Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Feel Like A Kid Again In Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
I must admit I was not an Indiana Jones fan as a kid. With Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Legos, Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Transformers toys and more (Lord Of The Rings and The Matrix as I got older) there wasn’t enough room (literally and mentally) for Indy and his archaeological adventures. And yet, sitting in The Embassy (The same theatre where The Return of The King premiere took place) as the lights went down I could not help but feel extremely giddy.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a damn fun movie that hits a lot more than it misses and the misses are things that no one should be upset about. Again, not being an Indiana Jones fanatic (only saw the three previous films twice) I did not come with that particular depth of knowledge, but I don’t think it mattered. The images from those films are ingrained in our collective consciousness and even if the context is lost, the icons remain.
I want to say a few things about the fans' worries (or the what seems to be the fans' worries). Shia is great, he was the BEST thing about Transformers and holds his own here. Him and Ford have great chemistry together. Cate Blanchett who I absolutely adore and admire is wonderful and a lot less over the top than she appears in the trailers. She finds the right balance between 50s B-Movie acting and dramatic subtly. Ford brings it here two hundred percent and I never knew how much I missed him until now. Yes there is more CGI than the previous outings, but its still less than any other Blockbuster today.
Steven Spielberg was my hero as a kid and this movie recaptures the awe, that classic Steven-fucking-Spielberg awe and I didn’t feel a single slow moment. The exposition relating to the historical aspects of the Crystal Skull, Mayans, etc. wasn’t clunky in the least. It made perfect sense in a story like this. I know that this final script was David Koepp’s hodgepodge of all the previous drafts, but honestly there was only one instance where I could tell. But overall I was laughing (even at jokes I know ‘ol Georgie suggested) and jumping in my seat with excitement. The action was dynamic and never lost its dramatic edge. I don’t know why people have to feel relieved when they say they enjoyed this film, did the Prequels really do that much damage? I guess maybe I’m not as desperate, but this film isn’t just a relief, it’s damn good cinema.
This review is a bit scattershot because it’s only been a half an hour since I experienced Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s probably the best way to review this film though. And no it isn’t about turning off your brain and having fun, it’s more like flipping on a different set of lenses and leaving your cynicism at the door.
As I walked home in downtown Wellington I found myself whistling the theme and seriously looking forward to renting the original three films and maybe catching up on a lost childhood opportunity. I certainly feel like a kid now and it feels really good.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on IMDB
Harry Knowles joyous review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at AICN