Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, or How - Wouldn't they die?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent... and, oh yeah that kid.

Let's play 5 questions (20's pushing it, really):

Is Indiana Jones and the Longest Title in the World not belonging to a Johnny Depp Franchise a great movie? No. While it has great moments (any time Ms Blanchett is on-screen!) the entire movie seems a bit too-contrived (especially that horrible paternity thing, which other than making Harrison the new Conner, does little else than introduce a greaser who (given Spielberg and Ford's A-okay) might take over the franchise (god forbid!).

Is Indiana Jones and The Fonz a good summer popcorn movie? Perhaps. It has thrills, it has laughs, it has effing CGI monkeys for god's sakes! This is definitely not Iron Man territory but the 124mins went by swimmingly fast - always a good sign for a summer movie.

Is Indiana Jones and the 'Apocalypto meets Shyamalan's Signs' character designs a memorable Spielberg movie? Far from it. Steven (yes, we're on a first-name basis, stop asking!) can direct a movie like this in his sleep. Actually he probably did. 'Beautiful establishing shot here... ::snore:: Wildly choreographed (though not less enjoyable because of it) fight scene here ::snore:: Witty humour here...::snore:: ooOoh! Jews! No. Wait. Other Spielberg-ey staple: Aliens! Yeah... aliens!'

Is Indiana Jones and the Improbable Death-Defying Action Sequences worth your money? I think so. I mean, think of all the life-lessons you're taught:
- Harrison at any age is more bankable than Ashton+Cameron, or Brits in weird accents, or Dempsey+Monaghan... isn't that reassuring? Viva Han Solo!
- Cate Blanchett can and will kill you. Creepy and good-looking with gorgeous eyes and skin - all in spite of a horrid Eastern European hairdo - not even Javier could work the bob, but Cate... she's in a different league altogether!
- Never underestimate the power of Brit-casting. Shaa-ee-aah at least got some acting lessons from John and Jim. Take notes kid.
- Russians have a different sense of fashion. But then, so did the Greasers... Discuss.
- South Americans didn't really create awe-inspiring Nazca lines or anything like it... Aliens did. See how that's more believable?

Is Indiana Jones and Natasha Fatale a good addition to the Indy franchise? That one's harder to answer. Indy IV has everything an Indy movie should have: wit, whips and world-traveling. It also has a couple of things Indy didn't need: a son (wtf?! Please, can someone explain to me Shai-ah's appeal? Seriously...), a wife (Really? Marion?), and people who live in the space in between space (huh?).

Sure, it was crazy. Sure, I hated every moment 'Shaya' was on screen (he irks me more than I convey really, which is probably why I loved that Harrison kept him in line and didn't take any of his 'I'm the new It-boy' crap), but I still thoroughly enjoyed Indy 4 - I mean, how can you not enjoy a movie which is constantly winking your way?
'Yeah, this is a nuclear testing facility, but see how this Lead-poisoning/made fridge saved me? Improbable? C'mon! ::wink!::'
'I might be old enough to be your grandfather, but I can still crack a whip like it was 1981! ::wink::'
'Yeah, I am Cate Blanchett and I have a hurricane in me! Wait? Sha-e-a is competition in a sword fight? haha ::wink wink::'

Did I mention Cate's the best thing about this movie? B+


Anonymous said...

The first review I completely agree with.
Quite refreshing.

Dame James Henry said...

Thank God someone else can't stand Shia either- I feel so alone! He's so skanky and gross looking I can't imagine why anyone would want to go for him. And he's not even that great of an actor either.