Friday, May 23, 2008

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

Let's get the whole age thing out of the way, okay? Harrison Ford was 65 years old when he took up the whip and fedora of Indiana Jones, perhaps his most famous screen character, for the fourth time. There has been some concern about how his age would affect his ability to handle - and make believable - all the stuntwork that Indiana Jones movies seem to demand. After all, he had to fight Nazis twice his size and slide in the dirt behind a truck in Raiders.

Rest assured - Indy is more than capable of handling Russians half his age, maybe a third his age. He jumps across the beams of a warehouse ceiling. He leaps from car to car to pummel some bad guys. He figures out the best way to evade a nuclear blast. He still knows how to use his whip for maximum effectiveness. He even takes off his shirt - something he didn't do in Last Crusade, when he was merely 46 years old - to show off a chiseled look.

The plot, revolving around a crystal skull that defininitely does not appear human, is a bit thinner than the three previous movies. There's a lot more exposition this time around, presumably because the audience knows less about crystal skulls than it does about the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. Without giving away too much, I'll just say that the ending is reminiscent of two previous Spielberg films - if you've seen Crystal Skull already, you know which ones I mean.

The much-discussed return of Marion Ravenwood to the Indy saga is indeed welcome. She's the pluckiest and spunkiest female lead of the entire series, the perfect antidote to the chilliness of Elsa Schneider and the whininess of Willie Scott. Her voice may be less husky than it was in Raiders, but her spirit has certainly remained the same. And, yes, there is certainly a connection between Indy, Marion, and her son Mutt, played by Shia LaBeouf.

If you want a film that's intricately plotted with a firm grounding in reality, I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere. If, however, you are seeking a thrill ride of a film that fits perfectly into the Indiana Jones canon, then Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is for you. If you're not yet convinced, let me offer two final words: giant ants.


  1. An action figure who is a historian, what's not to love? :-)

    In all seriousness, thanks for the review. I might actually cave in and pay the full fare.


    P.S. Diary of Anne Frank

  2. It's worth it, but then again, I'm a die-hard Indy fan. I even have an original "Raiders" poster, as in, a poster that's 27 years old. My wife bought it for me and gave it on my birthday, two days before our wedding day. It was the best present EVER!