Review of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

indiana_jones_and_the_crystal_skull.jpg I really wanted to love this film. I am a tremendous fan of the previous three Indiana Jones films with their quirky humour and tremendous action sequences. Unfortunately here both seem to have been lost.

Indy (Harrison Ford) is shown at the beginning of the film as having aged (no surprise) teaming up with a young man (Shia LaBeouf) in trying to find his mother and a legendary “crystal skull”. The young man is a black-leather wearing “rocker” spending a lot of time throughout the film combing his slicked-back hair. We eventually learn that the young man is Indy's son and the mother is Marian (Karen Allen, fondly remembered from the first film). After recovering the unusually shaped crystal skull we find out that it is alien in nature and holds the key to a mysterious Inca temple supposedly made of gold…

I should have known at the beginning with the traditional first action “set piece” consisting of nothing more than a bunch of kids trying to race an army vehicle (no where near as interesting as similar races in “American Graffiti” despite being directed by one of Kingdom's writers, George Lucas – perhaps this was a slight nod to this). After this there is a mildly interesting car race through Indy's university town that goes on for about 5 minutes longer than it should have but this trend continues later in the film with a truck race through the rain forest that drags on forever. The action is fast and interesting in their own way but no where near as original as those in the original three films. Surely the film-makers knew that people would be looking to see these original films topped? Here, it seems, they give people more of the same, and not even done as well…

Marion, admittedly, does perk up the lagging story when she finally arrives about half way through the film but even she lags behind with the overwhelming special effects laden finale that completely wipes out any “acting” or “characters” that may have (doubtfully) been previously in place. The effects ARE good but it would have been nice to see the characters explored in more depth than the surface treatment they get here. Very infrequently was I pleased with witty banter instead having to put up with banal exposition or silly quips (with Marion present witty should have been the order of the day…).

Honestly, having seen the film I find very little memorable about it – The plot, or the characters. I will have to stick to the original Indy trilogy and pretend this does not exist…

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2008-05-25

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2008

Length: 124 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Steven Spielberg: