Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls.
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After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.
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During the Cold War, Soviet agents watch Professor Henry Jones when a young man brings him a coded message from an aged, demented colleague, Harold Oxley. Led by the brilliant Irina Spalko, the Soviets tail Jones and the young man, Mutt, to Peru. With Oxley's code, they find a legendary skull made of a single piece of quartz. If Jones can deliver the skull to its rightful place, all may be well; but if Irina takes it to its origin, she'll gain powers that could endanger the West. Aging professor and young buck join forces with a woman from Jones' past to face the dangers of the jungle, Russia, and the supernatural. Written by
The movie begins with the Lucasfilm logo, followed by the 1954 Paramount "VistaVision" logo (with the text "PARAMOUNT" instead of "A PARAMOUNT PICTURE" and "A Viacom Company" instead of "A Gulf+Western Company" below "PARAMOUNT"). Gulf+Western became Paramount Communications in 1989, then merged with Viacom in 1994. The Paramount logo then dissolves into a gopher mound. (The static version of the current Paramount logo is seen at the end of the movie.) See more »
Overstuffed action dominates incredible story and Indy's lame one-liners...
Contrary to what Mr. Spielberg thinks, there is no real McGuffin, and that's just one of the many drawbacks of this new Indy film. Furthermore, it's marred by overstuffed action sequences and Indy's lame one-liners, which becomes obvious after the first ten minutes.
When even HARRISON FORD's witty one-liners come across as lame and lifeless (as well as too few and far between), when John Williams' music over the end credits is the only thrilling moment you've really had, you know you're expectations have not been met. This Indy movie tries hard to approximate what went before--and even brings KAREN ALLEN back for a few laughs--but the story is a dismal thing about the desperate search for a Crystal Skull that gives the possessor all the knowledge he'll ever need. Somehow, it fails the McGuffin test that Steven Spielberg thinks he solved.
And yet, the world has such a hunger for another Indiana Jones movie that it's cleaning up at the box-office no matter how negative any of the reviews are. I wanted to like it because I miss a good Indiana Jones story as much as anyone--but this isn't it.
CATE BLANCHETT remains one-dimensional throughout, although her make-up is good and she looks the part of a Russian adventuress. SHIA LaBEOUF, in his black leather jacket, looks like he stepped out of a James Dean movie but never quite fits into this one. He and Ford have some good byplay but it's all so pat. And then we have JOHN HURT wearing a wild-eyed stare and the year's messiest male hairdo in what might have been an interesting role if we could figure out what he's all about.
HARRISON FORD is still afraid of snakes and there's a bonus scene where he has to hang onto one if he wants to get out of quicksand, but other than a few reminders of the Indy of past films, he looks a bit hardened and tired, lacking the zestful playfulness that characterized his earlier way with the part. The script makes concessions to his age, especially from him, to make sure we get the point.
Of course, he's not entirely to blame. It's an impossible comic book sort of story that needed a lot of re-working before they decided to go ahead and film it as is. All the story really does is serve as a sort of map on which to plant all the familiar action clichés--explosives, rapid machine-gunning, wild chases through the jungle, man-eating ants, waterfalls that fill the screen from one end to another, and comic book villains that survive every punch with little more than a flinch as Indy swings at them from every direction while he remains relatively unscathed even without using his whip. Despite the strongly realistic sound those punches make, nobody suffers a broken jaw--just minor bruises.
The chase scene at the end is almost numbing in its wildly overdone mishaps. There's no satisfaction to be had at the end except for the wind-up that has him tying the knot with Marian Ravenwood after all these years. That and the brilliant but familiar John Williams score that sounds wonderful over the end credits without all the explosive action drowning it out.
Better luck next time, Mr. Spielberg. And a better McGuffin. You can cry all the way to the box-office gold.
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