Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last Sunday night. The Verdict: I was disappointed. George Lucas’ sticky fingers are over this film and frankly it’s a mess. There’s too much CG, and there’s not enough care and attention paid to the plot and characters. People were introduced in such a haphazard manner and so I never cared about them for the entire movie. Basically, the Indiana Jones franchise has moved closer to something akin to the Mummy Movies… and I hate those films. It’s not as bad as say the Star War Prequels but I guess that’s not saying a lot.
I didn’t have a problem with 1950s setting, which includes things like cold war paranoia, atomic age sci-fi and Rock and Roll. It was actually fun to see Indy dealing with these things and they’re very endemic to the time. Remember both movie serials and the pulps (which Indy epitomizes) both died in the 1950s, so the sense of handing off the franchise to a new generation was fine.
I guess when it comes down to it there weren’t that many surprises because everything was broadcast so far in advance long before it happened. So, to enjoy Kingdom of the Crystal Skull you have like the ride but the CG heavy effects and plot problems constantly took me out of the film. Monkeys anyone?
Here is what I liked in no particular order (spoilers):
Indy survives a nuclear explosion! That was very cool. Ridiculous yes, but a nice meeting of pulp age and the Atomic age.
Cate Blanchett was great as the main villain.
Indy’s discussion of his time in WWII, maybe we’ll get at book about those adventures.
The valley was destroyed at the end of the film
The alien-lost world was sound as a idea if not the execution.
The Marcus Brody Statue thing was nice
Jokes about Jones age.
The motorcycle chase
traditional stuntwork used
The fencing jokes and gags.
Making Mutt a greaser.
Just seeing Indy in the old gear again.
I actually like the whole X-Files aspect of the film.
Here is what I disliked in no particular order (spoilers):
Too much exposition dialog. Show don’t tell.
LeBeouf as Tarzan flying through the air at 70 miles an hour with a monkey attack, not fun just silly.
I hated George "Mac" McHale being revealed as a traitor early in the film. That made him superfluous and unlikable for the whole movie.
Why was Harold Oxly in the film? This character had no other point than to mutter exposition. He was one character too many.
The Indy meeting with Marion moment was hijacked by being in the middle of too many other events going on.
Why were there some Brazilian Capoeira guys in a Peruvian cemetery?
Digital grading was used and it made the characters look unreal or fake at various points in the film. It was unnecessary
Seeing a CG prairie dog in the fist 10 seconds of the movie was not a good omen.
Wow, that Nevada base was not well guarded and it’s funny that guys that speak only Russian can just traipse through 1950s US.
It didn’t seem like the Soviets really needed Dr. Jones.
Too many nods to previous movies and unfortunately they got in the way of the story.
Did I mention the Monkeys?
I wanted an opening sequence that was only tangentially connected to the rest of the story like the previous Indy films.
I wanted Spalko to make more of a pass at Mutt. (I’m just sick like that).