Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) movie poster

director Steven Spielberg
viewed: 01/11/2014

The kids had enjoyed the other Indiana Jones movies so much that I thought it might be worth watching the late film in the series again.  Felix remembered it from seeing it in the theater and I had condemned it to the vaguer parts of memory myself.  Sure, it wasn’t as bad as that second prequel trilogy of Star Wars films, but it did sully the franchise a bit, didn’t it?

You know, after watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) again recently with Felix and Clara, I didn’t really think that this century’s Indiana Jones was necessarily as bad as that one.  Or at least it’s as bad, certainly not worse?

The first thing out of Clara’s mouth upon seeing Harrison Ford in the film was, “Wow, he’s an old man.”  I guess aging from 1980 to 1984 to 1989 to 2008 all in a few months would make us all feel as old as Ford looks and sounds in this film.  Strangely, he reminds me vaguely of my father, vaguely of the self that I am rapidly turning into.  Not just gray-haired, but tired and old.

Fair enough, Ford was in good shape in the film and he doesn’t drag the action being old.  It’s quite nice to see Karen Allen again.  Her smile is still delightful and lovely.  Shia LeBeouf has never been my favorite actor but he’s not really bad in the role (I just wish it was someone more immediately likable).  And Cate Blanchett, even in a black bob wig (actually that’s not bad) but even with a pretty lousy Russian accent, I kind of always like Blanchett.

The stupidest thing in the movie is LeBeouf swinging from the vines at the behest of all the digital monkeys.  Second stupidest, maybe the alien story.  Then again, if you look back on the whole franchise, they all have lots of goofy magic and metaphysics.  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is no worse than Temple of Doom on any level.  The digital effects, particularly at the end, are a let-down, but it doesn’t deserve the utter derision that I think came its way upon its release.

Not that I’m asking for another.  I would prefer my Indiana Jones in his prime, jaunty, daring, wise-cracking, and not aged.

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