Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones has been one of the most anticipated movies
of the summer. Sure, teens looked forward to it, but so did their
parents and grandparents, who thrilled to the earlier installments. It’s
been almost 20 years since we last saw Indy on the screen. With producer
George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and actor Harrison Ford on
board for this project, it seemed like a sure thing.
The movie starts off well. The opening sequence sets the stage for
1957: teens hot-rodding down a Nevada desert highway with rock and
roll on the radio. Switch to an assault on a military base, with
Indy held captive by Russian soldiers, led by Cate Blanchett, unrecognizable
in short black hair. Of course, Indy narrowly escapes.
The problem with Crystal Skull is that, after a good opening,
I kept waiting for the really good part to come: the “edge-of-your-seat” sequence
that marked the others. Sure, there are cliffhangers, deadly ants,
boat rides down the Amazon rapids, and narrow escapes. But it all
seems tired, uninspired, “been there, done that.” The
magic is not there, despite a ridiculous ending that moves into another
familiar territory for Spielberg: Close Encounters/E.T. All
it needs now is a shark, and Crystal Skull could be subtitled: Early
Spielberg Hits. In summary, Indiana Jones and the
Crystal Skull is a huge disappointment.
Where did it go wrong? First, the screenplay is poorly written,
with uninteresting characters and a plot that made no sense. In addition,
maybe Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford are all just too old for this kind of
outing. There’s no energy, no fun, to the film. Even
the special effects, with the exception of the testing of an atomic bomb
early in the film, fail to dazzle.
With many other blockbusters due soon, there will be other opportunities
for warm weather fun. It’s too bad that Lucas and Spielberg,
who invented the summer blockbuster, seem to have lost their touch.
Tom Condon, OP