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MOVIE REVIEWS Adventure Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
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Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Genre Adventure
Year: 2008

The Indiana Jones franchise has been dormant for a number of years after ending the trilogy with his fedora held high. However, the character’s popularity and the recent spate of successful renaissance sequels in Die Hard, Rambo and Rocky Balboa led Indy to his much-anticipated fourth installment, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Spielberg returns to create another exciting chapter with all the same faces (bar Sean Connery) as renowned archeologist, professor and adventurer Henry “Indiana” Jones gets ensnared in a Soviet plan to reunite several Crystal Skulls.

This time Indy’s accomplice is Shia LaBeouf of Disturbia and Transformers notoriety. His Marlon Brando-esque tough guy role becomes a sort of wingman to Indy. He provides some of the comic relief, while filling in as the action sidekick. Cate Blanchett kicks her heels and tries yet another foreign accent. She’s fantastic as the archrival, but they could’ve added more fear to her repertoire of evil. Ray Winstone is in fighting form and makes something of a nothing character, while Karen Allen reprises the role of Marion Ravenwood.

Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is all about action. The theme park ride must have been in the back of their minds as the film was made. This is the reverse of Pirates of the Caribbean, which sparked a blockbuster trilogy with Johnny Depp. Indiana Jones 4 is just as epic, but seems to be influenced by what makes a great film by today’s cinema standards. This is its main flaw. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull feels like a walk-through of Steven Spielberg’s filmography, borrowing bits and pieces from his portfolio as a director/producer. The movie has the same music and feel as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade. The film cleverly ties into the ’50s with fashion resembling Back to the Future. However, there’s not as much romance and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tends to fall back on CGI most of the time.

It’s like a whirlwind of climaxes that keep trying to trump the one preceding it. The chase sequences, swashbuckling and escapes become more daring, bigger and more dependent on CGI as the film builds up to a crescendo. This makes Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seem like it’s taking a page from The Mummy Returns, rather than the other way around!?

The cast are phenomanal, the film-makers are legendary and the story is captivating, but it feels like they’ve taken it a bit too far. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull elevates Indy to something of a superhero. He’s known as being something of a nugget, but Indiana Jones 4 takes the cake in one big gulp. Fantasy realism bombards the ‘old school’ stunts of Indiana’s legacy and he stages a comic book hero revival. The whole process is enthralling and entertaining, however it doesn’t have the same grit as the first three chapters. This is more commerical and there’s little passion driving the film-makers this time around. The movie can only suspend disbelief for so long and seeing groundhogs and monkeys adds the cheese of money-making. The Mayan dynasty gets milked again after Apocalypto and National Treasure: The Book of Secrets. This ancient culture seems to be the new Egypt, and there’s very little respect for sacred artefacts and tradition.

Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull crashes through the jungle like the first Spanish fleet of conquistadors did some centuries ago. They’re after gold and this movie reeks of it. If you want to munch popcorn and have your senses bombarded by breathtaking action sequences and the mysteries of history according to Professor/Colonel Henry “Indiana” Jones… you’ve got a winner.

The bottom line: Unreal.

7.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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