“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” stars Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karan Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, and Shia LaBeouf. Released on May 22, 2008, the film has Indiana Jones racing against Soviet agents to uncover the secret of a telepathic crystal skull.
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, who is known for directing the Indiana Jones trilogy, and it is the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones film series. Last year, I took the opportunity to see and review all three Indiana Jones movies on the big screen. However, there was another Indy film that I didn’t get a chance to review, and that’s the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The film came out 19 years after the previous installment, The Last Crusade, and it was notable for paying tribute to the science fiction B-movies that were released in the 1950s (which is also the decade that the film takes place in). While it became a box office success during its release, the film received a lot of mixed responses from critics and Indy fans alike compared to the last three installments. About half of the population really enjoyed it, while the other half said the complete opposite. I was, in fact, part of the group that enjoyed it because it was the first Indiana Jones film I saw in theaters. Plus, it got me intrigued with one of the greatest big-screen heroes in film history. That, and the Lego Indiana Jones game on the Playstation 2. Now that I’m finally reviewing it for my blog for the first time, do I think that it deserves a lot of mixed reviews?
If you’ve been following the Indiana Jones films for quite some time, then you’ll know what you’re going to expect from this fourth installment. The story follows the same old formula that the franchise is known for with a touch of some sci-fi elements thrown into the mix. That should make sense since the film takes place in the 1950s. If you like the movies because of that formula, then this installment will satisfy your adventurous desires. Even though it does have some moments that were a bit more far-fetched than its predecessors, I still find it to be a fun ride. Harrison Ford once again delivered a very entertaining performance as the title character despite being a bit rusty at times. This installment finds him teaming up with his former lover from the first film, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), and his new sidekick, Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), to fend off against a bunch of Soviet agents lead by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). Karen Allen was pretty solid in her role, while LaBeouf’s role as a sidekick was tolerable at best. Cate Blanchett was also very talented as the film’s antagonist, but compared to the other villains in the last three films, her character was by far the weakest in the series. The action sequences have been one of the main highlights of the franchise, and this film is no different. There were some scenes that were nicely shot, well-choreographed, and, more importantly, fun. They’re what you would expect from an action adventure film, especially an Indiana Jones film, and Spielberg did a really good job at capturing that same feeling. Oh, and John Williams’ musical score? Two thumbs up. The film does use its traditional stunt work like the first three films, but it also uses CGI for a few sequences. There were some CGI effects that looked good, and then there were some that were pretty darn noticeable and they can sometimes take away the same experience that the other installments delivered more than 30 years ago.
Overall, aside from its far-fetched plot and some noticeable CGI elements, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” still delivers on the fun and adventure that the franchise is known for. With its solid cast, fun action sequences, and Spielberg’s direction, this installment may not be the best in the series, but it still shows that the franchise hasn’t lost its touch and will continue to inspire more people in the future. If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones, you might or might not like this one depending on your mood. As for everyone else who likes to watch adventure films, it’s worth checking out, but watch the other ones first.