That familiar magic and superstitious hocus pocus

25May08

Yay Indy! Yesterday I went to see the new Indy movie (and the fourth installment in what we all thought would forever be a trilogy), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As expected, it was awesome—but, of course, not as great as the originals. But even though it was really good, it had some shortcomings.

As many of you know, the first Indiana Jones film was Raiders of the Lost Ark, which came out in 1981. It would be followed by The Temple of Doom in ’84 and then The Last Crusade (pfft, “last” my ass) in ’89. The Indy movies have found a place in our hearts for decades, so who wasn’t excited to hear that they were making another one? I mean, where nostalgia’s concerned, there’s always the possibility that another film would taint fond memories of the original trilogy (hello, Star Wars?)—and if the Indiana Jones movies have taught us anything, it’s that some things weren’t meant to be disturbed.

But who the hell cares? We all wanted to see Harrison Ford cracking that whip again; for being too young to have ever seen an Indy movie in theaters, this was a lot of fun for me. So let’s get on with the review.

Frankly, the movie starts out pretty randomly (you’ll just have to see it to find out what I mean). If it wasn’t for the Lucasfilm logo and the familiar list of names as they appeared on the screen, I would have sworn I was in the wrong theater. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was both satisfying and somewhat disappointing, to be honest. It was fun to see Harrison Ford—who was, ladies, uber sexy back when—donning the leather and his signature hat and wielding his trademark whip again, but since it was only logical for time to have passed in the Indy world as well, Ford’s character lost a lot of that youthful energy. Don’t get me wrong, there were exciting moments when that old Indy charm shone through (especially that smile … that scoundrel’s smile could make any girl blush), and it wasn’t like it was a surprise since Ford himself has aged—but despite numerous and largely successful endeavors to blend this new film in with the style of the older ones, this part of it just didn’t all-together work.

Not to mention Indy didn’t use his whip half as much as I would have liked. You know that part in the trailer where Indy swings with his whip in the warehouse (hmm, warehouse … remember Raiders? 🙄 )? Well, there’s not much more whip-action than that, unfortunately. And although they didn’t forget to play up Indy’s pathological fear of snakes, even my dad admitted how disappointing it was that they didn’t make him say, “I hate snakes!” While we’re discussing downsides, for awhile in the beginning they spent just a little too much time on archaeological history as they followed Professor Oxley’s trail of clues in order to find him.

Nevertheless, a la the old Indy films, action was everywhere—that is, action nicely mixed with plot and dialogue—once the ball really got rolling (no pun intended). It was cool to see Karen Allen quite impressively reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s love interest from the first film. Cate Blanchett made a good Indy villain (mundane and evil but entertaining sound familiar?), too. The movie was filled with the fun humor the old Indiana Jones movies were known for, and the respect and love for archeology and its mysteries was preserved (oh, puns). The theme music wasn’t tainted from what I could hear, which is a good thing; for the most part the style of the old films was pretty well-maintained, indeed. Even a lot of the settings were recognizable.

Near the late middle of the movie there was a long jungle “chase” in which both sides fought to possess the crystal skull. The choreography for that scene was freaking awesome and complex, which fits the older Indiana Jones movies in that way, too. And you can’t forget the trademark “gross” factor—hey, arthropods, how have you been? Plus, the way Blanchett’s villain is, uhm, “taken care of” at the end is a fun sort of tribute in itself.

Shia LaBeouf is another story. There were a lot of rumors floating around about his character before the movie hit theaters, and because it’s something not too hard to figure out for yourself, I’m not going to address them or his character’s true (and potential) place in the Indy world. You’re going to have to just see the movie for yourself and talk about it on your own—but if you really want to know, a little Googling is a quick fix, as always. But anyway. LaBeouf really isn’t that hot. Not the way Harrison Ford was when he was younger. Shia just lacks that rugged manliness that was so irresistible about men like Ford—like he’ll forever be a pretty boy, and that’s it.

I mean, obviously choosing such a young actor has a point to the storyline, but it’s not that controversial to think that he was also included to draw in a younger crowd. A new and fresh actor in a world of previous generation actors, so to speak. A lot of people my age—and younger—sadly aren’t even familiar with Indiana Jones (yeah, that includes you, too, Tim 😛 ), and a name like Shia LaBeouf probably sparks more interest for a lot of them than Harrison Ford does. And that’s understandable, I guess. He’s got that Nsync fangirl aspect going for him, too. I’m sure he’s in giant-sized poster-form on countless thirteen-year-old girls’ walls.

So how does The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull stack up? It was great, but it’ll never be remembered in the same light as the trilogy. If you haven’t seen it, definitely go check it out. This is one of those films that’s worth watching over and over again—and not just because it’s Indiana Jones, but also because it’s fun to see.

Feedback: What did you think of the new movie? Love it, hate it? Wtf was with Mutt and the monkeys? Leave your opinions in the comments!

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4 Responses to “That familiar magic and superstitious hocus pocus”

  1. Har har Steph :p And just so you know Shia Labeouf is the main reason I haven’t seen this movie yet XD

  2. Argh, are you serious? You have to see it anyway! Forget Shia (although honestly he wasn’t that bad), it’s Indy! You’re so deprived. 😀 Go see Indy.

  3. 3 JC

    This movie was so fun, I was excited to read your take on it.

    And! You didn’t forget about the monkeys! WTF was up with that ???? I was like omgwtfbbq the whole time the kid was in the air.

    I thought the end nod to the audience with the hat sequence was pretty clever, btw.

  4. Haha, I know! The whole thing with the monkeys was ridiculous.

    Yeah, that was pretty cool at the end.


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