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Worth A Look: 28.57%
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9 reviews, 107 user ratings

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Put a dime in the Indy jukebox and enjoy your favorite tunes."
5 stars

Of all the emotions fighting for dominance as the end credits rolled on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" — satisfaction, joy, even a pang of bittersweet sadness — the one that won out, for me, was relief.

They’d done it — “they,” of course, being Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford. They had brought Indy back to us, our Indy, and they hadn’t screwed it up. Better still, they’d involved him in a cracking good tale very much in the tradition of the previous three adventures. Underneath it all is the hunger of all three to prove they can still pack a punch, draw back a curtain and make you gasp or laugh or both at once. Even as a die-hard Indy fan, I was nervously prepared for this outing to be lame and redundant. But I don’t quite understand the naysayers on this one: Crystal Skull delivers.

A bit saggier in the jowls but no less inquisitive, tenacious, or witheringly sarcastic in the face of big evil lugs, Ford’s Indy is still teaching and still running afoul of people who want ancient doo-dads. It’s 1957, when the Russians were the big bads, and they seem to think psychic powers will help them rule the world. One of their number, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, camping and vamping deliciously), wants Indy to lead her and her minions to a crystal skull hidden amid the leaves, mummies and vicious ants of Peru. Along the way, Indy casts off a duplicitous partner (Ray Winstone), picks up a greaser sidekick named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf, who acquits himself with humor and grace despite the sneering of many fanboys), finds old colleague Harold Oxley (John Hurt), who appears to have been addled by his exposure to the skull, and reunites with his great lost love Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).

Part of what makes Crystal Skull work for a part of the audience is the weight of nostalgia, the long gap between it and the last film (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, from 1989) — on some level it’s a farewell-tour package where the members of the band put on one last spectacular arena show. At least I hope it’s a farewell — any more after this would probably be pushing it. How’s the action? Spielberg stages it with a seemingly long-forgotten instinct for the mechanics of momentum and release. Other than an expendable bit involving Mutt and some monkeys (I smell Lucas all over that one), the sequences — clipped together by Michael Kahn with his usual unearthly mix of smooth and sharp — join suspense and comedy in just the right old way. And seeing Indy delve once again into some godforsaken cobwebby place where less cautious others have perished and rotted just made me illogically blissful.

It occurs to me that Ford is often only as good as the co-stars who can bring out his snark and his vulnerability in equal measure. In recent years it’s mainly just been him up there, straining to keep some thinly written thriller or drama afloat. Here he works opposite the disdain of youth (LaBeouf), the hauteur of evil (Blanchett), the babbling of a cracked mystic (Hurt), and the fury of a woman scorned (Allen), though this last gentles into the familiar spiky rhythm of “Jones, you bastard, I love you! Now save us, you idiot!” The more detached reviewers can tell you exactly why David Koepp’s script is so blatantly contrived as to reteam Indy and Marion, but some of us have been waiting twenty-seven years to see these two together again, and if they had launched into a Bollywood song and dance it would not have blemished my gratitude one iota.

The movie plays and sounds like a vintage Indy film, though it looks subtly different, sometimes not so subtly. Douglas Slocombe, who shot the previous entries, was a sorcerer conjuring deep shades of tan and red and blue. The images popped. Here, Spielberg replaces the long-retired Slocombe with his cinematographer since Schindler’s List, Janusz Kaminski, whose palette is a bit more washed-out. But I grew to accept this: Indy is grayer, we all are, and so is the film, which seems to truly launch — after a slam-bang opening capped with Indy silhouetted against a mushroom cloud, an image so ballsy-iconic I loved it as much as many will loathe it — with a saddening moment when Indy takes stock of the people he’s lost. So when Indy maneuvers around the long-dead in their crypts this time, he may see more in them now than he’s comfortable with. Crystal Skull tips its fedora warily to the march of time — I can’t adequately express how jarring it is to hear rock ‘n’ roll in an Indy film, as it’s meant to be. But that doesn’t mean we’re not still transported and rejuvenated by the journey.

By the last scene, with Harrison Ford looking goofily happy in his bow tie, some of us can’t help grinning right along with him. That’s entertainment.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17211&reviewer=416
originally posted: 05/22/08 23:50:38
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User Comments

1/29/19 brian Better than I was expecting, but not up to I & III. 4 stars
9/12/17 morris campbell a good entry in the series forget the haters 4 stars
9/03/16 TonyK Very good. Absurd, OTT, swashbuckling fun with some great camera work and homages. 4 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales Should have stuck to 3. Ford is just to old to take serious. He should put his feet up. 3 stars
3/13/16 Charles Tatum Yikes, this should have been MUCH better. 3 stars
3/24/15 Joey B A great homage to 50's Sci-fi and Cold War B - movies, with stunning visuals. 5 stars
11/09/14 Lisa C Not as good as Raiders or Crusade but much better than the Temple of Crap. 4 stars
12/10/12 Lisa A great movie, so incredibly underrated. 5 stars
9/05/12 Samuel This film basically sucked bad. 1 stars
11/27/11 The Big D More about Indy and his family than any kind of adventure; the series is winding down. 3 stars
5/01/11 Silkworm Indiana Jones and the crock of shit ! 1 stars
2/15/11 Reality Of Films Hey, come on! It's still fun! 5 stars
12/10/10 R.W. Welch Effort to recapture the old magic doesn't quite work but has some moments. C+ 3 stars
6/10/10 Flathead King This film was not worth the wait. 1 stars
3/05/10 Ionicera after 20 years this is the best they could do? 2 stars
1/29/10 Jack The best in the series! 5 stars
1/07/10 Reality Of Films This film is good, and full of action and humor. Don't listen to anyone who says it's bad. 5 stars
7/23/09 alice Really ridiculous and unrealistic, but entertaining nonetheless. 3 stars
5/13/09 Colin M So unfortunate that they ruined a franchise in the effort to make a (lot of) buck(s). 1 stars
3/29/09 Adventure author It's wonderful to see Indy again, win loose or draw. 3 stars
3/15/09 Sam unrealistic.. not that entertaining .. 2 stars
2/28/09 Piz The Mummy starring Harrison Ford instead of Brendan Fraser 2 stars
1/16/09 Aesop Working title: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of WTF?!? 1 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. this isn't going to be as easy as it use to be! :P 4 stars
12/30/08 Justin Makes you wish Indy had drank out of the wrong cup at the end of the Last Crusade. 1 stars
12/26/08 Grace Boring. I swear they recycled most of the dialogue from the older Indiana Jones films. 3 stars
12/19/08 orpy sucks!!! 1 stars
12/05/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
11/29/08 Johnnyfaye B movie extravaganza 4 stars
11/09/08 blah blah leave your brain at the door and you will have a good time 4 stars
11/02/08 your worst goddamn nightmare Y'know, it was good; a bit rusty, after all these years, but it was entertaining! 4 stars
10/31/08 Moop Has it's moments and interesting quasi-historical aspects, but felt too clunky 3 stars
10/18/08 Johnnyfaye Hahaha I love it...welcome back Jones! 5 stars
10/17/08 AshleyRockO Great, Fun movie. Indy still has it after all these years. 5 stars
10/15/08 The Anti-Douche In this order: 1, 4, 2 and 3. Last Crusade was lacklustre. 4 stars
10/11/08 Unicorn on the cob Could've done without return of (un-)Karen Allen, and ending is just too over the top. 3 stars
9/16/08 Oiman Not quite as good as Raiders, but I actually thought the aliens were cool! 4 stars
8/29/08 Keithers It's a good movie, people are bashing it cause they want they child hood mvie... 4 stars
8/05/08 E K Zimmerman Pure Kentucky Fried Crap. I wept! 1 stars
7/29/08 the dork knight Doesn't even seem like an Indy movie.... 3 stars
7/22/08 David I expected better from Indy. 3 stars
7/18/08 Susan Lee was expecting much better from spielberg and the cast.. the aliens were cheesy, predictable 3 stars
7/15/08 zenny embarassing for all involved. greatly disappointing. 1 stars
7/14/08 Karen Loved this movie! 5 stars
7/09/08 Bill OReely very entertaining fantasy 4 stars
7/05/08 Samantha Pruitt entertaining, yet REALLY far-fetched, doesn't really fit in wth the other IJ movies. 4 stars
6/23/08 Indrid Cold The worst of the series, but still great. Make another one before Ford gets too old! 4 stars
6/22/08 mr.mike I just wasn't that into it. 3 stars
6/21/08 AnnieG Not as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped. Rates 3rd in the series. 3 stars
6/16/08 Kirk You are a serious tard. 1 stars
6/13/08 Johnnyfaye People say it's flawed but...Raiders was totally flawed...the bad stuff are what make indy. 4 stars
6/10/08 TommyV Flawed, at times ridiculous- but still totally indiana jones 4 stars
6/09/08 Indy fanatic If you don't like this....than you forgotten why you liked indy so many years ago. 4 stars
6/06/08 Ry expecting little... got even less. 1 stars
6/05/08 Ming K I want more....Great actions ...love the reunion with karen allen.... 5 stars
6/04/08 Jayson Bored down to my crystal skull. 2 stars
6/04/08 katmagick This flick was way overdue! Keep 'em coming. 5 stars
6/03/08 Dana The best Indiana Jones I have seen 5 stars
5/31/08 Quigley A worthy predecessor to one of cinema's greatest franchises 5 stars
5/31/08 gerry It was truly great. Not as good as Raiders, but fits nicely alongside the other two. 5 stars
5/30/08 Illusion Loved it. If you didn't, u must be old (LOL) 5 stars
5/30/08 BrizzyMo WELL worth the wait-any1 that disagrees misses the entire point of the franchise. Die. 5 stars
5/29/08 Indy fanatic If you didn't like it you probably over hyped yourselves. Indy is a B movie series remember 4 stars
5/28/08 luke Fukk all the one stars 5 stars
5/27/08 d halberg frickin aliens!!!!! 2 stars
5/27/08 David Horrible movie... 1 stars
5/27/08 NoRefill Not a bad movie, but not an Indian Jones movie. 3 stars
5/27/08 KingNeutron Too many unbelievable sequences - Shia is NOT the way to carry on the franchise 3 stars
5/27/08 Rick One of the worst movies in a while. Indiana Jones meets E.T. on the set of the Ruins 1 stars
5/27/08 Doubler Could'nt wait for it to end, bring, dull, plain ol' crap! 1 stars
5/27/08 J Webster Good...not as good as Raiders but an enjoyable ride and better than The Mummy films.. 4 stars
5/27/08 g awesome 5 stars
5/26/08 I-K Too cartoonish in places, unoriginal ending... might've called it "The mummy returns again" 2 stars
5/26/08 johhnyfog George Lucas and his cute critters stike again!! 3 stars
5/26/08 C Vega good to see indy back...ending was crap tho (ET LOL)...worst of the lot but still good tho 4 stars
5/26/08 Tim Eimiller I had a total blast watching this movie. Loved every ridiculous minute of it. 5 stars
5/26/08 david horribe, if you like this, you must be drunk 1 stars
5/26/08 Will Not Bad. What the hell was up with the monkey sequence? 3 stars
5/25/08 Lord Jiggy Never hit its stride...just off in pacing, humor, and minimal coherence. Even Ford was off 3 stars
5/25/08 Darkstar Um... it was good. Not great. Better than 2, not as good as 1 & 3. 4 stars
5/25/08 AJ Muller Not better than Raiders, but nothing (not even the other 2) is. Great, asskicking fun. 5 stars
5/25/08 George Barksdale Good action, kid did good job, but hate movies with alien implications 4 stars
5/25/08 Koitus Ugh... On par with the 2nd one in the series. I'd recommend waiting to rent it, even. 2 stars
5/25/08 debdahlin Alot of action - but something was missing 4 stars
5/24/08 bob jones this is what lucas and spielberg compromised on? 3 stars
5/24/08 powerloader Utter rubbish. 1 stars
5/24/08 Jim Nowhere near as good as the original three movies. 2 stars
5/24/08 Jeb Springfield This movie was awful. This was like Jar Jar Binks and the Crystal Skull 2 stars
5/23/08 Nick Absolute CRAP 1 stars
5/23/08 Hank Enjoyed it immensely, it despite its flaws 4 stars
5/23/08 Aimee I don't think we saw the same movie. Lucas and Spielberg totally screwed up. 2 stars
5/23/08 lemosley01 I feel as just like I did after Matrix 3 or Episode 2 - abused 2 stars
5/23/08 Brian F What a great time it was seeing this movie. They don't look that old 5 stars
5/23/08 CC Classic status of originals aside, this film is at par with the others. 2nd best in series. 4 stars
5/23/08 JoeJoe Gonsalves - You're in serious denial, if you believe what you wrote here. The movie sucked 2 stars
5/23/08 jackson Indiana Jones... and aliens 1 stars
5/23/08 bullit16 Should have been called "Indiana Jones and the Phantom Mencace." 3 stars
5/23/08 Indy Fan Slower paced than the previous 3, I think Harrison overplayed his age. Still, I enjoyed it! 4 stars
5/23/08 Will Wanted to love it.......but it was just half ass trash 1 stars
5/23/08 Joel The tarzan scene...........what the f..... 1 stars
5/23/08 Eric's Soul Come back Eric, come back. The movie is complete and total crap. 1 stars
5/23/08 dieter It's Indy, with a few "wmah" moments 4 stars
5/23/08 Melindissa I love Indy and the girl, but these CG stunts sucked. spoilt illusion 4 stars
5/23/08 Jackk Silly story, forced acting, poor CGI effects. 1 stars
5/22/08 ahnold Horrible. And I can't say more than that. 1 stars
5/21/08 fhdh cool 5 stars
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  22-May-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2008


  DVD: 14-Oct-2008

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