Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

OH boy. It can't really be surprising that I'm jazzed for the newest Indiana Jones film. Not only am I a nerd, but I'm also a dork (according to my g/f). The first three films are perfect capsules of adventure, humour, heart and action, and the third one features one of the best car chase slash fight scenes ever. So, on May 22, 2008, I went to the theatre for the 7:15 showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

So was it as good as the first three?

Yes and no.

Spielberg, Lucas, Frank Marshall and screenwriter David Koepp certainly try to to recapture all of the magic of the original trilogy, by using callbacks (such as the Ark) and using the familiar screenplay structure to sell it. There's quite a lot of action, including one of the longest car chase slash fight sequences I've ever seen (easily the highlight of the film) and quite a lot of comedy.

However, it's kind of stale. For some reason it felt a not so good taste in my mouth.

Spoilers begin.

The whole "alien" angle is what really soured me. After the Biblical and magical aspects of the previous three films, I wasn't really ready to accept interdimensional aliens who have created a portal in the middle of South America and communicate via hive mind. It just seems too "out there".

Another thing I just wasn't feeling was the fact that it slavishly replicated the structure of the original trilogy, especially the third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Before the reveal of the artifact, there's an especially long car chase in the jungle, just like the especially long car chase in the desert before arriving at the temple.

However, that f*%&ing car chase is easily the best part of the entire movie. The action scenes in Indiana Jones were certainly enjoyable, but the sheer amount of CGI in every scene kind of made it not as fun.

The whole idea behind Raiders of the Lost Ark is a throwback to the adventure serials of the thirties, sort of like Star Wars is a throwback to the sci-fi serials. So when you add in the ridiculous amount of CGi as in the fourth Indiana Jones, then you're kind of diminishing the awesomeness of it.

I don't really want to get into the characters or anything, suffice to say that Shia Lebeouf was as entertaining as I expected him to be, considering his enjoyableness in Transformers. Karen Allen returns as Marion Ravenwood for about the last third of the flick, and she's whatever. She doesn't have the same spark and she's also kind of fat.

Well... so is Harrison Ford, but he does a decent job.

All in all, the movie was entertaining and I had some fun. I will be doing a marathon of the first three because after we came out of the theatre, the g/f confessed she hadn't seen any other Indiana Jones. I was shocked and appalled.

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