewhat entertaining but just a bit too over the top, even for an Indy movie. Then there were some of the stunts involving Indy where it was too obviously not Harrison Ford. Not a big deal, but I see way too many movies to not notice something like that.

But with all that being said, there were some great Indy moments. I loved the killer ants. I loved the return of Marion Ravenwood and pretty much every scene between her and Indy. And I loved every moment that Indy put that brown fedora back on his sweaty, bloody head and proceeded to kick some ass as Indy is sometimes prone to do (although when I think about it, he really didn't use the famous whip too much). I do have one question, however - didn't Indy and his father drink out of some goblet in The Last Crusade that was supposed to let them live forever and even prevent them from aging? Hmmmm...

In the end, this movie is pretty much everything I expected it to be. You have to know it will never match the first Indy movie. Hell, it might even be the fourth best movie of the entire series but is that a bad thing? I think not. I would have been happy just watching Indy living in an old age home and spending two hours looking for the long, lost pacemaker. Perhaps in another 27 years?

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