No, this isn’t a joke. We are reviewing what will likely be one of the Summer’s biggest blockbuster movies–Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull here at TSS Radio. And no, there aren’t any Stilettos or Sportsters in the movie, we just wanted to lighten things up and not be so “SIRIUS” all the time. (Pun seriously intended)
This fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series starts off a bit slow and although it ends up being pretty entertaining there’s still something to be desired–especially when compared to the previous Indy films. The first hour of “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is filled with half-hazard plot development and boring details that you will forget by the time you are to the good stuff anyways. It seems as if the back story is kind of an after thought and the plot is so all over the place it doesn’t end up mattering. The first hour also introduces us to some campy, over the top characters–most notably the Russian femme fatale/Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle-esque villain played by Cate Blanchett. I couldn’t help but find her accent laughable and the character’s weird interest in the paranormal and psychic communication led this avid television watcher to compare her to Jackie from Lifetime Network’s “America’s Psychic Challenge” (they even have the same haircut!). After we are through with Natasha…er, I mean, Irina Spalko (Blanchett) we are forced to meet the not very believable as a rough and tumble greaser Shia LeBeouf as a character called “Mutt Williams”.
Our first encounter with Mutt is with him riding up on a motorcycle doing his best impression of Marlon Brando from “The Wild Ones” (hat and all). Maybe I can’t take LeBeouf seriously as this kind of character because he was in “Even Stevens” for 4 years, or maybe it’s because his character’s dialogue is dotted with cornball ’50s slang and all he seems to do is comb his hair. As the movie progresses he kind of loses the lame slang and comb, and becomes a highlight of the movie. I think LeBeouf has a quirkiness about him that translates really well in a role that mixes action and humor, especially alongside Harrison Ford who has pretty much made a career of that.
Once the movie gets rolling there are some really enjoyable action sequences that remind me of why I thought being an archaeologist was the coolest job in the world when I was a kid. The action is reminiscent of classic Indy and we finally get to the cob-webbed caves and situations that only Indiana Jones could get out of. The last half of the movie also reintroduces the character of Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen) who you may remember as Indy’s love interest in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The banter between Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood is also a throw back to the earlier films and provides some of the only humorous moments in “…Crystal Skull”, which is a disappointment.
Overall, I would say that “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is worth seeing if you are a fan of the series, however it didn’t leave me with the same excited, adventurous feeling I remember after watching the older ones. In conclusion, this movie will not spawn a future generation of wannabe archeologists like the earlier films may have, rather it will most likely just create another overworked action franchise and more work for Shia Lebeouf (as if he needs it).