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

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Indiana Jones
MR_Heraclius6 March 2020
Many will definitely argue this addition to the 'Indiana Jones' saga was unnecessary and somewhat confusing. But as another film, you can't deny Spielberg's crisp direction and Harrison Ford's slick leading performance. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is visually a blockbuster success, though potholes could be avoided in its story and plot, it's still stable nonetheless.
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The weakest of the Indy films
wittmann7321 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Before I start my review let me say I am a huge Indy fan and have been waiting for this movie for 19 years.

Bad news first : Number 4 is the weakest of the Indy films. Good news : It is still good entertainment.

Let me explain further :

The Good :

Harrison Ford still IS Indiana Jones. He still has the magic to impersonate this character. You really see his efforts to make this film work. Great camera work and sets. Shia LaBoef is actually quite good and not that annoying, he has some funny lines and scenes. I never regretted that he was in the movie. Some really good action scenes, esp. in the first half of the movie with believable stunts and not too much CGI, e.g. the motorbike chase or the Warehouse battle. Great! Humor was OK and many (not all) jokes worked for me.

The Bad :

John Hurt as Oxley looked like Dumbledore on Ecstasy. I didn't like his character very much and was glad when he finally became "sane" again. Problem was by then the movie was almost over. Sorry guys, Karen Allen. She was overacting too much, smiling and laughing all the way even during the deadliest action sequences. We know she is tough and all but it never felt believable. Also her interaction and reunion with Ford seemed a bit forced. The Villains : Blanchet was OK, but not very menacing or intimidating. You never felt she was a threat. Russians? Give me Nazis as adversaries any day. Ray Winstons character (forgot the name) was confusing and underdeveloped : "I am on your side, no wait I am a traitor, oh wait I am CIA, never mind I am a traitor again". WTF? Ant scene : Stolen straight from "The Mummy". Shame on you, Spielberg.

The Ugly :

Sorry, but the last third of the film was the pits. The jungle chase was far "over the top" action (Sword fight, "Tarzan scene"). Indy not using his gun once. At least he didn't carry a walky-talky instead. Nuclear explosion scene. OMG. How embarrassing, who came up with this idea? What was supposed to be funny only got lots of annoyed "Yeah right" comments from the audience. Who on earth could survive such an explosion? I couldn't believe it! The plot : Not very suspenseful. Parts of it even boring. Aliens? They waited 19 years for this script? I believe almost anything would have been better. At least the Aliens only appear during the last minutes.

All in all a disappointment but still a watchable Indy movie. I think "less would have been more" in this case. More believable stunts, less CGI and a better script and the movie would have rocked. I blame Spielberg and Lucas. Kudos to Ford. Should have made Indy IV 10 years earlier.

I give it a 5/10 despite all the negative points. First third of the movie 8/10, rest 2/10.
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A good Indiana Jones film not as good as the trilogy, but still a good fourth installment sequel
ivo-cobra816 October 2015
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) isn't a bad film -- there are a few dazzling sequences, and a couple of good performances -- but the unprecedented blend of comedy and action that made the movies so much more fun than any other adventure series is mostly gone. It is one of my personal favorite adventure movies even tough is a bad sequel but it is still good in my opinion.

Yes I like this film it isn't greatest film of all time, but for 2008 film? Yes I will take it. Yes the film has more mistakes and flaws but what ever. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will may not be the greatest film of all time, or bad ass like Riders and The Last Crusade but it is still a good film, it is the weakest entry but still a worthy sequel. I love all the tree films and I like this one a lot.

STEVEN SPIELBERG and GEORGE LUCAS bring you the greatest adventurer of all time in "a nonstop thrill ride" (Richard Corliss, TIME) that's packed with "sensational, awe-inspiring spectacles" (Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES). Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull finds Indy (Harrison Ford) trying to outrace a brilliant and beautiful agent (Cate Blanchett) for the mystical, all-powerful crystal skull of Akator. Teaming up with a rebellious young biker (Shia LaBeouf) and his spirited original love Marion (Karen Allen), Indy takes you on an action-packed adventure in the exciting tradition of the classic Indiana Jones movies!

In regards to the "nuking the fridge" scene, the thing about Indiana Jones is that there are not some good things in all of the previous three Indy films, especially Temple of Doom, so it's not fair to criticize Crystal Skull for having aliens or the fridge nuke scene without also acknowledging all the dumb stuff in the original trilogy, such as Indy either flying off a cliff on a tank and walking away from it without a scratch, or dropping out of a plane on a rubber raft and sliding down a mountain slope without sustaining any whiplash. Obviously, Spielberg and Lucas were inspired by the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, where the main character always escapes near-death situations.

As far the "aliens don't belong in an Indiana Jones movie" argument goes, Indiana Jones has always been about fantasy and science fiction. I mean, Indy has dealt with ghosts that come out of an ark and spontaneously melt people's faces, voodoo dolls, beating hearts being ripped out of chests through use of magic, and a seemingly immortal knight from the 12th century guarding the Holy Grail, but it's not OK to have aliens?

Also, everyone seems to forget what the Indiana Jones franchise was originally about in the first place; it was created as a tribute to old b-movies and adventure serials. This is defiantly my least favorite out of all of the Indy films but its still a lot of fun even though the cgi was kind of bad and although I was kind of interested in the whole alien I thought the ending was kind a stupid when they show the flying saucer but overall I really like it.

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.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 2008 American science fiction adventure film.

The rating I give to this film is 7.5/10. Anything under 7 would be ridiculous, as anyone claiming this isn't at least a GOOD action film claiming this isn't at least a GOOD action film (it is sure as hell better than all the comic movies that get high scores) needs their head examined. 7.5/10 Grade: B+
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Why, Lucas??? Why? Why...? ...Why??? Please! Tell me!!! Why???! Why?!!! WHY???!!!!
iamdyer24 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There was a trailer beforehand of Kung Fu Panda somethingorother. The film then started with the Paramount mountain, formed from a gopher mound, and an unrealistic CG gopher poking it's head out of the mound. I actually didn't realise this was the film, and still thought I was watching a Disney trailer. This was my first sign that the film was going to be a filing cabinet full of soiled underwear.

This complete cowpat of a film is truly a sign of the shifting zeitgeist of what is expected from cinema. At least from Lucas et al.

There was so much wrong with this film, I don't even know where to start. Every scene was a howler.

Story has now been replaced by technical ability with CGI. Character development is now abandoned in favour of a panicked attention-grabbing frenzy of disconnected scenes. Comedy comes from prat-falling CG chipmunks, rather than wit or a character's reaction to a situation (remember the German bad guy and Indy's reaction to the Arab on the windshield of the truck in 'Raiders'? Hilarious!). The bloated chase scene was incomprehensibly ludicrous. Fantastical CGI renderings paved the way for unrealistic feats of human acrobatics that would not have been out of place in the Matrix Reloaded car chase.

Think of the scenes in Raiders where people are actually talking to each other for extended periods: Belloq and Indy in the Marrakesh bar; Indy and Sallah looking at the headpiece in the old man's house; Indy and Marcus talking about the ark with the CIA guys in his University. These are all great scenes. Classic scenes. They divide the action and drama nicely. They set the stage and peg the narrative so you know - without being patronised - what is going on. I didn't have a clue what was happening in Crystal Skull, and just as I was getting my bearings - an alien spaceship took off!!! I whispered to the guy next to me 'Please... make it stop.'.

I really thought that Lucas would have learned a very sore lesson from the reaction to the re-hashed Star Wars movies. We don't want Midichlorians. We don't want CGI. We don't want prat-falling comedy robots and gophers. We want soul, scene, story, character, mis en scene, tension, performance, dialogue, good casting, solid character relationships.

You will not get this from 'Crystal'.

Which scene scared you more: Marion hanging 15 meters off the ground from the statue of Anubis in Raiders, or Marion driving (giggling) off a cliff into a tree (with no guarantee that she wasn't going snap the branches or miss the tree altogether) only to be let down gently into the water by the flexing tree, still giggling?

This film has stretched tension and drama into the ludicrous and that's exactly what it ends up being.


When you come out of the cinema screen, turn around and look at the expressions of the people walking out behind you. I did, and it was a collective 'Has someone just farted?'

High Points: Denholm Elliot's breathtaking performance.

Low Points: Everything else.
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Good to see Indy again....but a plot that falls way short of the mark
svinnacombe23 May 2008
I reached a movie buff conclusion after the 2nd set of Star wars films. It's simply not possible to top an iconic, legendary film or series. The original can't be beat, and is next to impossible to match. Doesn't matter who directs, stars, the effects, etc - can't be done. Being sure of this in advance made the Crystal Skull easier for me to take - but I still have to be critical - because they let us down on the simple stuff. My other movie buff observation is - its ALWAYS the writing first. The STORY. The other stuff flows from that, making the film better or worse. In Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the writing failed us. The story does not hold together well and the dialog rings intermittently false throughout the film. I wanted to love the movie - but I was disappointed. When I heard they were all waiting for the "right" script to make another Indy film - that sounded good. But it appears that wasn't really true. I have to assume they all just decided the timing was "right" and it would be fun to get the old group together to do a flick - because the script was poor. The movie is more like an attempt at what an Idiana Jones adventure SHOULD look like - but with no real substance. A series of Indiana like dangerous situations and exploits strung together loosely with some attempts at humor thrown in. But no clear beginning to end plot. No disaster to avert, no one to rescue. Nothing in particular to root for... The actors seemed a bit uncomfortable to me - even Harrison Ford himself. Indy's love interest from Raiders (Marian) was underutilized and apparently a bit rusty in the acting department. She seemed to be just "thrown in" to add a nostalgic romantic element. The young Mutt character was well cast and did a good job with what he had to work with. The story arc regarding Indys age, his old love and young Mutt is dealt with - but could have been a better, more solid part of a more well written story. I'm glad I saw the film. I enjoyed seeing Indy again, but my hope that I'd be wanting to go again didn't pan out. It's worth only one visit - and that just to see some Indiana JonesLIKE adventures - in a story that doesn't make much sense. Sorry to break bad news to anyone who reads fan reviews - but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. George - you should have fussed over the writing a bit more and Harrison - I'd have waited longer for the right script. This was a weak effort and it didn't need to be. Mr Lucas and Mr Spielberg -you surprised me on this one - and let us all down on the story. Just my opinion :) Scott (an Indy Fan).
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We have grown up .. Indy stays the same
maxdetroit23 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Sorry, but after reading all this negative comments, I like to give you my thoughts on this. When I walked out of the movie I was not really satisfied, because some things bothers me, like the monkey-rope scene and some other ridiculous and illogical things. But, then I remembered scenes from the first three movies, like jumping out of a plane with a rubber boat and then bob run with it down the Himalaya. Or Indy hanging on top of submarine and then swims with it through half of the ocean (isn't such a thing going underwater sometimes?). Well, what I want to say is that in the old Indy films there where tons of ridiculous stunts and it always was very cartoonish and yes, often cheesy. But as I child I liked those movies for that. They are just adventures with a lot of action, mystic and fun, not more.

We have all grown up (with all that logic and reason), and we want the movie to fascinate us again like the first three did as we were a child. The disappointment is programmed. The movie is still an Indiana Jones Movie, it has so many running gags and links to the first three ones, it's truly a tribute to the fans. (Even that Indy starts Mutt to call 'Junior' was a nice one.) Maybe this one is too much of an Indiana Jones movie, because it just delivers elements that can be found in the first three movies too (the car chases, insects, falling down of waterfalls, e.g.) - but what else do we want? Also I didn't think the CGI was too much, I even found it was decent. And yes, this one was made to make money. The first three were also made to make money. Films are supposed to make money - so what? So, maybe just watch the first three again, then relax and just sit back and enjoy this one. It's not supposed to be drop dead serious and realistic. And when I look back, I wasn't bored throughout the whole movie, it was very entertaining. It's maybe just the long time between this and the last one, some things have changed, if we like it or not. But I am thankful that this movie was made.

The only thing I was missing was the whip - it has one scene in the beginning and then Indi uses it never again in this movie. I always liked the whip, because it's not a normal weapon for a hero, and makes Indi a little more special.
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Who are all these people giving it 10???
zekisadic27 May 2008
I find it very amusing to read all the reviews here. I mostly agree with all the ones who found it disappointing, I can see why the Michael Bay-loving GTA-generation could give this a '10', however: Lots of CGI, fake green-screen action and style over substance.

For me - a die hard Indiana Jones fan, who grown up attending premieres for the first three - this was a big letdown, primarily because of the script, which could have been written by a 11 year-old.

A lot of Indiana Jones fans all over the world are probably scratching their heads these days, wondering why a script (Darabonts) which Spielberg called "the best he has read since Raiders", was scrapped by Lucas. So he could give us this? Tarzan meets X-files?

It just didn't rock my boat, like the first three. I even found 'National Treasure II' more entertaining, than this mess.
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Indiana Jones and the Comedy of Errors Warning: Spoilers
Visually, with Henry Jones Junior (he is rarely called "Indiana" or "Indy" in this film) swimming in his baggy grandpa pants and shocks of grey-white hair peeking out under an ever-crisp, rarely-dirty brown fedora, you really don't get the feeling that you're watching anything historic--but a few of the old John Williams refrains drive something primal bubbling to the surface of those of us who grew up idolizing Indy.

The reason that the music is the first thing to be examined here, is that it's one of very few things that evoked that sort of reaction in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A movie fraught with missteps and an obvious misunderstanding of its own audience, it's exactly the type of summer blockbuster developed to make money at all costs: things blow up; there's aliens and Nazis--well, not Nazis so much as Russians with grey shirts and jackboots; an unnecessary youthful sidekick (to bring in the teenagers, you see); and a little something extra borrowed from Bryan Singer's abominable Superman Returns. To ascertain that you know it's a Spielberg picture, the Russians are never subtitled (see also: every Arab in Munich or about 90% of all Germans in any film except Schindler's List); this way, the "evil" characters can be thoroughly and literally dehumanized.

The film oozes 1950s--Russian spies, nuclear testing, a screening of Howdy Doody and Dr. Jones on a sort of academic blacklist all take place in the first ten-or-so minutes of the picture (as does—sad to say the high point of the film for me—a cameo appearance by Neil Flynn, a friend of Ford's from The Fugitive who is best known for his portrayal of The Janitor on ABC sitcom Scrubs). The filmmakers have discussed at length how, while the earlier Jones films were an attempt to capture the magic of '30s and '40s adventure films with a contemporary feel, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be a '50s-style action romp with some science-fiction sensibility thrown in for good measure (a questionable choice to start, as many of those films eventually ended up as Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder). In an attempt to capture that feel, you have some campy dialogue, some stock characters and Shia LaBoeuf as Arthur Fonzerelli. There's a fairly generic soda fountain brawl, initiated by LaBoeuf and set to the tune of Shake, Rattle & Roll, which solidly plants this film in its era. This is an interesting artistic choice because in the previous Indy films, even with their date stamps, the adventures that took place were largely relatively timeless.

The other aspect of the film that is bound to turn some heads--it already has, both in pre-screenings and on the Internet as eagle-eyed fans dissected the trailers--is the role that extra-terrestrials play in the picture. As in Spielberg's classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there is no dialogue, as such, shared between man and his visitors...but their presence is strong and pervasive, particularly in the second half of the film. Using Roswell as a jumping-off point, it is revealed that the good Dr. Jones has been used as a government agent in a variety of capacities since we last caught up with him--he is a Colonel in the Army, apparently, and also has worked with the CIA, MI6 and as a spy against the Russians in the time since Hitler autographed his father's diary for him in the early '40s.

The adventure sequences in the picture are hit-or-miss; while some of the car chases and fight sequences are good, and a lot of the side jokes are on the mark, there are times (Marion is injured while driving, but mysteriously gets better) that it's hard to follow visually what's going on as they try to pack too many characters and subplots into a fast-moving sequence. Many of Harrison Ford's comic moments are on-target, but other diversions—such a CGI-rendered prairie dogs and LaBoeuf's own private army of monkeys—bring to mind some of the more artistically-questionable moments of Return of the Jedi and detract from the seriousness of consequences faced by our protagonists.

Dr. Jones also doesn't get very much solo screen time. Henry himself has also become a little more cautious in his old age, while everyone around him seems to have become more like Indiana Jones. Mutt and Marion are decisive and powerful figures, while Indy often finds himself sitting on the back of a motorcycle or behind them in the car, shouting, "No, don't do that! It's dangerous!" As action heroes go, Indy has been turned into a great family man. In case a CIA agent of dubious allegiances, a kidnapped ex-girlfriend and her tagalong son weren't baggage enough, Indy spends most of the film carting around an octogenarian in a semi-catatonic state, who may be the "key" to finding the Lost City of Gold in the same way that his father was key to the recovery of the Holy Grail.

Ultimately, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a film that, while not entirely bad, is nowhere near worthy of its lofty pedigree. As generic action films go, it may have provided some level of entertainment in the vein of National Treasure....It's the attachment of "Indiana Jones" to the title and the involvement of Harrison Ford, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg that raised expectations and standards to a level that none of those individuals—each a shadow of his former self—can meet any longer. It will doubtlessly open at #1 and secure the kind of critical and financial success that guarantee it a sequel if all involved want to make one—the question, really, is whether or not they should.
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Not that it matters but ...why?
danielledecolombie31 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The film is making zillions all over the world so what does it matter that it's just a mediocre attempt to recapture the energy, the youthfulness and the innocence of the previous installments? Love of cinema, that's what made me react the way I did. How can it possibly be that the most powerful people in the film world could agree that this was the script that everyone was waiting for? Shallow, opportunistic, over long, over crowded and implausible in a way the other films weren't regardless of their own implausibilities because one was connected tho the soul of the enterprise. There is no soul here to cling to. It's all by the numbers, odd numbers at that. Karen Allen returns! But look at the clumsiness of her re introduction. I was bitterly disappointed but maybe it's just me.
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Entertaining in that self-parodying sort of way, but somebody PLEASE tell George Lucas to retire!!
DrEbert22 May 2008
Usually, when you go to see an action/adventure movie, especially an Indiana Jones movie, you're going to suspend your disbelief and just allow yourself to "get into" the movie. These kinds of movies are supposed to be mindless escapist fun. Still, one might expect some small modicum of plausibility or connection to the real world. When it comes to "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," forget about suspending disbelief. Just pretend you're in another dimension altogether. If you do that, you'll have have met one of the two prerequisites for seeing this movie. (If you don't believe me now, you will when you see this film and see our hero survive a cataclysmic event in a fairly cartoonish manner a mere 15 minutes into the film.) The other prerequisite is that you've seen the other three movies...religiously. A huge chunk of the entertainment value of this film comes from nostalgia, in-jokes, and self-parody. It is an entertaining movie and I had fun and laughed while I was watching it and the reason for this is because we are either enjoying seeing all of the same old gags done once again in a bigger and cooler way, or we are enjoying seeing those gags mocked. Trusty bullwhip? Check. Fedora? Check. Long car chase with fighting and leaping and what-not? Check. Dark tombs lit only by torches? Check. Gross creepy crawly critters? Check.

This is what makes the movie entertaining, but is also what prevents it from greatness and what makes me hesitant to call it a true "Indiana Jones" movie. George Lucas (who co-wrote the screenplay) has tried to do here what he did to the "Star Wars" prequels, namely that he thinks that appealing to the fan base with in-jokes, self-parody, and re-hashing the same old stuff can take the place of actually writing a a story that can stand on its own merits. The "Star Wars" prequels failed because Lucas could not get past his constant references to the original trilogy and so instead created fan fiction instead of true prequels. (Well, there was also the fact that Lucas' dialogue SUCKED.) Here, the stunts and action sequences and in-jokes keep us feeling entertained during the course of the film, but when we walk away, we wonder where was the real story.

Indiana Jones is a homage to 1930s serials about treasure hunters. He's out of place in the 1950s. Also out of place are the Soviets(led by Cate Blanchett in a Rosa Kleb-like role). And there are many, many, MANY instances where you will get to wondering just how implausible the next stunt will be. All of that I can put up with, though, and in fact can and do add to the entertainment value of the film. What I could not put up with was the ending, which will remind you not of Indiana Jones but of the ending to another Spielberg movies that pre-dates "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

This movie is lots of fun to watch, but it doesn't take itself seriously and probably shouldn't be part of the Indiana Jones canon.
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Lucas is trying to figure out how bad he can make movies and people will still go...
bdphill22 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think I will be giving away any of the plot because there actually is no plot.

I'll start off by saying that the previous three Indiana Jones movies are my favorite movies of all time. When I heard about the fourth one I was excited but thought they should have left it alone because the third one ended the trilogy so perfectly. However, I went to this movie with enthusiam and I really really wanted to like it. Afterwards I figured out that was impossible.

I thought the movie would be cheapened by Shia's character or the fact that Indy's character would be about 20 years older. Those were actually some of the very few things that were actually good about this movie. Shia gave a good performance and I actually liked his character. They also did a good job of transitioning to an older Indiana.

But the movie just got ridiculous. It started alright as he is escaping the Russians which had invaded a warehouse in Area 51. However, once he escaped they threw in a completely pointless scene. Which, and wait til you hear this one, is that Indiana stumbles upon a mock town set up in Nevada to judge the effects of an Atomic Bomb at, of course, the time of the test. So in order to escape, he jumps into a refrigerator, which they point out is lead lined (will that really help), right before the explosion hits. He is then tossed a few miles in this, outside of the blast area. The door stays closed, he isn't injured while being thrown in this thing at all and feels no ill effects of radiation... YUP.

The middle was alright, with some cool chase scenes, decent dialogue, and a cool jungle chase scene with vehicle to vehicle fighting. Indiana did very little of the fighting, and none of it if you exclude hand to hand combat. One of the few bright spots was Shia doing the fighting instead of Indiana.

But everything else was terrible. There was an incredibly boring part where they find the skull. Let me summarize that. They find the ruins it is hidden in. They walk through the ruins. They find the skull. And it only got worse from there.

After the cool chase scene in the Jungle they escape gigantic ants by a really creepy guy holding the skull in front of them. Then they drive the car (which is also a boat... yeah, I know) off a cliff, but their landing (which is of course in a river) is cushioned by a huge tree that they hit and bends them down to place them gently in the water (Seriously). They then fall off 3 massive water falls, the 5 characters, in this car/boat (that has a jagged glass windshield at this point), and land in the car safely the first two times, and then just each in the water safely after the third one (Seriously, Im gonna say that a lot).

Oh! Then they find the entrance to the temple / city thing they are looking for. I couldn't have imagined anything less cool. After simply walking through this they get out the other side to find the city but realize they are being chased by some native people (which aren't explained at all). And how do they survive this, the creepy guy points the skull at them, gee they didn't do this before. Then they get to the middle of the city and break off some things to drain the middle structure of the sand that is in it, then have to quickly run down a circular stair cast that is going away as they run (Which is why Disney should be suing since this was stolen from National Treasure).

OK, at this point you're thinking "well this hasn't been that good, but they've reached the temple, the movie can be saved because here comes the cool part! Here comes the action and the interesting plot that brings it all together." That couldn't be more incorrect.

Here's how I will summarize that part to give it all the credit it deserves. Indiana (and group) walk, yes I said walk (nothing else), through the temple. Creepy guy who doesn't talk carries skull and points it at a door (gee they didn't do the pointing the skull thing before). Indiana holds it up to the door, it opens. Yup, there's your big ACTION / ADVENTURE.

AND THEN... They find a room of 13 ALIENS, made completely OUT OF CRYSTAL, but aren't alive. The Russians walk, take the skull and the woman places it on the NECK OF THE LAST ALIEN. The room then STARTS SPINNING UNCONTROLLABLE. Indiana and his group dive out. The aliens then JOIN TO CREATE ONE LIVE ALIEN and use their mind powers to EVAPORATE THE Russian WOMAN. Then Indiana (and group) run out of the temple. No, no real action unless you consider him begging his friend that has betrayed him twice to come with and not to waste time taking treasure action (he dies, just like the mummy, lawsuit?). After they get out by sitting in a WATER CANNON THAT BLASTS THEM OUT they witness the city TURN INTO A FLYING SAUCER THAT ZIPS AWAY! Yup! It really is that ridiculous. They then play some incredibly lame thing about how the gift was knowledge in writing that is on the same level as Anakin's reasoning for going to the dark side in Star Wars Ep 3. After that Indiana marries, yes marries, Marion (girl from the first one) because Shia's character is really their kid. And then they do another lame transition of how he is going to be the next Indiana Jones by Indy's hat being blown almost into his hands by the wind right before Harrison Ford snatches it and walks out.
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A tribute to the fans
Smells_Like_Cheese22 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the 19 year long awaited sequel, the big summer blockbuster is finally here! I was lucky enough to see the premiere tonite, my hopes were up, the audience was pumped, everyone was just excited, why wouldn't you be? This was the Indiana Jones to blow the trilogy out of the water. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a little empty, I am such a huge fan of the trilogy, movies that hold memories for me as well as excitement still to this day when I watch the Indiana Jones movies. Indiana is back, this film had a little bit of the old style that I was looking forward too, however, I feel like we were lied too. The makers of the film told us there would be no CGI unless it was needed like the old films, not only was there a lot of CGI, the older films had special effects, but they were real, this was a little too cartoonish at times. Not only that, but I felt like the 50's stereotype was being too rubbed in our faces: the jocks vs. greasers, the cold war fear, nuclear bomb testings, the Russians, and the aliens. I'm not going to lie, while the movie is flawed; this is still a fun action packed adventure film that is worth the full price ticket. I think the story was just more of a tribute rather than an actual movie on it's own.

Indiana Jones is back, when the Russians have kidnapped him, Irina Spalko wants him to take her to find a crystal skull that is supposedly the skull of an alien. When they find it, the skull is to be returned to it's kingdom and supposedly they will hold all the power to the kingdom. Indiana manages to escape, meeting a young boy, Mutt, who tells him about Professor Oxley, who Indiana went to school with and how Mutt has heard about the skull and wants Indiana to find it with him. Together they set out to find it with the Russians on their tail, to meet with a familiar face, Marion(Raiders of the Lost Ark, you remember?), to find out another little secret about Mutt and Indiana.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I do have positives about the film. We have our fun adventure film, rooting for the good guys, laughs, and excitement. Harrison Ford still has Indiana in his blood, no one could ever take his place, Shia made himself a worthy co-star and their chemistry worked very well. Marion was a nice touch, bringing back something to the fans of the trilogy. The only problem I have with this being more of a tribute is that if you watch the trilogy, while they are connected movies, if you were to watch The Temple of Doom first before Raiders, you'd get the movie without having to see the first one. Since this is a very long awaited sequel, I can see why they would want to please the fans, but there is a new generation who unfortunately might have not seen Raiders or The Last Crusade to understand this sequel on certain characters and lines. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is definitely worth your time, but as a fan, I can't help but feel that the ending made me question what the sequel's true motives were: money or for the fans? Judge for yourself.

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Implausible action scenes kill this movie
All I can really conclude about this movie is that it was just okay. I can forgive the ludicrous plot, the cheesy "family" dynamic of the film, the fact that Harrison Ford is old (which is really nowhere near the worst part of this). I don't even really mind Shia LaBeouf's presence. But many of the stunts and the action scenes are so implausible that it renders all of the action scenes implausible. For example, Shia LaBoeuf sword-fighting (!) spread-eagled on two moving vehicles; a boat going over not one, not two, but three waterfalls with absolutely no one getting a scratch (I mean, what are we watching here, The A-Team?); and the "if the film hasn't jumped the shark yet it certainly has now" moment--Shia LaBoeuf swinging through the jungle a la Tarzan. It was ridiculous. And because these parts are (forgive my overuse of the word) implausible, it highlights the fact that the rest of it doesn't work, either. After seeing a number of old series trying to come back for another run (Rocky Balboa, Rambo, the Star Wars Prequels) I have concluded that when filmmakers attempt to cash in on a once-popular series, artistically the best they can hope for is to break even. Sometimes there really is nowhere to go but down. I wanted to love this, but the most charitable thing I can say is that it was just okay. Very disappointing.
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Why all the hate? Is it because we've grown up? This is still a fun movie!
edjavega26 May 2008
Reading all the comments here, it looks like this is one of the worst films ever made, and it's absolute rubbish, Shia's character is Jar Jar Binks, etc.

But it's earning a ton of money, and the rankings (7.6) are high, so what does that tell you? That compared to the haters, MOST people came to his movie expecting a fun adventure movie and got it.

Look, the Indiana Jones movies aren't flawless. Even in the previous movies, you had to suspend belief (people melting? someone surviving a fall from a plane just on a craft? a Knight living more than 1,000 years?) and just enjoy the action scenes - and you have them here! Mutt swinging on the vines is real corny but the car chase through the jungle, complete with sword fight, fisticuffs, giant ants, etc. - they are what you can expect from an Indiana Jones movie. And Cate Blanchett is a SUPER villain, Harrison somehow makes it all believable for him to still be an action star at 60 plus, and it's great to see Marion Ravenwood again.

STAR WARS I was a major major disappointment, but this one is NOT. We have wanted to see Harrison Ford suit up as Indy again, and here he has a good cast with him, and yet we bash the movie because it isn't RAIDERS? Nothing can be as much fun as the first Indy Jones movie. But this one is still MUCH MUCH better than any adventure movie out there for the past several years.

Just watch it with an open mind. Don't expect miracles, but fun entertainment for 2 hours and you will get it.
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All through the movie I kept saying "are you kidding?"
Cattus_9925 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have always been a big fan of the Indy movies and I am a SciFi nut. I also read Ebert's reviews to understand his criticism and analysis. So that sets the stage.

This movie is, unfortunately, dreck, ca-ca, poo, crud, call it what you will. It is an insult to the intelligence of each and every movie-goer. And for a Lucas-Spielberg movie to be so is quite beyond belief.

Let me highlight the lows and then I will get into some specifics.

The dialog seems little more than to act as a narration to explain what happened, what is currently happening and what will happen in the near future. It does not develop the characters or the plot.

The plot is crude and unconvincing. The characters move through their lines with little humor and false emotion. Although I don't expect academy awards ranking here I do expect for than "Plan 9 from Outer Space" acting. (If you've seen this you know dreck.) The chase scenes are too long and not always relevant. There is no suspense, anxiety, or real fear displayed by the actors or felt by the audience. There were so many times in the movie that Indy should have been killed by the Russians since he had done his part, but he wasn't.

There is none of the excellent humor that set a foundation for the tongue-in-cheek performances in Raiders and to a lesser extent the following two sequels.

The improbability factor in much of the movie is astounding and the inclusion of useless scenes in also excessive – I will give details: Climbing into a refrigerator will not protect you from being smashed and hurled hundreds of yards or more and crashing to the ground. When it crashes at 100 miles per hours you crash as though there was no refrigerator around you since, the last time I checked, there is no padding in one of these. And let's not even discuss the heat and radiation of the blast (lead will only protect so much). Ants cannot carry whole people away into their nest, nor do they possess tablespoons of goo in their bodies.

Remember those house-sized rocks revolving at great speed around the spaceship as it took off? They would not just stop and drop when the "magnetic" field was gone, they would fly off and destroy all around them including all the observers who were just yards away.

What the hell was the purpose of the motorcycle in the airplane? How long did that last.

When Mutt was looking for Indy, he seemed not to know what he looked like. Wasn't it a tremendous coincidence that he happened to first choose the right person? And that he was on that side of the train and that the train could be stopped for him to get off (not explained was that?) After the initial contact with the FBI, they disappeared from the movie. There were more Russians than FBI on American soil after that scene.

Is gunpowder magnetic? I think not. If the Cadaver in the warehouse was so magnetic that it would attract the gunpowder, why wasn't all the metal in the warehouse and being carried by the troops attracted similarly. Why was it that only those metal items the camera was focusing on where attracted. In fact, later in the movie, this magnetic field could be stopped by a cloth covering – as if! An amphibious vehicle of the kind the main characters were riding in is not inherently a floating device. Like most ships, if water gets inside or they turn over (capsize) they will sink like a stone. Clearly, there were no sailors on board this cast or crew. For all the occupants to survive not one but three falls over falls the last of which looked like Niagara Falls is so comical as to be ridiculous. (btw, I know I overused that word). Why not make them a bit smaller and give the cast some trouble with the cascades so that we are anxious for their safety. When things are so absurd, the audience must suspend disbelief so greatly that at no time is it fearful for their survival.

Mutt already had the skull, why did he risk death by continuing to sword fight? What's with the attacks by the natives? These occurred twice and neither was well explained, although the fear factor with them was probably the best in the movie.

At the end the scene with Mac going crazy trying to gather the gold (and then dying) was so predictable, having been played out hundreds of times in other movies. Couldn't they have done something a bit different? Could Mutt really swing with the monkeys so as to catch up with speeding vehicles? Just where did he learn this skill while looking in mirrors and combing his hair? When Indy blew into the wrong end of the blowgun, the native shouldn't have died since the wrong end pierced him. In fact the wrong end isn't sharp at all or it would be impossible to discharge.

Would the army place a highly secret and very important warehouse in close proximity to a nuclear test site? Not unless they wanted to destroy everything in that warehouse, which was unlikely. And while we are at it wouldn't these highly trained Russians know that a nuclear test was being conducted? Well, I have asked more questions here than can be explained in a lifetime of Indy movies. And I haven't asked them all. All I have to add is - I want my two hours back please!!
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Still in tears .... and not the good kind
kinderbrause27 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I love the Indy Trilogy, watched it a dozen times and couldn't wait for this one. I tried not to be spoiled, didn't read the reviews or watched the trailers, so that I would be able to form my own opinion on this movie. I even tried not to expect too much. The only expectation I had, was that it had to be less disappointing than Episode 1. But my disappointment concerning movies hit a new low.

I really really tried to like it, but they made it impossible to. I thought setting the new movie into the 50s was actually a good idea. I could relate to Nevada, Area 51, even the Roswell aliens. I could even overlook Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a fridge - ridiculous as it was.

But why was it not possible to let Indy search for a Crystal Skull, that may or may not be of alien nature, being chased by the Russians, only to find it at the end of the movie and the Skull being destroyed or locked away in Area 51? That would have been a plot in the sense of the first movies. But my wildest imaginations couldn't prepare me for Aliens and flying saucers in a Indy movie. That's as if God had appeared and congratulated Indy for finding his lost Ark at the end of Raiders.

But it wasn't only the ridiculous plot. I remember reading an Interview where Spielberg and Lucas stated they tried to work with stunt teams and would only use CGI if there wasn't any other way. But that doesn't justify computer animated gophers, that you expect to start talking any minute or Ted-look-alike monkeys. Or a car chase that would have made the Wachowski brothers proud. The set of the Maya City with the fading stairs seemed like the leftovers of "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and the ants like a cheap rip off from "The Mummy".

Humour was created through nostalgic in-jokes but it lacked the original wit that excelled the first three parts. Unbearable over-the-top CGI action sequences were extended to a length that there wasn't any time left to pay tribute to the characters, their relationships or even dialog lasting longer than three sentences.

And did I really need to know that Indy is actually the father of Tarzan? That he is not only a Doctor/Professor and an adventurer but a Colonel, an agent and a Double-Agent as well? That Marian has grown so tough that she borders on insanity with her hysterical laughter whenever danger is ahead?

It's just a loud CGI-action movie without the heart and soul from the former Indy movies. Even a sense of adventure is missing.

But at least Indy seems to have retired. Let’s just hope that Lucas and Spielberg won’t reunite again for Henry Jones Junior III – the new Trilogy. Because after Indy 4 I do believe that they can hit new lows with every new movie they come up with.
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It's fun for some, disappointing for others.
bobsgrock29 May 2008
After a long nineteen year wait, Indiana Jones is back on the big screen hamming it up and continuing his search for rare and wild artifacts that could seriously take someone's life away. This film has Jones in the late 1950s fighting against the Soviets in order to obtain a crystal skull found in Peru which they believe will give them absolute knowledge over all other countries. Without telling the spoilers, it is important to state right here and now that this is definitely the weakest written of the four films. It simply doesn't give the magic and suspense that Raiders was able to throughout the entire running time. Of course the acting is good with Harrison Ford looking as good as ever and Karen Allen and Shia Labeouf supporting him well. The directing by Steven Spielberg is solid as we get some nice chase scenes and the pace is just fine. Still, it's that script that is giving me winces of pain as I watch this film. Of course, you shouldn't go into this thinking it was going to be as good or better than Raiders or the Last Crusade. I didn't expect too much and that is exactly what I got; not too much but enough to recommend for all fans of the original three to see. Are the first three the best? Of course. Should they have made this fourth one? Probably not. Still, if you are a fan, it doesn't hurt too much to see Indy crack the whip one more time.
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Not as bad as some are saying here, and I will explain why..
lvscott23 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I believe the reason a few people are saying this film is really bad is because allot of people want that "film Magic" of the first film in this series, "Raiders of the Lost Ark". What people fail to realize is that at the time, that film was one of a kind for the time, a new roller coaster ride for many of us when we were younger.

No film will ever quite match it, including any film with the main character of "Indiana Jones".. Having said that, this film here is fun enough on it's own merits. Of course, it is not a great film, but it is entertaining..

My criticisms;

I could of done without what I consider to be "Alien Propaganda" that seems to plaugue allot of Spielbergs directed films.

The new characters could of been fleshed out more.

Spielberg should of kept his word, and used allot less CGI, he didn't. In fact, everything he has represented about this film before it's release has frankly been flat out FALSE!! The story could of been better, but it is not bad.

My likes; Harrison Ford still has it, He looks Great, and got back into the character of Indiana Jones quite well.

The pacing was good and about the same as Raiders in that regard.

Nice to see Karen Allen again on the screen. I always liked her as an actress.

final verdict.

Worth a viewing, but DO NOT EXPECT the same magic that Raiders had, or you will end up like many here, HATING IT!!
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Crystal Numbskull
Jack_McSchmock31 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Nothing new to add here but personal sadness and disappointment: what a great franchise this was, what a lovable character, now destroyed by pure Lucasian incompetence. I'd really loved all the first three movies, because in my opinion, they were perfect examples for timeless adventure classics and movie magic extraordinaire, each in its own style. Indy himself was one of my childhood heroes ... heck, I even loved the TV series (well, mostly), but when I saw this one, I almost puked my guts out. Honestly, I wanted to like it badly, but this flick is so incredibly stupid, so inconsistent and amazingly badly written, it's plain unbearable. All things which made the other movies so great are missing: the excitement of discovery, the thrilling adventure, the enjoyable character relations, the sarcastic yet charming humor, the over-the-top but still believable action scenes - all gone. What remains is this brainless, soulless, uninspired load of junk that (sadly) will score at the box office anyway, just because it's Indy - sort of. But worst of all, as you can clearly see in almost every take, the love is gone from the franchise. Even Harrison Ford looks mostly like he's just going through the motions. For my part, I blame it all on the ABSOLUTELY SHITTY AND THOROUGHLY DUMB SCRIPT that 1) DENIES THE ACTORS ALMOST EVERY POSSIBILITY TO ACT (Karen Allen being the worst example) and 2) has literally everything that also made the star wars prequels fail: the ham-fisted dialogue, the completely ridiculous "storytelling", forced character development and relations, plot holes one could fly the death star through, overused CGI effects, the lamest humor imaginable ... the list goes on and on. So thanks, George Lucas, for ruining just another childhood love of mine - you couldn't have made it worse by introducing Steven Seagal as Indys long lost brother. But probably, that's what you were up to anyway and Spielberg just talked you out of it.

Bottom line: 20 years of waiting in vain ... excuse me now, but I think I'll go hiding in the basement and cry a little.
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Oh well.. at least my original box set can't be ruined by Indy 4
cameronwarn23 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Another in a list of very poor Hollywood follow-up films.....

For a film where the makers continually talked of doing in-camera effects so as to match the original films and preserve continuity, there sure were a lot of CG effects. In fact, the very first shot of the film includes a CG character which served to me as a warning as to how the whole film was going to go.

There are so many things wring with this film Its difficult to know where to start. The story for starters is a bit weak, and surely they could have found a non extra-terrestrial theme and picked something more interesting and based on some other interesting artifact from antiquity. Ford's character having a side career as a spy was ridiculous, as was the terrible character played be Blanchett. In fact, all of the characters were simply uninteresting and a waste of time for the actors who portrayed them.

The action sequences seemed a bit old-hat and it was painfully obvious at times (such as the warehouse sequence) that Ford was a little over the hill for the role as the difference between his close-ups and the stunt-mans shots whose tempo did not match. Throughout the film there were several shots that do stand out in my mind, but maybe not for good reasons. Some of these included that ridiculous sequence with the fridge, the very 'Mummy' like ant effects, the awful shot introducing Shia LaBeouf, those stupid monkeys and gophers and probably most notably the dime store looking, cling-wrap filled plastic skull which was meant to be what the whole film was about!!

For some reason Hollywood does not seem to be able to produce any decent follow-up films recently, and this is no exception. I can only wonder at how much influence Lucas had over the filming and post production of this film, but it really feels like 'Phantom Menace Syndrome' with its lack of story, character development, style, excitement or any virtue worth going to see an adventure film for. It simply is not anything like the original 3 films which were great fun to watch and still are. The direction of the film feels like a first time director who does not know where the film is going and simply cannot get a grip on the material.

It disappoints me greatly that this film is so woefully dull, as with its great cast and director it really was the last thing that I would have expected. There are a few nice moments between Ford and Allens characters, but these are counted in low single digit numbers. The films greatest crime is that is just not a fun film. I personally don't think of an CG driven film when I think of this franchise but this is what they gave us this time and quite frankly, I would rather go watch The Mummy for that kind of film and its certainly no piece of art either!
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Big disappointment.
vegania25 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers ahead.

I was waiting for this film since the first time I heard It was going to be made, about four years ago. Then came the problems with the script. Spielberg likes this one, but Lucas not, etc. Then they said they had difficulties to match their agendas. Finally the movie was made; almost twenty years later I had my tickets and watched Harrison Ford as Indy again at last...

People, what took you so long?, after all the wait you come up with this? Despite the digital animal that opens the film and seeing Indy survive an atomic explosion (?!!) by using a fridge, the first part of the movie still remind the audience to the original Indy, but once they travel to Peru the film is completely lost (BTW is using a CGI really THAT necessary for that simple opening scene?, don't they remember we've seen thousands of snakes, bugs, bats and rats in the same franchise, all of them for real?).

Once the travel to South America (what's the point on showing us they take the motorbike with them?, just to say "oh I left it at the cemetery"?) it turns into a "mummy" movie, with all the abuse of CGIs that is common these days in almost every Hollywood movie, but it's really painful to find all those cheap cheesy cartoonish digital effects in a Spielberg movie.

The script is so easy that all the characters do is running straight till the end of the movie. They escape from the Russians, they escape from the ants, they escape from the indians just running straight and using this multi purpose skull. No real troubles for our hero, not any sub-plot, not any emotion, nor romance, nor thrilling adventure. Laaame.

It is really hard to believe this movie was directed by Spielberg. At least not that mythical 80's Spielberg. Crystall Skull is a lot more like Spielberg's Hook or Amistad.

When he was shooting, Spielberg said with a big smile that he was making this movie for all the fans, and I believed him. Now I see this movie is nothing but a practical joke for all of them. I feel sort of betrayed.

The only good thing about this nonsense is seeing Ford again as Indy. He does his best, and he is REALLY Indiana. It's a shame the rest weren't able to meet the challenge.

Steven, George: what happened to you? I just don't understand.
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Not a masterpiece, but absolutely entertaining
crazychap30 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In the summer of 1981, best friends Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (the directors of Jaws and Star Wars, respectively) made a tribute based on the classic cliffhanger serials of the 1930s with a Bond-like feel. That "tribute" was Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it was an action adventure film that surpassed all expectations, becoming the box office champion of 1981 and nominated for many awards, including BEST Picture (a rarity for action films), solidified the career of the already-famous Harrison Ford and put Karen Allen on the map. Set in 1936, with World War II waiting just below the surface, archaeology professor and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find and retrieve the Lost Ark of the Covenant while facing fierce competition from the Nazis, who are aided by a rival archaeologist.

Two sequels would follow, 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (actually a prequel, as it takes place in 1935) and 1989's Last Crusade (set in 1938). Both sequels were great box-office draws, but both received a comparatively less favourable critical reception, especially Temple of Doom, which stirred up a lot of outrage for its portrayal of an Indian Cult. All three movies took place in the immediate pre-World War II era, before the war machine erupted in autumn 1939.

Now, It is 1957, and things have surely changed. It has been 19 years since the end of the Last Crusade (which also coincide with the gap between the films' release dates); World War II ended with the defeat of Dr. Jones's traditional enemy, the Nazis (from Raiders and Crusade); close friend Marcus Brody (Elliot McDermott) and father Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) have recently passed away; the new international order is split between the Communist world v.s the Capitalist world (with everything in between) and Indy is trailed by the FBI (and also by the KGB) due to Mac's, his longtime partner, history as a double-agent and Jones's recent forced cooperation with the Soviets to find a warehouse that includes captured artifacts (which coincidentally includes the Ark). While trying to leave the country temporarily to escape the FBI, he encounters a young man named Mutt Williams, a rebellious drop-out in the likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando. He persuades Jones to come with him and help rescue his mother, who turns out to be Indy's lingering flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and Professor Oxley (Hurt), both held captive by the same Soviets Indy has encountered early on. Indy reluctantly agrees, and decides to help him battle the Soviets in a race reminiscent of the Last Crusade, except that it is set in South America.

Surely, all these years have created a lot of hype over the Indiana Jones movies, and to tell you the truth, this movie lives up to most of it. On the positive side, Harrison Ford is impressively fit (both physically and mentally) as Indy and is every inch as likable now as he was back then, the action sequences are top-notch, and for the most part, done without the infamous CGI, the special effects are very good, and it's very good to see Karen Allen, my personal favourite of the Jones ladies (and for most, I might say), return in this movie. The moments of humour are effective, and the movie's fast pace never lets up for a minute. The plot twist between Indy, Marion, and Mutt (whose real name is Henry Jones III) is a grabber.

On the flip side, the screenplay has a number of gaps and unfinished ideas. First of all, there is almost no back-story shown about what has Indy done through all this time other than spoken dialogue, but most importantly, the Soviets are portrayed in an unfairly stereotypical manner, making them essentially the Nazis of the past films with a hammer and sickle. Cate Blanchett's character, Irina Spalko isn't well written despite the actress's convincing portrayal, and her Soviet grunts are just stock. Mac (Winstone) makes some great comic relief, but I find his double-triple agent subplot too far-fetched, even for spy-story standards.

All in all, this movie reminds me of what action movies are all about: a temporary escape hub from our drab everyday lives, plenty of slam-bang, explosions, stunts, exotic locations, the whole shebang. And this movie meets all the requirements. Crystal Skull may pale when compared to Raiders and the Last Crusade, I personally find it better than the mercilessly dark and gloomy Temple of Doom. The movie may be flawed, but you'll surely be entertained from the first scene down to the end credits.

Originally, Indiana Jones was meant to be a five-picture deal. With this movie, the deal is just one film short of completion. I can't wait for the sequel!
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Indiana Jones is back!
CowboysGuy282418 May 2008
Warning: 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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A 1950s Indy
A4B422 May 2008
If you're expecting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to be a fourth in the series, you'll be disappointed. The original three were set in the 1930s, looking for buried treasure in a Treasure of the Sierra Madre style. The new film is set in the 1950s, and that changes everything.

Frankly, it should be viewed as a new series. It certainly overlaps with the previous films, however most of that seems to affect the new film trivially. I actually think it's a little unfair to present this new type of film under the great Indiana Jones reputation, and however smart marketably I believe this, and the lack of understanding and inaccurate expectations on the audience's behalf will ultimately lead to the film's demise.

The film itself is well written, and well made with only a few exceptions. As long as you don't expect another Raiders of the Lost Ark, you'll probably be pleased with the film as it is, with the exception of one sequence which doesn't quite seem to fit. Beyond that, the plot, characters and acting all fit with this new kind of Indy film.

The cinematography is not the 80s style we'd probably all like, but it's not bad. The camera is certainly held much more stable than many of today's films, and the action is very clear and easy to follow, as is the stunt work great. There is a lot of computer animation--most of it looks believable, but some of it does not--but that which was done well fits superbly.

The acting was also very good. I was very impressed by Cate Blanchett, and to my surprise very pleased with Shia LeBeouf's character and acting.

All-in-all, I really appreciated the film as a whole, although some of the animation and action sequences seemed somewhat unfinished, or at least too difficult to believe (even for an Indy film). Still, it is an excellent 1950s serial, and I really hope we'll see at least one other Indy film set in this new era.
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Written, Produced, and Directed by Jar Jar Binks
smokinglizard24 May 2008
Warning: 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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