Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
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254 out of 482 people found the following review useful:

Indiana Jones is back!

Author: Anthony Greco from Flower Mound, Texas
18 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When it comes to reviewing a movie like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the hardest thing to do is to keep expectations intact and not expect a film that will blow Raiders of the Lost Ark out of the water. It has no chance to beat that expectation, and the film will ultimately become a failure with that mindset. You have to look at this film as another one of the sequels, which isn't a knock at the The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade; on the contrary, they're great films, but this is the caliber you should expect from the fourth installment of a film that hasn't seen a new addition to the franchise since 1989.

With this in mind, does the fourth Indiana Jones film succeed? The answer? An incredibly enthusiastic yes! After 19 years away, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford have recaptured that magic that has made the Indy trilogy so successful and added a worthy sequel that stands right in line with the two sequels. The little Indy quirks are here: the Paramount logo fading into a mountain-like object in the background, Jones's insane phobia of snakes, the flight paths on the background maps, and the numerous references to the first three films. However, and give George Lucas and screenwriter David Koepp a ton of credit for this, the film is not simply a tribute to the first three films, but an intriguing, fresh story that is unlike any of the other three. This isn't Rocky Balboa where we have the same general story but given a new spin on it. While some fans will be upset about the departure from the familiar, biblical territory the first ones covered, I found it to be great to see a new, original Indy flick instead of a rehashed homage to themes previously seen.

Spielberg seems to have found that pitch perfect balance between action, humor, and humanity that made Raiders so special. This isn't a flat out comedy like Last Crusade seemingly was, though there is still plenty of humorous moments in this film (surprisingly, very few jokes and gags actually fall flat). This isn't two hours of non-stop action, as the film does take its time to establish the plot, detail the archaeological quests, and let us remember why we fell in love with these characters in the first place. In fact, the scenes with Marion Ravenwood and Indy together are gold. Don't get me wrong; a lot of the action is a blast. The car chase scene in the jungle is a great piece of film-making, and the first scene with Mutt Williams and Indy leave a lasting impression. Great action doesn't have to come in newer, advanced looking CGI extravaganzas, as Spielberg proves that traditional action set pieces are still the most entertaining kind there is.

Now, about the cast. The star is aging, the sidekick is from Even Stevens, Karen Allen hasn't been in a big movie in God knows how many years, and, for some reason, people were worried about Cate Blanchett in here role. Well, let me put the concerns to rest: the entire cast is established pitch-perfect chemistry and everybody plays their parts incredibly well. Harrison Ford is, for the first time in a decade, having the time of his life and it shows in his excellent return to the famed American icon. It's no secret that he has been campaigning for this movie for years, and it shows in his strong performance. Karen Allen shares fantastic chemistry with both Shia LaBeouf and Ford, as she provides a lot of the necessary charm to the second act of the film. Blanchett uses a heavily over-the-top Russian accent, but she finds just the right note between creepy and intriguing to make her the best Indy villain since Belloq in Raiders. Ray Winstone does well enough in his role, as does John Hurt and Jim Broadbent.

The major surprise, however, is indeed Shia LaBeouf. For some strange reason, people actually thought this guy would be the Jar Jar Binks of the Indy series, and they couldn't be more wrong. Remember the outstanding chemistry between Sean Connery and Ford in The Last Crusade? The chemistry between LaBeouf and Ford rivals that. I've believe that he's been a very good actor for the past few years (and one of the few redeeming factors of Transformers). He does a great job in this film. The entire cast is good.

A strong story and great performances don't imply that this film isn't flawless. It isn't, but the flaws are few-and-far between and didn't hinder my overall enjoyment of the film. The first 20 minutes are somewhat slow; it takes a little while to get to Marshall College. These first twenty minute aren't necessarily boring; it is still entertaining, but it could have used probably 5 minutes of edits and pacing corrections. This is my biggest problem with the film, and once Indy returns to Marshall College, the film really kicks off and turns into the roller coaster ride that everyone has been hoping for.

So, as you can see, I dug the film. I may have even loved it (repeat viewings should ensure this). It is the Indy film that you've been waiting for since it was announced, and the creative trio have proved that, with the right care and intentions, you can bring an American icon back from the dead and still have him own the competition. Rip-offs like The DaVinci Code and the National Treasure series try to be like these films, but even the fourth installment of these wonderful franchise just towers over its impersonators. This film will go down as a very strong entry into the quartet and fall somewhere in the middle of the two sequels when all is said and done. The Indy film that you've been dreading? Not even close.

Indiana Jones is back.

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132 out of 242 people found the following review useful:

Written, Produced, and Directed by Jar Jar Binks

Author: smokinglizard from United States
24 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is to Indiana Jones what Jar Jar Binks was to Star Wars. Evidently Steven Spielberg went to visit George Lucas at his hermitage, convinced that his old friend had gone insane. Clearly while there, however, he caught whatever Lucas has, and now Spielberg is creating crap movies and affixing sacred labels to them to cash in on unsuspecting fans' nostalgia.

How in the hell does this f%$#&!ing movie have a 7.7 rating on IMDb? And how in the hell did it get a 87% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes?! What's wrong with people?! It's a turd! A turd, people! Had Lucas and Spielberg put a big "Ha ha! We got your money!" on the screen at the end of the movie I would have at least felt better that they weren't actually trying to foist this piece of crap as a serious Indiana Jones installment.

There was a time Harrison Ford had some self respect and would refuse to do bad know, the audience could TRUST him. But now he should just commit suicide.

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110 out of 200 people found the following review useful:

Indiana Jones and the ultimate disappointment!

Author: twistedcol-1 from United Kingdom
24 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, its been two days now since i saw this film and for those two days i have been thinking hard, and re-watching the originals trying to articulate why this film which i had been looking forward to like no other film is so unbelievably bad. I loved the originals and am a huge Spielberg fan, which i suppose makes this film twice as depressing. I think it will be easier to address the mountain of reasons this film is so bad by separating them into four points. So with a heavy heart and a deep breath, here goes.


The story is terrible.Aliens? Who in gods name thought it was a good idea to cross Indian Jones with the x files? It doesn't work, it doesn't feel right. And at the finale(and bear in mind i went opening night, these were people who really wanted to watch this film) people were laughing in disbelief at the out of place, over the top cgi mess of a flying saucer that popped out of the ground and flew away. And a few actually walked out!! Hes an archaeologist, we want him looking for something old and from this planet, it doesn't really matter what, its the adventure and the character interaction that matters and this was lacking.


Worst character and worst acting goes to Miss Blanchett. Possibly the worst and most misjudged baddie ever, complemented by the worst accent ever, a strange mix of polish Australian i think! In the previous films the baddies and co stars have been largely unknown, maybe there is something to be said for this. Generally an uninspired character with no depth. Indy. I wanted so badly for him to be able to still pull this off but alas he did seem just too old. And a bit feeble at times. But it wasn't just the age i don't think ford really got the character right. At times he did but at times he seemed like a bad caricature of himself. His dialogue didn't help. Clunky and lazy at best. The sly humour of the original films a distant memory. Mutt. This character committed the biggest crime of all, Spielberg and Lucas desperate to try to establish him as the new Indy thrust him upon the film with such heavy handedness that at times Indy feels like the co star in his own film. He is a crap annoying character Mr Lucas so scrap any plans you have. Your creativity peaked 30 years ago then dropped off pretty sharply. The rest of the co stars just had no depth whatsoever and were hampered by bad dialogue and worse directing. How Spielberg looked at the dailies and liked what he saw is beyond me. I was excited when i heard Karen Allen was back but she was terrible. And the scenes between her and Indy were very unnatural and forced


I believed Spielberg when he said "we will only use cgi when something cannot physically be done" Which i suppose in a way is true. But he neglected to mention that the action would be so pathetically and laughably over the top that there would be shoddy cgi splashed all over the place because none of it could be physically be done! One scene sticks in my mind like a computer generated turd! The character of mutt and the polish/Australian baddie standing on separate vehicles which are racing through a rain forest decide to have a sword fight! Then at some point mutt ends up with one foot on one vehicle and one on the other for about five minutes.....while still engaged in the sword fight! WTF?????? Then a little while later they amazingly out do the awfulness of this scene by having mutt get back into the convoy he has been separated from by swinging Tarzan style from vine to vine with an army of monkeys. Laugh/cry, Laugh/cry I couldn't decide. When we didn't have cgi, i personally think that the lack of technology acted as an unintentional yardstick for film makers. Unintentional but reliable. If it went too far you couldn't physically do it. And that was that. But that was a good thing. If it cant be done then maybe it shouldn't be done, maybe you've got carried away and its time to reign in your imagination. One thing that stuck in my mind throughout this debacle was that the simple but brilliant motorbike chase in last crusade was better than any of this cgi mess being served up to me. When will people realise that cgi doesn't look real and takes all the excitement out of action sequences?

4.OVERALL Spielbergs deft hand and instincts for fun and comic moments are gone. Sure he can still make good dramas and political message films, but we are saturated with directors who fill that quota. Spielberg was the great entertainer, making popcorn movies of the highest calibre. When i picture my childhood i see his films. And i suppose in a way going to see this film i was secretly hoping that it would be a return to form and maybe lead to a return of his making these kind of films. God knows we need some fun in this world! But sadly this is not the case. I would have been disappointed if it had been an average film, but for it to be this awful is difficult to comprehend.

Maybe I'm being to harsh and you have or will enjoy the film, and if so more power to you. But if you are a fan of the originals and you are going to see it my advice to you is this, Have one of the original films and an alcoholic drink of your choice at the ready for when you get home. Trust me.

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151 out of 282 people found the following review useful:

What a massive disappointment! (Spoilers included)

Author: Cara-Mae from Canada
22 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, let me say that I have always been a Harrison Ford fan and I adored the original Indiana Jones films.

When I first heard about Harrison Ford signing on to do another film, I went from elation to trepidation in seconds because I realized that it would be a challenge for the new movie to capture the same feeling as the previous ones.

When I ended up seeing it earlier today, I went in with lower expectations because I felt that would guarantee me a positive viewing experience since it would be unlikely that I would be let down.

I was let down.

Ford looked pretty good. But that was certainly not enough to carry a movie.

Shia's character was annoying and off-putting and I cannot believe that with all the actors in Hollywood that he was cast as the son of Indy and Marion.

Perhaps they wanted to capitalize on his face recognition from his role in "Transformers" or they legitimately thought he fit the bill but I have to disagree.

Overall, my greatest problem with the film was that I was incapable of suspending my disbelief enough to sink into Indy's world and thoroughly enjoy it (as I would have liked to).

Here is a list of the scenes that irked me the most:

- Indy surviving the blast at the nuclear test site by hiding in the nicely-labeled lead-lined fridge which is blown through the air by the blast and yet he is basically fine after the clean up

- the Tarzan-esquire scene of swinging on the vines and catching up with the car chase

- the straddling of two vehicles involved in a chase (and the hot-potato game with the crystal skull) and getting one's crotch smacked by greenery

- going over 3 waterfalls and all the passengers managed to stay aboard their land/sea vehicle until the final waterfall

- a student asking Indy a question after he has slid under a table in the library with a motorcycle (too cutesy and trying for levity)

- the extended jungle chase and all the fighting, swapping vehicles and the back and forth with the skull... it went on too long.

- freaking aliens? from another dimension? WTF?!?!?!

This movie lacked a cohesive and intelligent plot as well as well-drawn out characters. Indy was almost a parody of himself. Marion was an after-thought and Irina was a stereotypical bad guy.

Two thumbs down for this one.

Though, maybe after reading this -- other potential viewers will have lowered their expectations enough to eventually eke a modicum of enjoyment out of it.

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96 out of 173 people found the following review useful:

The Best Thing In This Movie Is Cate Blanchett's Sexy Ukrainian Villainess

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
5 November 2008

The problems with 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' are manifold and it certainly does not match up to it's predecessors. The film looks too artificial. What worked with the other movies was that, taking into account that they were made before the CGI boom, they looked real. Here the overuse of CGI and bluescreen grafting is painfully apparent. The story is a mess. It lacks coherency and there are too many uninteresting subplots. And, what was with the aliens? Does Spielberg harbour a secret obsession for UFOs? The pacing is slow at times and boring. The dialogues are not anything noteworthy and the action sequences, while some are fun to watch, others are plain bad and again, the prominent CGI stands in the way. With the exception of Cate Blanchett, none of the actors stand out, even Harrison Ford plays the clichéd hero. Shia LeBeouf is miscast. Ray Winstone is wasted and the rest are forgettable. Blanchett is barely recognizable as the sexy Ukrainian military villainess. She looks alluring and I her use of the accent is hilarious. She makes an awesome baddie which somewhat makes up for some of the flaws. Among the few other likable things about the movie is the chase sequence which features some well choreographed stunts. Overall, 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' disappoints and only Cate Blanchett makes up for some of the flaws.

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35 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Never too old! (Spoilers)

Author: de_niro_2001 from scotland
26 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Indy seems here to be putting into practice the lesson he learned in German East Africa while pursuing the Phantom Train of Doom. One is only as old as one feels. He's every bit as much of an action hero as he was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. All the essential elements are here. An ancient mystery, militaristic villains, fights during chases in army trucks, creepy crawlies, lost tombs full of human remains, the Paramount logo morphing into something else (in this film a prairie dog hill) and a grisly death for the villain. There are references to the previous three films and also the Young Indiana Jones television series. It would have been nice to have seen Sean Connery reprising his role as Professor Henry Jones but Sir Sean is quite adamant he has retired from films and when he says no he means no. Nice to have the tributes to the late Denholm Elliott in the form of the portrait and statue of Marcus Brody on the university campus. This film rounds off very well a marvellous series.

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52 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

Indiana Jones and the Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Author: gorosaur1 from United States
24 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ever since I heard about the possible release of new Indiana Jones film I was bursting with excitement and skepticism. THe original trilogy are some of my favorite movies of all time, and I still hold an opinion that Raiders of the Lost ARk is the best action picture of all time. However I was skeptical about how a new film would be pulled off. It wasn't Indy's age that worried me seeing as I have a very high respect for Harrison Ford, but I was worried about how George Lucas and Steven Spielberg might go about this new film. My worries were unfounded.

The first thing people need to realize about the Kingdom of the Crystal SKull and all the Indiana Jones films is that they are and always will be period films. The idea for Indiana Jones was originally based upon 1930's serials, and the first 3 did good for that time period. However, Lucas and Spielberg both realized that due to Harrisons advancing age that the film needed to be place further into the future. (the 1950's) However, adventure serials weren't part of the film mainstream at the time. And Sci-fi films were. This is why Kingdom of the Crystal Skull truly ascends. The filmmakers made a B movie sci-fi fitting of the period, but also kept its original Indy flair. All the requirements for a good indy movie are kept. (the action pieces, the battles between Indy and a world power be it Russians or Nazis, the creatures, and the encounters with super natural.) Those who find the alien aspect of this film to be out of place only need to look at Lucas's and Spielberg's reasoning. (see above) And if they find the story of the aliens unrealistic then they honestly need to rewatch the original movies seeing as their is nothing any more unreal in this film then there were in the previous films. 10/10 Easily one of the best Indy films.

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57 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

The adventure continues

Author: electricfreddy from Belgium
21 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Minor spoilers) This is the first Indy film I got to see in a movie theater so I must say I was very excited when I arrived for a midnight screening. I don't intend to write down an overly long introduction paragraph because most people will know who Indiana Jones is and if you don't you should watch those movies immediately.

Having said that I do feel the need to refer to Raiders of the Lost Ark when writing about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Raiders started out as one idea being that of an action hero involved in a truck chase. After the action was written, they added a story. It seems like they did it the other way around this time as none of the action scenes are as memorable as the ones you've seen in the previous movies. They're great, of course, but not instant classics like the boulder scene in raiders and the mine car chase in Temple of Doom and it sometimes feels as if the action is too uninspired. I sometimes felt like they needed to go a little bit more over the top but when they did, they kind of went too much over the top.

Now the fans might think "Hey, wait a minute! I like the franchise, don't bitch about it too much!" To those fans I want to say that the reason I focus on the negative is because most of the negative reviews don't cover the negative aspects of the film but rather Ford's age and that this movie is "more of the same". Now that I've seen the movie I can only assume that those negative reviews were written before the critics saw the movie because Ford's age is really not an issue here and it seems like they miss the real flaws of the movie. The biggest flaw is that Indy finds clues which lead him to the next clue until he finally reaches his final destination with the greatest of ease, National Treasure style. Instead of trying to keep up with the villains, he's always a step ahead until they finally catch him after which Indy escapes again by using his fists instead of his wit. Another flaw that many people will disagree with is that the jungle is not a good place for an adventure movie because it's done too often.

But there's a reason I gave the movie an eight (I would give it a 7.5 if IMDb would let me). George Lucas said that the movie would be the same as the others but based on the movies of the fifties instead of serials from the thirties. However, the fifties and the thirties are so different that I don't think it would have been possible to make this movie the same. It's set in the fifties and the movie is made as if it were the fifties instead of 2008. People who studied film history will know what that means and some typical 1950s stuff, like paranoia caused by the communist threat, is present in the movie as well.

I don't want to spoil too much but I must warn the big Indy fans that this movie is different. Be prepared for everything so you won't have a giant WTF floating above your head when the movie reaches its climax. It's not as different as Phantom Menace was compared to the original Star wars trilogy so don't expect too much unnecessary CGI. There is still a lot of stunt work and good humor and the acting is very good.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

The man with the hat

Author: Goodfellasz from Belgium
1 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

the man with the hat,

Even after 19 years he still surprises me. Indiana jones used to be an amusing adventure film. Nowadays they just don't make such films anymore. The story was just as to the other indyfilms (1 and 3 : Christianity, 2: dark religion 4: Scientology).

The action was good, sometimes (refering to the begin) the story isn't clear and fine. Other times (refering to the whole jungle chase, the story is exciting as the first film. => The film could have been better, but he is enjoyable.

The scene with the red ants was perfect The only irritating thing was the accent of the Russians. Shia LaBoeuf was better than usual. The fact that things (the dead of certain characters and the old indy) happened made the film only more realistic.

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Why would I give this 10?

Author: tim-john-mead
20 August 2014

I guess being some 19 years odd in the waiting, if not the making, this was a movie bound to be a let down. Yet somehow, despite this - and being a fourth movie(!) in a series - it wasn't. Yes, some of the acting was sketchy... and perhaps (for better or for worse) played with sheer joy of revisiting a role rather than a tight grip on a character (I'm thinking Karen Allen here). But you know what, her performance worked. All the performances worked. Some were better than others... but the characters worked. The adventure and escapism - despite some all-but-lifted ideas now and then - worked. The mere fact someone could make such naive escapism work *at all* for an... ahem... now much older audience, is remarkable in itself.

So yes, the CGI in this movie, and many others, is probably motivated by the industry machine and keeping down of costs... and not look... I'd imagine. And yes, the frequency of use and choices made for CGI bugged me - but you know what, I got over that too. This movie was long overdue, totally ridiculous and thoroughly entertaining. Well worth a watch - for the 'fridge scene' alone! I'll say no more.

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