It's hard to say much about INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL that hasn't already been said elsewhere, especially if one is trying to be fairly vague so as not to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it yet. We finally had the chance to catch up with it today.
We all found the movie good but not great. On the weak side, the endless stunts and special effects could have been substituted with a little bit more character interaction. The action sequences were just a touch too familiar; for instance, a jungle jeep chase reminded me of the speeder chase through the Endor jungle in RETURN OF THE JEDI, with orangutans substituted for Ewoks. I couldn't help wondering if each interesting landscape or sunset was real or CGI, which takes away a little bit of the magic. And after seeing a number of movies in this genre over the years, I would find it refreshing if the filmmakers chose not to fill the screen with a succession of skeletons and other creepy stuff.
On the positive side, what a pleasure to spend time with Professor Jones and Marion Ravenwood once more! I was always extremely disappointed that Marion disappeared from the series (granted, one film was a prequel to RAIDERS, but still...) and this rights that wrong in a satisfying way. There are many good bits of humor, and pleasantly familiar touches abound, from jokes about snakes to the portrait of Marcus (the late Denholm Elliott) outside Professor Jones's classroom to Indy borrowing one of Han Solo's favorite things to mutter when in peril. Harrison Ford is and always will be Indiana Jones, at any age.
Going into the film I was a skeptic about Shia LaBeouf, but he made a solid contribution to the film and its sense of fun.
The film runs 124 minutes; just five minutes being shaved off would have been an improvement, as I glanced at my watch about 2 hours in. The movie was, of course, directed by Steven Spielberg.
The most amusing job title in the end credits: "Confidentiality Coordinator."
A fun time at the movies if you're a fan of Indiana Jones.
Previously: Indy: The First Review?
Side note: I adore trailers, but having to sit through them at the movies these days is something akin to torture. What a succession of violent, gross drivel. The one trailer I saw today that looked promising was for AUSTRALIA, starring Nicole Kidman; I'd go see it just to see Hugh Jackman.