Should have gone with its working title, “Indiana Jones and the Hell Yeah of Whoo”.
I’m going to be brief for now: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a pretty good movie. It is replete with communists, McCarthyism (not viewed as a good thing), and it proves something very important to all of us: Shia LaBeouf doesn’t suck, Transformers does.
It’s 1957, and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is taken hostage by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) of the Psychic Research Branch of the KGB (seriously). After his daring escape, Indy is lumped in with the communists and is put on an extended leave – which is just as well because he is approached by the greaser “Mutt” (Shia LeBeouf), who wants Indy to find his old colleague Harold Oxley (John Hurt) and his mother Mary (“there’s been a lot of Maries”). On the run from the KGB and looking to solve a riddle left by Oxley, Indy and Mutt travel the world for a bit, fight an inexplicable blow-dart champion in an ancient graveyard, and uncover all variety of mysteries while escaping giant ants and hiding in fridges.
I’ll be honest: I don’t remember any Indiana Jones movies except for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I own the DVD set, but Raiders is as far as I’ve gotten. I remember seeing The Last Crusade at the cinema when I was a lad (I would have been three years old at the time), but the only image I have in my mind is that of young Indy on a train that had a carriage full of snakes for some reason. I’m pretty sure that’s actually in the movie.
The point of the matter is that I can’t really say how this compares, relatively, to the other movies in the series. I can tell you that I personally enjoyed it more than Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I watched again last week and which I think is missing something although what that something is I cannot say.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is little more than an adventure movie that refuses to take itself seriously. It even has a sequence set on Endor, with Ewoks swinging from tree to tree; that’s what it felt like, at least, but I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s hard to explain what I felt during this movie: it’s just the sort of elation that I get when I see something and feel that it is, somehow, essential to the existence of humanity. It does so many things that I like so, so right. It even has Neil Flynn as a CIA agent, and Alan Dale as an army officer! It’s like this movie was made for me. It even had me tearing up at little obvious emotional things. It’s that good.
The way that the story turns out is probably going to get a lot of negative attention, but if you’d seen any vague clues as to the story behind the crystal skulls, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. I read an interview with Spielberg and Lucas where they say that the series has always featured the paranormal and the supernatural; do you really need to suspend disbelief as to what happens when you’ve already seen people’s faces melting from witnessing the opening of a box? I posit that you do not! Things that I really liked included Indy’s constant shifting of cooperation and battle, the almost complete lack of stilts in the script (except for one pretty bad line towards the end), and Indy’s general attitude not of “I’m too old for this shit” but rather “I’m not as good at this shit as I used to be, but I can still kick someone in the face.” I would have liked a bit more of Cate Blanchett as Spalko, but what we did get was pretty dang good. There’s not quite enough hubris involved (the Russkies are simply stupid), but it was a good time all up.
I really enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In my new world order, all naysayers shall be put to the death, or provided with free tickets to Don’t Mess With The Zohan. The option that will be taken has yet to be decided.