It’s not the worst movie you’ve ever seen. Faint praise, maybe, but most every other review has given that impression. #StillBetterThanTOD
Let’s get the simple stuff out of the way first.
- You’re right, they never should have made this movie; should have left off in 1989 with Last Crusade. Was a perfectly logical place to stop.
- Yes, Harrison Ford is far too old to play this role.
- Spielberg, Ford and everyone else who blanched at making a sci-fi “B” movie should have stuck with their gut and told Lucas to get real.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how is this admittedly ill-advised film? Meh…
When this came out in 2008, I was rooting for it; hard. I really wanted to love it in spite of how nervous I was and how against the existence of the movie I was. It arrived in theaters with a ton of pressure, which it never could have lived up to – and didn’t. I didn’t condemn it as a total loss, but I sure wasn’t pleased.
But a funny thing happened when it came out on home video; I watched it at home and kind of liked it. Once I had accepted that it really wasn’t a very good movie and got over all the things it wasn’t, I was able to see it for what it was. And in truth, there’s a lot of stuff to like here (to go along with the myriad things to dislike). All the stuff that made me apoplectic in the theater merely annoyed me at home. Faint distinction perhaps, but it’s there.
Seriously, try it for yourself at home. It isn’t a good movie and so don’t look for it to be. Just watch it knowing that so many talented people can make for some moments even if the sum total is somewhat lacking.
I mean, really, it’s not that bad. Ford isn’t that old here. Now if they tried to have him play, say Han Solo at his age, that would be a real problem. Can you imagine?
Play-by-play (thoughts written down while watching the movie):
- Old Paramount logo dissolving into prairie dog mound – cute. Digital prairie dogs? Less so…
- Drag-racing to bring us right into the time period is a good touch and gives some energy. This is also the last time anything in the movie will look good. Janusz Kaminski is a fine cinematographer, but the movie looks awful. I know they worked really hard to study Slocombe’s style and lighting, but it just isn’t working.
- 19 years after Last Crusade, both in real life and in setting of 1957
- The costumes just look off…
- Dr. Spalko – can’t decide if I hate the character more than I hate Blanchett’s performance. Tough call…
- A sword? Really?
- The problem here with the opening is that you’re just being dropped into it – that’s fine, but there isn’t feeling of an established relationship as there was with Belloq, so it’s not as effective.
- Indy’s moving in slow-motion. I’m not going to spend the whole review saying Ford is too old for the character, so let’s just say it once and be done with it…
- Some good stunts, though…
- Rocket sled is cool setpiece.
- What, they don’t know where he is but just leave?
- Atomic test site is creepy, but not as creepy as he looks in modern time.
- Sigh…the refrigerator gag…
- I didn’t realize how much they’re relying on shorthand of common knowledge until I watched this with my daughter and had to pause for ten minutes to explain Communism and McCarthyism.
- They had to dress LaBeouf as Brando? Really?
- This plot is beyond confusing. I’ve seen the movie 3-4 times now and I still haven’t figured out what Harold Oxley has to do with “Mutt”. Must be a script remnant from when they were making this character Abner Ravenwood.
- Exposition deadly…
- Motorcycle chase through “Barnett College” (Yale) pretty good with good practical effects, not digital, even though the body doubles are pretty hard to not see.
- Broadbent is always great, of course, but it’s a wrench not seeing Denholm Elliot…
- The Peruvian cemetery set is pretty good. In fact this sequence may be the best in the film, although I’m still not sure who the heck these guys attacking them actually are.
- The character of “Mutt” is such a problem for this movie. It’s sort of hard to get past, even when you’ve let most of the other stuff go. Contrary to what you might suspect, I really don’t have a problem with Shia LeBeouf. He was so good in The Greatest Game Ever Played that I’ve given him a pass since then (which is easy, because he makes crap movies that I don’t see).
- But Karen Allen is back! Never mind, all is forgiven.
I actually stopped making notes after awhile because I just wanted to watch the movie, and I was frankly finding my nitpicking to start seriously affecting my ability to enjoy the movie. And I do actually enjoy Crystal Skull, although it’s hard to justify why. When I note all the things about the movie in a list, it seems really awful. And it isn’t a good movie – it has way too many problems for that. But my daughter was really having a good time with it, so I lightened up a bit. And there were enough fun scenes, barely. I guess I’m just not quite as hard on this movie as I probably should be. That’s what comes of wanting to enjoy something – sometimes you succeed…
The Representation Test Score: D (3 pts)
|Main Cast||Harrison Ford Indiana Jones, Cate Blanchett Irina Spalko, Shia LaBeouf Mutt Williams, Karen Allen Marion Ravenwood|
|Release Date||Thu 22 May 2008 UTC|
|Plot||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.|
|Tagline||In May, the adventure continues.|
|Writers||David Koepp (screenplay), George Lucas (story) …|