Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

2 months after watching it, I finally deliver the review to you…

Since 1981, every movie that involved a hero trekking through the jungle looking for treasure was billed as “this year’s Raiders” or ”a worthy heir to Indiana Jones.”  Heck, even TV got into the act in 81 with not 1, but two series in that vein (Bring Them Back Alive with Bruce Boxleitner and Tales of the Gold Monkey with Stephen Collins {great show}).  The only franchise that seemed as much fun is The Mummy (minus The Scorpion King — let’s not say anything more about it).

In 1989, Last Crusade was released and was received with mixed feelings.  People loved seeing Indy again, but they also started making remarks about the age (”it’s not the years, sweetheart, it’s the mileage”).  Add to the fact that the final product was not as strong as Raiders and you have a moderately successful swan song that left people glad for the end.

Fast-forward to the late 90’s and rumors started swirling that Lucas, Speilberg, and Ford were looking to make a fourth Indy.  Like many others, I was leary of them dipping back into the well.  After all, if Harrison Ford was deemed “too old” in 1989 to play Indy, what would he be in the 2000’s?  Then it took them several tries and years to get a script that all three agreed on, making Ford even older.  Of course, everyone involved tried keeping secrets, but inevitabley, things were leaked or logically figured out.

Now, it is safe to say that I have been pleased with this summer’s reversal of last year’s misery; blockbusters have been delivering as promised.  So, it is with high hopes that I head to the midnight showing of Indy at the AMC Altamonte.  Again, I have my pick of theaters and am able to get a pretty good seat.  Very few trailers, but that was ok.

The latest installment finds our hero in the 50’s, after years of hunting down treasure and serving as a spy for the government.  He starts off in trouble and ends up riding out a nuclear explosion in a lead-lined refrigerator.  As the story progresses, we are treated to visual benchmark nods to the other movies and characters: the college, Brody, Jones, Sr…  The reunion of Indy and Marion is nice, but I have to agree with other reviewers that she was not given the meaty role she had in Raiders.  The story moves along at a decent pace towards a satisfying ending.

My biggest issue is the fact that after the waterfall chase, I felt like I had watched the movie just 6 months prior.  That’s right — it felt identical to National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.  Now that could be simply because of both movies using the Mayan culture, but it was like they almost used the same exact sets.

One note I would suggest is to read the book after seeing it — the book makes the story stand out better.

My advice:  go see it on the big screen — enjoy a fond lookback.  To me it was a fitting end, but I have heard rumors of a fifth installment — why can’t we end on a high note?

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