Now that our critic at large, Brian Tallerico, has given his opinion on the new Indiana Jones film, we here at MovieRetriever.com thought you might enjoy some additional perspectives from the VideoHound editors on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So, without further adieu, here are the opinions of...
Around the MovieRetriever offices, I’ve earned the nickname of “Joykiller,” because I, somehow, have the ability to make people retroactively hate movies they thought they originally enjoyed. (Two of my fellow editors have never forgiven me for opening their eyes about how badly Revenge of the Sith sucked.) And, sadly, I think I’m going to be the office Joykiller for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s not a bad movie, and there are some really, really fun moments. (I thought the college motorcycle chase was fantastically staged.) But there’s something just...slight about the whole affair. As if Spielberg, Ford, and Lucas completely gave up on trying to sell us on the reality of Jones and his world and just want us to give up an enjoy the ride. And that would be fine...IF the other three Jones movies (and, yeah, I’m including Temple of Doom) didn’t do such a great job of making Indy such a three-dimensional character. There’s just a sense of going through the motions in Crystal Skull, especially (and surprisingly) from Karen Allen, who spends the whole movie wearing a goofy grin that seems to say “Manohman, this is the best job I’ve had since Scrooged.”
Will you have fun at Crystal Skull? Yes, you probably will. Shia is a lot better than I thought he’d be, Ford looks great, and there are some gorgeously fun moments. But it’s definitely the least successful Indiana Jones movie to date. The alien MacGuffin simply doesn’t work and, as the film drew to a close, all I could think was that I hoped this one was finally, finally Indy’s last crusade.
While I’m certainly not as cynical as Joykiller (er, I mean CoolerKing), I have to admit there were a couple things that got to me about the latest Indy movie. First and foremost is that Indy has been reduced to more of a participant in the story rather than the driving force of the narrative. More often than not the film seemed to move along and Indy was forced to catch up whereas in previous films he was the impetus and participant in every thing that happened. Granted he’s in pretty much every scene of the movie, but he’s usually there to introduce another character, move the plot along to the next action sequence, or offer up a reaction shot as a special effect unfurls itself. For crying out loud, his name IS part of the title isn’t it? He’s one of, if not the greatest adventurer in cinematic history and deserves a bit more doesn't he? While I didn’t dislike the alien MacGuffin as much as my colleague did, I wish there had been a little more whimsy to the ending rather than the strict homage to 1950s era sci-fi that really leaves nothing to the imagination. That all being said, I really did enjoy the movie. It’s a fast-paced and wildly entertaining film. As mentioned earlier, a few of the action sequences are just amazing. The motorcycle chase is indeed the standout here. Despite its flaws, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a fitting installment to the Indiana Jones cannon and is definitely a more rewarding continuation of a much-beloved film series than the disappointing Star Wars prequels.