It’s time for another fannish sci-fi movie review. We went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull . It was part of my birthday celebration. We arrived in time for the late show on Saturday night. This was a deliberate move on our part, to have a better choice of seats. I am 6 feet tall with big hair (naturally big hair, no matter what I do…like Monica hair. No, not that Monica, sheesh, the Friends’ Monica). I mean, really, like um all seats are bad for me in the megaplex movie theaters, ya know? But some are worse than others. We obtained good seats…near the middle, in front of the low balcony-ish rail, meaning I could stretch my long legs out a bit. No one behind me suffered. No one in front of me, either. My husband is long suffering, but that’s another story for another time.
So there we were. It’s possible that we weren’t disappointed because we had few expectations. I was one of the naysayers who thought it was perhaps a tad late to have Harrison Ford reprise his role as Indiana Jones. I even wrote a snarky filk song about it. I was wrong (but I won’t stop singing the filk cuz it’s funny). Let’s be real, folks. Indiana Jones flicks are like the quintessential pulp fiction genre books brought to the screen. Spare me your disappointments because Indy was your hero when you were a kid, and now you’re a grown up, and the magic is not as magical, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Spare me the reality that Harrison Ford is not a spring chicken, and wasn’t even one during the the golden old days of Indiana Jones. I thought Ford played the role both appropriately and with surly humor. Perhaps the juxtaposition of the DVD promotions and the flicks being shown on TV created a disconnect for some of you. Get over it!
It didn’t (nor was it supposed to) take a rocket scientist to figure out that Mutt would be revealed as Indy’s love child with the prodigal Marion Ravenwood. The interplay between Indy and Mutt was sardonic and amusing. The rekindled romance between Indy and Marion was kitschy, sappy, and fun. “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” Yes, (gasp), it’s true. We had a crankier, older Indiana Jones on the screen. Get over it!
“I Have a Bad Feeling About This”
The above line should require no explanation for the true fan. That’s all I’m saying about it.
One of my favorite moments was “the dry quicksand scene.” As they are sinking, Indy is holding forth about the difference between wet and dry quicksand. Mutt brings a huge snake back to rescue Mom and Indy from said dry quicksand. Mom grabs hold of the snake quickly and is pulled to safety. Indy’s snake phobia, as explained in The Last Crusade, nearly won out. But hey, He Got Over It long enough to move on.
Other Favorite Things:
Cate Blanchett: Putting her own spin on Rosa Klebb, in From Russia With Love, with more than a dash of Natasha Fatale from Bullwinkle, she plays Agent Irina Spalko. Blanchett is apparently suing her dialog coach
for teaching her to speak like a caricature. Pssst! Cate, come here. If you hadn’t filed a lawsuit, everyone would have thought you did your performance that way on purpose…as part of the campy atmosphere of Indiana Jones! You were funny! This is not “Elizabeth.”
Another scene I loved was when Marion (Karen Allen) advised Mutt, during a chase and fight scene, “Riposte!” Her facial expressions were priceless throughout the film, much like her lovely knitting creations.
Note: Mutt’s self-chosen name in the film is less interesting than the actor’s name, which apparently translates to “Praise God” (Shia, pronounce Shyuh) [for] “Beef” (LaBoef)
Too much CGI? I’m not sure, but the last time I checked, the actual destruction of ancient ruins to make a film is forbidden (though damage often occurs, but I digress). The ants were computer generated? I don’t care. I had my eyes closed. Every Indiana Jones movie has a gross, violent, death to bad guy scene in it. I can’t compare this one to the others, because I had my eyes closed then, too!
After the de rigueur preliminaries, there was non-stop action. The plot was not heavy, thank ye gods. What a disappointment that would have been! Yet, the myth of the Crystal Skulls was credibly fictionally interpreted…yes there really are bizarre crystal skulls with a myth. The fact that this myth is more obscure than either The Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail shouldn’t lessen the moviegoer’s pleasure. It’s not like you can’t look it up online if you haven’t heard of it, or if you missed the Sci-Fi channel’s nearly laughable regurgitation of it. You don’t even have to go to a library (I know, I know, what’s a library?).
My single whine is that there wasn’t as much of the trademark bullwhip cracking as in days of yore. Maybe Harrison Ford has arthritis in his shoulder. It’s a small gripe, and one I only thought of post-movie viewing. But then, I was not among the myriad boys-to-men who went to see the current film and their boyhood idol, Indiana Jones, with their adult brains full of mortgages and gas prices. You wanted Indiana Jones to take you back to the proverbial bygone era of your childhood, but you forgot to check your disbelief (and your Blackberry) at the door. Yes, I am going to say it again. Get over it!
I have read complaints about: aliens, unlikely scenarios, weird natives, spaceships, and obscure references. Think about this. You take a combination of George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg and get aforementioned aliens, unlikely scenarios, spaceships, and obscure references…and you were surprised? What’s wrong with you people?
There’s a comprehensive goofs page at IMDB. How can anyone with any sort of intellectual capacity still like Indy IV after they have read all the “goofs”? I dunno. Oh wait, perhaps it’s because Indiana Jones movies are fiction and not documentaries!
If you want to go see your own personal schizophrenic ideal of the perfect Indiana Jones flick (whatever that is) because the voices in your head have been telling you for years what it should be, then don’t go see this film. If on the other hand, you are ready to suspend your disbelief and have a good time with a rollicking story, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an excellent way to do it.
Shiny1 is sometimes known as Patricia deVarennes