Erm...okay - Lee - Nyuszi

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

If anyone wants to dicuss the film or ask specific questions, please do in comments. I'm keeping initial thoughts non-spoilery for those debating to go or not to go?



To sum it up, it was...OK. We all know Lucas destroyed the Star Wars franchise with the prequels, well this succeeds in NOT doing that. Ultimately, I decided my problem was is they had twenty years to work on this and it should have been awesome and leave me wanting more and, instead, I left the theatre thinking the film was just OK. And that it should have been much more fun.

One of the things the original films did was reimagine and reinvigorate the movie serials of the 30's, putting new and spectacular twists on them. Now, we have a film that is borrowing, liberally, from the creations of the past twenty years. Elements of the The X-Files, Stargate, heck, even Meerkat Manor are utilized here. And I was left wondering if the use of rear-projection was a homage or a method of cost cutting? The talents of Jim Broadbent, Cate Blanchett, and John Hurt completely wasted. Even Karen Allen got the shaft. One revelation in the film (which I think we all know about) was handled oddly. And even by Lucas and Spielberg's standards, there was a stunt that left me going, "Oh, come on!"

What did I like? Harrison was still Indy and he had a really nice chemistry with Shia LaBeouf. The scenes just between the two of them were some of my favorite. I also appreciated the way they handled the absence of a couple of characters from the series. And there were some enjoyable action sequences and references to Indy's previous adventures - one cool 'Raiders' shout out in particular.

Overall, I'd say don't go in with high expectations (I didn't) and you'll probably find it...OK. But if you only see one movie in release right now, go see Iron Man. ;)
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We're going to see it tomorrow night. Most of the positive reviews I've read sited the things you liked best. I was most concerned about Harrison still being Indy, and you answered that concern :) I'm not going in with great expectations - I felt the longer they waited the more problematic things could be. As long as Indy is still Indy, and there are some good character moments, my lowered expectations have been met ;)

I still need to see Iron Man, and I'm intrigued about the X-Files movie coming out.
I'll be curious to read your opinion. I saw some of the top critics pick out the same problems I did - including borrowing from Stargate!
I enjoyed it, very much in fact. I think my advantage is that I have very limited knowledge of The X-Files and Stargate, so it didn't feel like a rehash to me - but Cindy and I did make the Meercat Manor connection ;) I liked the first half the best. I think Harrison and Shia had very good chemisty, and I loved seeing Karen Allen again, although I wish she had more to do. Having the focus on Ox was to their detriment. I would have liked a tighter focus on them and their story. Since the movie takes place in 1957, I think they fell back on the Russians as the villians, and it just doesn't have the relevance and depth that having the Nazis as villians did, especially since a generation of kids have grown up since the fall of communism. But hey, it takes place in South America - how about having all the transplanted Nazis there trying to get the skulls to set up another Third Reich? ;)

What I loved best were the references to the past movies and past characters. And, Indy was Indy, regardless of the extra years on him :) To me, the actors make up for what may be lacking in the plot. I loved the sword fight too, that was very well done. I like the great stunts better than the special effects - that's what I felt separated these films from other blockbusters. They'll never feel as new or as fresh as when I first saw Raiders, but nothing ever will. That was the best time I ever had at a movie.

I heard Steven Speilberg say he was making this movie for the fans more than himself; makes me wonder if he still has the childlike sense of wonder he once had before he made films such as Shindler's List and Munich. If not, I hope he stops making Indy sequels, because if he doesn't feel it, the audience won't either.

Whew, when have I been this long-winded?

But hey, it takes place in South America - how about having all the transplanted Nazis there trying to get the skulls to set up another Third Reich?

That is a great idea! And it would have had much more relevance for the audience since they were the villains in two of three previous films. The Russians = evil idea just will not work in this day in age. We know now that our fear of them was, at least in part, unjustified and they are our ally now. The Cold War is a distant memory for most people and even those that recall it won't equate these cartoony villains with it.

I do think Spielberg is passed this part of his career and it showed.
Thanks for posting this up - I think on the basis of what you've said here, rather than paying £7 to go and see it, I'll wait six weeks until I can rent it on video for £2.50. I love the Indy films (even ToD) and it sounds as if this is an amiable watch, but not the kind of consistently fun experience I expect from Indy. My big fear is that Lucas would make this another Revenge of the Sith, but at least it sounds as if he's managed to avoid that.

Are you going to see the new Hulk movie, by any chance? Only I'd love to hear your thoughts on it...
Thanks to Spielberg and Ford, it's no SW prequel. No one says, "Yipee!" ;) But I couldn't argue with you waiting to see it, because it does lack the fun and spectacle and awe of the first three. Well, two, one could debate the merits of 'Temple of Doom'.

I'm still on the fence on the 'Hulk' movie. I got burned by the last one, but this one has Edward Norton who I love. Maybe I'll read a few reviews and see if the good outweighs the bad. Ed will likely win out. ;)
I had basically the same reaction. I kept my expectations low, so I wasn't disappointed at all, and enjoyed it for the most part. I thought it dragged a bit in a few places, but I liked Indy and Mutt and Marion and most of the action in the jungle was lots of fun. (Note to self: Avoid ants.)
My favorite bit in the jungle was the sword fight, but I'm a sucker for a good sword fight. ;) The monkeys were pushing it, especially with Mutt playing Tarzan for them.
Hee! I'm so intrigued by the thought of Meerkat Manor based scenes.

I agreed to go and see this with a friend who is in the thick of exams for a few weeks yet, so I'm going to have to hold on a wee while yet. In the mean time, I'm infesting it with meerkats in my head. :)
They weren't actually meerkat's, but they were close enough. ;) I thought it was just me who thought of them, but, after the film, I was talking to my friend and we were both listing the sources the film had borrowed from and I, hesitantly, mentioned Meerkat Manor and she immediately said, "I thought of that too!" So, apparently, I am not crazy. :)
Hmmm, I've been afraid this one wouldn't live up to The Last Crusade, my favorite Indy movie. In particular I worried how Harrison and Shia LaBeouf's father-and-son would work out comparing to Connery-Harrison's.

Your assessment answers my concerns. :)

Now, I wish I know your spoilery thoughts. ;)
If you really want my spoilery thoughts I can share. ;)

And there were several references to the Henry/Indy relationship which were quite nice.
I'll focus on the two big WTFs for me. ;)

There is a long set up that I'll skip, but Indy ends up in a fake suburb that is about to be ground zero for a nuclear test. How does he survive this? By hopping in a lead lined refrigerator. A refrigerator that just happens to be thrown miles from the bomb site after the bomb hits. And even though, after getting out of the fridge, he still has a clear view of the mushroom cloud, he, apparently, suffers no short or long term affects from the radiation.

In the worst kept secret of the summer movie season, Shia's character, Mutt is Indy's son (Get it? Like his dad, he's named after a dog! Subtle. :p). Marian drops this bombshell on Indy as they are both sinking in a sand pit. I expected Indy to be upset, hurt, pissed, something, because she's lied to him for twenty years, but, no, he just accepts it. Even goes so far as immediately calling him son and acting all coupley with her for the rest of the film.
Indy ends up in a fake suburb that is about to be ground zero for a nuclear test. How does he survive this? By hopping in a lead lined refrigerator.

::laughing really hard:: FRAK ME!

In the worst kept secret of the summer movie season, Shia's character, Mutt is Indy's son (Get it? Like his dad, he's named after a dog! Subtle. :p).

Yeah, I knew this from the get-go (not the name though). I didn't realize they were trying to keep it a secret.

I expected Indy to be upset, hurt, pissed, something, because she's lied to him for twenty years, but, no, he just accepts it. Even goes so far as immediately calling him son and acting all coupley with her for the rest of the film.

::sigh:: I guess action movies have no time for realistic character development. I shall go see the show expecting only a jolly good ride then...
I basically agree with you, and so does Kev. Except when you amplify "just okay," (because he is a HUGE Indy fan and was more worried about this than the SW Prequels), you get a rather cranky, "Meh, I guess it didn't wreck it but *crank*".

I at least enjoyed it for the popcorn factor and totally agree that Indy was Indy and Mutt was a much better character than I was expecting and I greatly enjoyed Mutt and Indy's interactions.

But generally, I felt that they lost it in the second half. The first half I thought was pretty solid with some great historical background, strong characters, generally good action. But somewhere around the Monkeys Bit, it turned from and Indy film into Pirates of the Carribbean in terms of its historical fantasy and crazy action. Now, I'm a huge Pirates fan, and so I can see that a lot of people might enjoy this. But in this film it was...a little fourth-wall breaking. They showed me a little too much, made it a little too over the top, and certainly the endgame was...well...

There's a reason why the bits at the end where Nazis melt because of the power of things men aren't meant to know ZOMG are brief? Why the grail is a simple goblet, and why we never see inside the Ark?
I'd like to hear about Cranky Kev's thoughts. ;)

I really wish Mutt's name wasn't Mutt because, Dude, anvilicious much? And who would nickname themselves Mutt???

I agree with your feeling that they lost it in the second half. I was enjoying the relationship building between Indy and Mutt in the first half as well as all the nods to the previous films. And I was looking forward to the reunion with Marion for numerous reasons. But once they got their hands on the crystal skull and met up with Ox and the adventure began in earnest...meh. It was convoluted even by Indiana Jones standards. And, again, you are correct, the action was going into PotC territory - there was nothing fresh about it.

I think they forgot what made the first films such winners - less is more. What's the one scene everyone remembers from the films? Indy taking out his gun and shooting the sword wielding thug, cutting a short what would have been a predictable fight sequence.
I quite enjoyed it, although I agree that after so many years they could have come up with something better. Too much over the top stuff at the end. Cate Blanchett wasted, I thought her character was way too plastic and comic book like. Evil russians? That is sooo yawn. And the story used to have more quality. The action was great though, perfect Spielberg. And yes, Harrison Ford was still Indy :)

I don't get the hype about Shia LaBoef, who has the world's dumbest name and crotch hair on his head and zero charisma.
Evil russians? That is sooo yawn.

And we don't perceive the Russians as evil any longer. Nazis will always be evil, it's easy to hate them, but the Russians are, essentially, allies and I couldn't be convinced to hate these people simply because they were Russians and Communists. Whatever.

I'm clueless as to the appeal of Shia too. He's not hot, he's not charismatic, and while I feel he is an OK actor, he's yet to blow me away.
This is the general consensus in regards to the movie that I've read so far and just like with the XF movie, I'll be going because I'm a fan, but my expectations are just at a simmer. Which I think is always better, in the end. I'll hopefully be able to see it by next week and I'll be able to make my own review.

But if you only see one movie in release right now, go see Iron Man. ;)

Haha, indeed. I really want to see this again, but I just cannot justify the cost now.
Thanks I'm currently debating about seeing this with a group and you've echoed what I've heard.

Also this means that unless you want to see aan ok movie again, I don't have to call ya to see if you want to join us.

If you do call me.
Went to see this Friday, but prior to, read very little about the movie or any reviews. I enjoyed it very much. Do I think they could and should have focused more on Indy, Marion and Mutt? You bet. They put a little too much emphasis on Oxley. But somewhere along the way my general expectations for a lot of things has lowered. While I'm a huge Indy fan (except for Temple of Doom which you can't pay me to watch), the Indiana Jones movies have always been Sat. matinee adventure escapism movies. I love them. Harrison Ford was Indy as Indy would be that that age. That was the most important thing for me. While I don't think Shia LeBouf (sp?) is hot, I did think he was a pretty good actor and had great chemistry with HF. But, you can't beat the nazi's for evil villians which is the only issue I have with the movie. I liked LynnB's idea of escaped nazi's in South america trying to restart the Third Rheich. Now that would have been a great adventure.