Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
May 26, 2008

No Spoilers here!

And, in order to keep this a spoiler-free zone, it'll be a short review.

I loved it.

I watched Raiders and Temple of Blech Saturday night. I made the mistake of watching Last Crusade before I went to church Sunday morning. (It was a mistake because I was beyond hyper during church.) We grabbed a quick bite for lunch and headed over to the theatre.

Okay - without spoilers - here are some elements of the movie.

1) As with the other movies, this is a "throwback" to the old serial adventure movies and the golden age of comic books. It is not a realistic action flick. (Actually, I don't think any action flicks are realistic. I guess I mean modern.)

2) It is now 1957. So far as I can tell, Indiana Jones was "born" in 1900 - this makes him 57. (There's a plot for an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles which puts him at age 5 in 1905.)
Fifty-seven year old archeologists of any genre are no longer physically capable of stunts without pain. This holds true throughout the course of the movie and becomes a running gag much as the younger Indy's ability to do stunts with great good luck and little pain were a running gag throughout the first three movies.

3) It is now 1957 and archeology has changed. Let's face it - in the first three movies, Indy was a professional grave robber. He wanted museums to have the stuff he found - but not the museums of the countries of origin. Of course, most archaeologists of that time period did the same thing. It was status quo for the times. However, in 1957 Indy has to change his tactics as he is probably also in the process of changing his opinions on ethics.

4) It is now 1957 and the country has also changed. Quite dramatically, actually. Hence, the characters around Indy are different than they were in earlier films - and some have moved on in one way or another.

5) All of the Indy movie plotlines revolve around one premise: Indy is looking for some mythological, mythical something. The culture varies from Judaic to Hindi to Christian. Indy searches for this thing even though he thinks it's "just" an artifact. He never believes in the mysticism around the artifact when he begins the search - and at the end of the movie that mysticism is always proven to be truth and not just a myth.
In this fourth movie the myth is actually a somewhat 1950s, somewhat American, somewhat South American conglomerate. I found it utterly fascinating that it took several myths and tied them all together - much, quite frankly, as was hinted at but not fully done in Last Crusade.

6) The puzzles in this movie were almost meta-puzzles. That is, they were almost more about the myth of Indiana Jones than they were physical archaeological gimmick-traps as seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Did we still see cool bits of "rock mechanics" and "rock gears" and such? Yep. Loved it.

7) Characterization - I thought Indy's character made as much sense as he ever did. His supporting cast made as much sense as the previous supporting casts (in some ways, even more so). Were some of the characters cardboard? Umm, well, let's think about this. Were any of the bad guys in previous films more than cardboard? Not really and that's where the whole "throwback to the old adventure serials and golden age of comics" comes into play. I don't want them to be fully developed. I don't want to have any sympathy for the bad guy characters. They are mere plot device spear carriers only there so I can watch Indy be Indy.

I'm hearing some people complaining that they are Indy fans and think this movie sucks. Lemme put it this way, it was heads and shoulders above Temple of Doom. I thought it was on par with Last Crusade (and I have a hard time deciding if I like Last Crusade or Raiders more - Raiders is more of an action flick; Crusade is more of an Indy flick, so I think I come down on the side of the more fully developed Last Crusade).

So did I like it? Hellz yeah. Did I think it was a good Indiana Jones flick? Hellz yeah. It was far better than I feared and it was exactly the right script to bring Indy back.

Bravo! (Yes, I do give it five stars out of five.)

Posted by Red Monkey at May 26, 2008 10:53 AM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Natalie said:

wait..... seriously?? you think Crystal Skull was better than Temple of Doom? Like SERIOUSLY?? oh man.... i have to say that i KNOW i'm an Indy fan - I can recite all three originals from beginning to end, and Crystal Skull isn't even close to as amazing as the originals. I think the story was good and it had lots of potential, but the computer animation was AWFUL - swinging with monkeys? computer generated flesh eating ants? gimme a break - the originals had REAL everything - REAL stunts, REAL effects, REAL sets, REAL explosions. AND REAL CREEPY CRAWLIES!!!! Raiders had real snakes, Temple had real and super creepy bugs, and Crusade had real rats. I'm sorry, but the new one just doesn't compare.

Red Monkey says: 1) Yes, I think Temple of Doom is a forgettable movie. Boring. Plot was lame. Couldn't stand the stupid woman and thought the kid was a foreshadowing of JarJar. (Cute actor, but the character was lame.)
2) There were plenty of real stunts in this flick. What is a "real effect?" By definition, an effect is a faking of something. Real creepies? There were some. The snakes in Raiders were some real and some were freaking spray painted black lengths of garden hose. The rats in Last Crusade were robotic. How else could anyone do flesh-eating ants other than CGI? That kind of has to be an effect.
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree cuz I sure don't get your points and I know you don't get mine.
May 26, 2008 2:23 PM


Red said:

I am still up in the air as to if I will see it at the theater or wait for the DVD. Either way I will see it in time. I

May 26, 2008 9:07 PM


PandoraWilde said:

I agree with you 100%--LOVES it, I does! Can't wait for the DVD.

May 26, 2008 11:56 PM


Maria said:

I want to see it! I went to the theater, but my kids insisted on Iron Man. For the 4th time. :(

May 27, 2008 9:43 PM


LiteralDan said:

I'm so excited to see this-- I'll have to wait a few weeks for the opportunity, though :-(

Lousy children.

May 28, 2008 12:10 PM
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