Friday, May 23, 2008
Indiana Jone and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Henry Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) is back at it again in this fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise. Jones is approached by a fellow named Mutt (Shia Lebeouf)to help him locate his mom's boyfriend (John Hurt). The boyfriend was an old friend of Indiana's named Howard Oxley. Oxley believed he had located a crystal skull which is the key to a secret to a lost city of gold. Throw in Mutt's mother (Karen Allen) is really Marion Ravenwood from Raiders and you get a family get-together much like the second National Treasure. I don't necessarily mean that as a compliment. Oh and don't forget a miscast Cate Blanchett as a Russian general trying to get a piece of the crystal kingdom too.
I'm a bit late reviewing this because essentially my heart was broken. I knew it was gonna happen, but I hoped that somehow Spielberg could rescue this film from the evil clutches of George Lucas. Lucas is the man that came up with this lame-brained storyline. The setup for the film is actually quite well done all the way up til the crystal skull is revealed - then it is bye bye to logic and the world we knew of in the Indiana Jones series. It turns into a shotty episode of something resembling X-Files - without the brains. David Koepp was asked to create a screenplay based on this Lucas abomination and to be fair he does what he can.
Spielberg's elaborate stunts seem small in scale. The camera feels like it is only capturing a small bit of screen unlike the epic feel of say Raiders. Much of this has to be blamed on absurd CGI effects. Lucas is no doubt to blame for the dumbing down of this series. The latter Star Wars films suffered from the, "Hey look what we can do with CGI even if it doesn't fit with the rest of the film!" attitude. Everything feels cheap and small. I know Harrison can't do everything he used to, but that doesn't mean you have to CG other parts that could be done by stuntmen.
All that being said, you the audience get a horrible tacked on ending. I'm sure Lucas/Spielberg wanted to tie things up in a way to make to please the crowd, but more people I knew at the screening were angry since it went against everything the first films had established. Maybe it's not Indiana Jones that needs to hang it up, maybe it is George Lucas.