Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, John Hurt, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written By: David Koepp
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 2 min
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull see’s Indiana Jones return to our cinema screens, nineteen years after his adventures in the Last Crusade. A welcome return? Mostly. At first, you might balk at the idea of Indy meets the aliens. But is that any more fantastical than the Ark of the covenant, magic rocks or the Holy Grail? So as the story goes, I think the Crystal Skull fits in nicely within the franchise, and it’s certainly better than the Temple of Doom.
Harrison Ford seemed happy to be back in the Fedora and leathers and it was also nice to see Karen Allen return to the series. New additions to the franchise, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent, Kate Blanchett and John Hurt were certainly welcome too. The 1950’s cold war era setting also gave the film a fresh new feel over the previous adventures. Sure, we still have all the usual elements – torch lit caves, cobwebs, secret tunnels and traps etc. But this time around we also get mock towns populated by mannequins, and a paranoid American populace worried about communist infiltration.
Where this film fails though is during the action sequences. Indiana Jones movies always require a certain suspension of disbelief, but in the Crystal Skull you have to turn your brain completely off. Starting at the point in the movie when Indy’s survives a nuclear detonation test by jumping into a fridge! The action scenes from then on all start out okay, but quickly get ridiculous as Spielberg and co try to up the ante. From that ‘more must be more’ attitude we end up with Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) swinging through the trees with the monkeys, and the whole gang surviving not one, but three huge water fall drops.
If you enjoyed the other three outings for Indiana Jones, you’ll likely get something out of this. To get the most out of the Crystal Skull though it behooves you to watch the other three films first. Skull is littered with references to the other films.
The scale of the action, especially the finale require a nice big screen. At home a HD viewing is recommended.
Worst moment for me:
Got to be Indiana Jones escaping the nuclear test explosion in a fridge. In the movie they take pains to show you it’s a ‘lead’ lined fridge – like that’s going to protect Indy from the force of the blast, or the subsequent flight and crash landing hundreds of feet away. I know “it’s a movie”, but moments like this are so over the top they just take you out of the film.