Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skulls.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. 
Blu Ray and DVD. 

Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic figures in movie history. The first three movies are some of the best... uh, maybe not so much on the Temple of Doom. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark took Harrison Ford from being that guy in Star Wars to a legitimate actor. 

When word came down of a fourth Indiana Jones, I got really excited. It had been almost 20 years since the Last Crusade and I was ready. 

First reports stated Harrison Ford and Sean Connery were back. Plus, Tom Selleck was cast as his older brother. George Lucas was writing and producing and Steven Spielberg was  directing. Perfect, right? Wrong. 

Sean Connery dropped out, stating,

"I thought long and hard about it and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film. I love working with Steven and George, and it goes without saying that it is an honor to have Harrison as my son. But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun."
―Sean Connery in 2007

Then Tom Selleck dropped out over script disputes. So the script was heavily rewritten and the brother was removed and replaced with the character of Harold Oxley played by John Hurt. With no Connery, Jim Broadbent was introduced as the Dean of the College. 

The movie itself starts out rather typically of the series with a military unit driving down a dusty desert highway being harassed by some local 1950's stereotyped teens in a hot rod. The military unit turns onto a base remonisiant of area 51 and are revealed to be Russian spies who kill everyone and take over the base. Tossing Indiana Jones from a car with his sidekick Mac, this is where the movie starts to go wrong. 

The only bad guys more overplayed than the Nazis are the Russians. This movie is chalked full of them led by Cate Blanchett with a very bad accent and even badder wig.

During a nuclear explosion at the beginning of the movie, our has-been hero hides in a lead refrigerator only to get launched free of danger. At this point my thought was maybe the rest of the movie will redeem this scene. It didn't. 

The debriefing scene was used to fill in the gap between the movies. He was a spy in WWII... neat. But too much time has passed and to many things have changed like his secretly tratorous sidekick. 

Shia LaBeouf plays Mutt, no surprise, Indiana Jones' son and a greaser bike rider. For some reason his character quickly turns from a street smart brawler to a sword fighting scholar that the movie really could have done without.

John Hurt over acts in his role, making him hard to watch. As for Karen Allen returning as Marion... let's just say time wasn't on her side. 

Here's what it come down to: the feel of the originals was not there. The jokey, cocky way he does things didn't seem to make it into this movie. Scenes such as Indiana facing down a line of villains only to shoot all of them with 1 bullet are really missing in this movie. 

The original three movies were based on religious beliefs such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and the Thugee cult. Beliefs with written records and thousands of years of culture. This time around the movie is based on theoretical, new age beliefs about current pseudo theory that aliens came to Earth and taught the ancients technology. A theory based on little to no facts. 

This movie was just too out there. The story didn't fit into the Indiana Jones mythos. Too many stupid plot twist and bad ideas. I really wanted to like this movie. I kept trying to rationalize my way through this. I kept thinking, maybe the next scene will get better, which turned into 'it can't end like this'. 

Avoid this movie. Even hard core fans will have a problem with this film. There is a theory about this movie series, Raiders was good, Temple was bad. Last Crusade was good, Crystal Skull was bad. Therefore, based on the alternating quality, the assumption is that the 5th one (which they are working on now) will be good. 

Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones. It was after he did the pilot for Magnum P.I. but before the series got picked up. He couldn't do it while the series started shooting and felt obligated to decline.  So when Tom Selleck moved to Hawaii the writers guild went on strike and no filming was done for 6 months. In that time, production of Raiders of the Lost Ark filmed in Hawaii and only took 6 months. 

2 out of 10

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