adventure movies review

Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of Shag’s Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullI finally saw “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. I liked it. Yup, I’m one of the few geeks I know that actually enjoyed the movie.

Now, I have to admit that I was probably not impartial going in. I’d read quite a bit of spoilers, so I was much better prepared for the controversial parts as compared to most people. I think knowing about those parts in advance (and already personally working through the surprise and disappointment) allowed me to enjoy the film more. It’s sort of like having surgery. Prior to the surgery, the doctor explains in gory detail what they are going to do to you. So when its time for the actual procedure, you aren’t really surprised or upset by the painful bits.

Beware, there be SPOILERS ahead…

Things I liked…

  • I enjoyed the second Act that took place back at the University. I felt like they introduced a nice subplot about a hero getting older. Loved the line, “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” I liked that they lingered on the photo of Indy’s dad.

  • Indy gaining a son was a perfect counterpoint to the earlier scene about getting older. Here Indy is given something new (a son he never knew he had). Well structured.

  • I enjoyed hearing Harrison Ford’s famous Star Wars line, “I got a bad feeling about this.”

  • I thought the use of the army ants was really cool! Very unexpected but fitting for Indiana Jones. I’m going to have the creepy crawlies for days.

  • Throughout the movie I was waiting for the moment, and dreading the thought of, when Indy would put the hat on Mutt as sort of a passing of the torch. I was happy to see that moment was stolen from Mutt. It symbolically said that Mutt wasn’t picking up Indy’s mantle and that Indy was still around. Nice.

  • I liked that the his son was called Mutt. Given that Indiana chose his name because of their dog, Mutt was a funny choice and seemed to fit with the 1950’s era. I’m sure some people thought it was a silly homage to how Indiana chose his name, but I liked it (especially because they didn’t actually come out and remind us during the film).


Things I struggled with…

  • I’m all about Indiana action being over the top. However, even I had a hard time overlooking some of the ridiculous stunts, such as the atomic refrigerator & Mutt on the vines. Additionally, as it did with Ravenface, the bad stunt stand-ins during the motorcycle chase really took me out of the film.

  • I could have done without the majority of the sci-fi stuff. I think they could have still done a Crystal Skull plot (but more based upon the Mitchell-Hedges skull and myth), included Area 51, but only hinted at and left the audience wondering about the alien stuff.

General missives…

  • I thought I’d heard during pre-production that John Hurt was playing Abner Ravenwood. I wonder what happened there.
  • Why did the aliens need to be from another dimension? Was outer space just to simple of a concept? Given the homage to the 1950’s alien invasion movies, I would have thought simply making them from outer space would have made more sense.
  • In regard to the sci-fi elements, I understand where the filmmakers were coming from. I think their hearts were in the right place and they were in a Catch-22 situation. If they simply made another archeological adventure movie, fans would have griped that there was nothing new and they failed to live up to the old films. By going in a different direction, they risked alienating fans with the psychic/dimensional subplot. Either way, the fan base was going to doom the movie. So I think trying something different was probably the best approach (even though I personally didn’t like some of the elements).

Again, overall I enjoyed the movie. I may not have agreed with some elements, but overall it was a fun adventure romp with a hero from my childhood.  I probably won’t see it in the theater again, but I’m sure I’ll buy the DVD.


The Irredeemable Shag


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