Tuesday, May 20, 2008

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL: A Nostalgia Trip

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (fantasy adventure)
Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone and John Hurt
Director: Steven Spielberg
Time: 120 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)


WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Nineteen years between the last Indiana Jones movie and this new sequel is a long, long time. A whole new generation could have been started. Now, imagine your little kid, or your grandson, asking: "Who's that old man up there, Dad (or Gramps)? Was he your hero when you were a kid?" So on that score alone, this long-awaited sequel should work as a nostalgia trip into the ole Spielberg fantasy adventures.
Well, at least it is a lot more satisfying than last year's "National Treasure" sequel...


WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It's 1957, at the height of the Cold War, when Prof Henry Jones Jr (Harrison Ford) and his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone) are kidnapped by a Russian agent (Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko) and taken to a military set-up in a Nevada desert, ostensibly to look for some mind-blowing artifact. One escape later, Indy Jones is back in class teaching archaeology when he is told by his boss (Jim Broadbent) to take compulsory leave 'for helping the Russians'. When Indy is about to leave town, he runs into a youngster named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) who wants his help to look for Prof Oxley (John Hurt) and his mother Marion (Karen Allen) somewhere in South America.

Mutt offers Indy a map with ancient symbols - and off they go on another crazy adventure that seems to have been partly set up by those guys who built Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disney!

HITS & MISSES: If there ever was a really Big Bang opening to all the Indy Jones flicks, this is it. It is earth-shattering. However, after that, everything seems to appear subdued and contrived. Sure, there are Spielberg-styled chases a-plenty but we are awed by the timing of the stunts rather than by the excitement they provide. We don't get that seat-gripping feeling that Indy and his pals are in danger for their lives. We just look for the ingenious ways they always manage to escape - from maurading ants and scorpions to anti-Communist monkeys!

Yes, that endearing Spielberg touch of using little animals to provide the gags is still evident here and the film is better off for it. Adventure movie fans would certainly like the breath-taking sceneries of huge waterfalls and caves. Of the cast, it's nice to have the old Ford back on the road again. Yes, he still has some mileage left in him despite being over 65. And teaming up with Karen Allen helps to tie up the plot after 30 years. Even Blanchett is a welcome sight, although she initially seems to have walked in from a James Bond movie. Also, we envy the fun she apparently had, playing with the Russian accent.

THE LOWDOWN: Just like the Narnia sequel, this one is also a must for Indy Jones fans, no matter how old they are.

4 Comments:

At 6:47 am, Anonymous patrick said...

it seems like the recipe of a good Indiana Jones film would be 1 part Nazis and 1 part biblical artifact... the Soviet army does a pretty good job of replacing the Nazis, but the other ingredient...

 
At 7:18 pm, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Yeah, Patrick, it seems Spielberg always had a thing against the Nazis, being a Jew. And as expected, the Communists are now up in arms against the movie.
Still, i think the Russians are there for comedy effects rather than as villains.
Thanks for your comments.

 
At 1:18 am, Blogger jesscet said...

just watched it tonite! although it still has lots of thrills and spills, I find the plot weak and many parts just to OTT! Somehow it has fallen short of my expectation. so i rather Dr Jones retires for good now!

personally, i would have given it a 2.5 at most - Iron Man 3.5 and Prince Caspian 3 stars. ;)

 
At 11:53 am, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Hi Jesscet,

I had really no expectations when I went for the preview. The 3 stars were for the action and nostalgia value. and it was nice to see Ford making fun of his age and himself. Thanks for your comments.

 

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