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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Movie Review - Indiana Jones

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movie Review - Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Starring Harrison Ford, Shia LeBeouf, Cate Blanchett, and Karen Allen.

Directed by Steven Spielburg.

Rated PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images. Run time of 124 minutes.

Indy's back after a 19 year break and not much has changed. Indiana Jones first came to the screen in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark and then returned in 1984 for The Temple of Doom, and finally The Last Crusade in 1989. Last time Indy was on the screen, he was in the 1930's and they have kept time and date by replacing the 30's setting with a 50's setting on this fourth Indiana Jones installment.

Harrison Ford returns as Indy. He's a little bit older, but still the same old Indy and Ford delivers. Much was discussed about his age, but he fits right back into the role beautifully. Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood in Raiders is back as a former love of Indy who now has a son, Mutt Williams, played by Shia LeBeouf. Many were concerned with the casting of Shia, but he holds his own sharing screen time with the legend Harrison Ford. Adding to newcomer Shia, is the main villain played by Cate Blanchett. Cate is an excellent actress and plays a Russian villain extremely well. Overall, wonderful new casting adds to the already solid original cast that returned.

The fourth Indy flick involves the Russian KGB kidnapping Jones to enlist his services in finding a cargo crate with mysterious contents. Indy eventually escapes only to get tangled back up with the Russians later on, when it is revealed that Indy's old friend has been captured by them over a powerful artifact, the Crystal Skull. Indy sets out to free his friend and reveal the mystery of the Crystal Skull.

To avoid spoilers on the movie, I've been and will be relatively vague in this review. One of the main plot points that isn't really a secret is that Mutt(LeBeouf) is actually Indy's son. This particular plot elements really brings the movie up as Shia and Harrison have a on screen chemistry reminiscent of the chemistry between Harrison and Sean Connery who played his father in The Last Crusade. I always enjoyed the emotional and funny connections made between father and son in the Last Crusade and it is a welcome addition to the new flick. The only thing better would have been to have Sean Connery in there as well, but Mr. Connery turned down the opportunity to reprise his role as he doesn't want to come out of retirement. Luckily, they brought back Karen Allen who is absolutely marvelous reprising the role of Marion Ravenwood. From the moment she is introduced, the movie feels complete. Indy and Marion back on screen together is magic in itself, especially if you are a fan of the first Indy flick, which is the best one.

Overall, the story is great. It feels like it could have been better, but they did such a great job making the script play older to fit in with the previous Indiana Jones movies, while also updating enough to play to modern audiences that a few dragging points and interesting story choices don't ruin it for me. Coupled with a great story and wonderful actors/actresses, the only thing left is a great director and who better than Steven Spielburg. Spielburg did such a great job with the first three Indiana Jones movies that I'm so glad that he choose to return for the 4th. It wouldn't quite be Indiana Jones without the trademarked Spielburg directing style and flare. He really shows his knack for action and adventure thrills in this flick. From exciting chases, gun play, and killer ants, Spielburg films them all with the utmost care to detail and thrills.

There are so many wonderful action sequences and thrills that Indy keeps your attention on the screen. The movie is literally jam packed with great moments, lines, and nostalgia. If you have watched any of the previous Indiana Jones movies and liked/loved them, you'll most likely like/love this new flick. If you didn't like the original films, then we don't talk to you. If you haven't seen the originals, don't cheat yourself! Go watch the originals in the order they were released and then go see Crystal Skull. I don't remember what Indiana Jones film I saw first. I remember in my later years that I watched the whole trilogy at once, but I'm sure I had seen some of not all of them before that. Either way, my favorite of the series, including the Crystal Skull, is the classic first one, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Coming in second is The Last Crusade, with Crystal Skull popping in right underneath the Last Crusade, almost tying it. The Temple of Doom comes in just slightly underneath them all. I stick Crystal Skull so close to The Last Crusade because it's hard for me to choose which one I like better. There is a definite first place and last place winner, but the two other flicks just float in between. Now to say that The Temple of Doom is my least favorite of the Jones Trilogy is still quite a compliment. I rate the Jones Trilogy pretty high and that includes the extremely good Temple of Doom. It's just when you have four excellent films fighting for your favorite spot, one has to come last even if it is a marvelous film.

The new installment of Indiana Jones is a don't miss event. This is a great film throughout and is well worth the price of admission. This is a wonderful new film and it's a grand experience hanging out with some old friends and seeing what they have been up to over the past 19 years, only to find out, they are still doing what they love and causing trouble.

I can't wait for number 5. Check out www.fridleytheatres.com for current showtimes at the local Cinema 3 here in McCook.

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I looked forward to this movie and have really enjoyed the series. I thought Crystal Skull had some great action and effects, but the ending was way over the top. I was disappointed with this one.

-- Posted by formerresident on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 4:35 PM

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