Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Gringo's Opinion
Review By: Gringo

Before I start this review, let me just say that jokes about Harrison Ford's age are deeply, tragically unfunny. Changing the title of the fourth Indiana Jones movie to make a witticism like Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Afternoon Nap is so very predictable. Got that, Internet? Good.

In case you want to get back to downloading pornography illegally, my short take on this movie is that it has some serious flaws but it's not a train wreck. I'd rank it slightly better than Temple of Doom but way behind the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and my personal favorite Last Crusade. Then again, without Sean Connery around to yell things like "I should have mailed it to the Marx brothers!" I guess Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was never going to be able to compete. Alas!

Pretty artwork...pretty mediocre movie

If you do have time to read a longer review -- hey, maybe you're in the middle of that annoying 60-plus minute wait before Rapidshare lets you get more free sex videos -- then let's begin.

Given the massive box office that this movie has already taken, I doubt I need to explain the plot. But here goes. Adventurer and archaeology professor Indiana Jones is all down in the dumps and feeling sufficiently old when motorbike-riding prick Mutt Williams (that Shia fellow) turns up asking for help. Turns out Mutt's mum Mary and stand-in father figure Professor Oxley -- an old friend of Indy's -- went missing in South America. Oxley was looking for some fabled crystal skulls on and so forth. That's all you need to know. Really, watching this movie for its two hour-plus running time you get exposition for roughly 1/3 of that, so go see it for further plot details.

But is it any good? Well, let's start with the negatives, so that for once I can try and end a review with something approaching kind words. Change is coming to LTM! Well, that black man running for president sure likes change, and this site is nothing but a big old bandwagon rider, so set your change gun to STUN.

Above: George Lucas' favorite new secret comedy weapon

Uh...back to the point. The most obvious flaw with this movie is it just feels rushed. Like screenwriter (ha!) David Koepp got hold of all the failed, fabled Indiana Jones IV scripts, mashed them together and came up with a turdburger.

Nothing is developed. Jones is accused of being a Commie by sinister government agents...who then disappear never to be seen again. Indy's old flame Marion returns, and sasses Indy for a minute...and then sits around grinning and mugging for the cameras for the rest of the movie without adding anything to it. Evil Commie leader Irina Spalko -- played by Cate Blanchett with as much credibility as possible for the kind of role that requires one to say "spek like diz because I am Russian, yez" -- claims to be a super-psychic...only to not actually use her alleged psychic powers for anything.

Add to that the over-the-top humor that gets far too goofy and cute for its own good. Not only do Spielberg and Lucas seem to have some sort of prairie dog fetish (the damn things are everywhere in this movie) but there's one scene that, well, really made me cringe and embarrassed to be in the cinema.

Indiana has to escape a nuclear blast with about 10 seconds to go. He's trapped in a fake town where the U.S. government tests A-bombs. Okay. So what does he do? Climbs into a lead-lined fridge. Then the fridge gets blasted through the air, even through the rest of the test town and everything in it gets obliterated. The fridge tumbles across the desert, and eventually comes to a halt. The door opens, Indiana falls out -- remarkably un-bloodied for flying through the air IN A FRIDGE -- and what does he see? A family of prairie dogs. Yeah.

The original teaser poster for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

But I promised to talk up the positives too, so here we go: it was nice to see Indiana Jones back on the big screen.

Thank you and good night.

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