Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
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If you were a fan of the previous three "Indiana Jones" films, there is no reason to believe you won't be a fan of "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have done what they do best - entertain audiences. Spielberg has made it very clear that he only made this film for the fans. It wasn't for the money. It wasn't to see if he still had the ability to tackle this kind of project. Actually, those two reasons probably figured into it somewhere, but he primarily made the film for the fans. And why not? Spielberg has always had a very appreciative relationship with his fans. George Lucas, on the other hand, seems to sometimes go out of his way to give his fans exactly what they don't want. Watching "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", most of the film has the Spielberg touch to it, though you can occasionally see scenes absolutely influenced by George Lucas and his brand of storytelling. When the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this past weekend, it received a standing ovation upon its conclusion. This was probably more for Spielberg and his accomplishment, but it was targeted at the picture. Despite a couple of early negative reviews, the word since Cannes has been overwhelmingly positive. And I am thrilled to say you can toss my hat into that ring. I found "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" better than I ever imagined. It shows some of the greatest actors and some of the greatest technicians everything they can to make the audience smile. It shows that some legends will never die and that, as bad as the buzz might be, always trust Steven Spielberg.
The film opens with a beautiful road sequence which leads some military vehicles to Area 51, where two men are taken, beaten and bloody, from the trunk of one of the autos. One man Mac McHale (Ray Winstone). The other man is Henry Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford), i.e. Indiana Jones. They have been taken to Area 51 by a ruthless Russian (Cate Blanchett) and her underlings to find the location of a crate that Jones helped get to the location many years before. Turns out that the Ruskies are looking for two things: (01) a lost city in the middle of the Amazon; and (02) a crystal skull that will evidently given the Commies enough psychic power to take over the world. After Jones and Mac escape from Area 51, Indiana is thrown into a series of momentous sequences before winding up fired from his teaching position and hunted by the Russians once more. He meets a young man named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) who wants Indiana to help him rescue his old professor, Dr. Oxley (John Hurt), one of Indie's old friends. It is also soon discovered that Mutt is the son of Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), Indiana's old fling and near-wife. Did I mention that Indiana is Mutt's father? The rest of the film involves Indiana, Mutt, Marion and Oxley traveling through the jungle and evading Russians to make it to the lost city to discover the true power of the crystal skull. Along the way, they encounter everything from man eating ants to...well...extra-terrestrials. I won't reveal how the film ends, but let's just say it sets up for a fifth and final film.
When you're Steven Spielberg, it's pretty easy to assemble the best of the best for your production, in almost every area. The score from John Williams is one parts homage and one parts expansion, and the music is as soaring and as memorable as ever. The cinematography from Janusz Kaminski is at times absolutely incredible. Spielberg's relationship with Kaminski is evident in each and every film he directs, and this one is no exception. The two understand one another. What Steven Spielberg has done here is deliver a film that pays appreciative tribute to the first three films, but then takes this fourth film down a different road. This film is far more like an old serial than the previous three films and there is so much more of the fantastical here because I think that's what they had to do if they wanted to keep upping the ante and not disappoint fans. For me, I found this film to be more like "Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom" in terms of how big and committed it was to non-stop action. However, I found it to be more like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in terms of how it doesn't really slam you with this climactic cavalcade at the end. Sure, we get a lot of CGI effects, but we also get the classic Indiana Jones solution - 'run'. If I had one complaint with the film (and it was a small one), I didn't enjoy the sequence with Shia LaBeouf and the trees. I thought that took the film a little too far to the "King Kong" sector. I felt that could have been left out or another route devised to get him to the vehicles on the cliff. You are willing to accept a lot in one of these films, but something that 'out there' is difficult to swallow, even for a die hard fan.
And what a nice treat to see Harrison Ford back doing what he does best. It's been years since we've seen Ford look remotely interested in any role on screen. His eyes are lit up throughout this picture. And, though close to 20-years have past, he hasn't lost a damned thing as Indiana Jones. The comedic timing is still there. The rough and tumble delivery is still there. It was also nice to see Karen Allen back in action, and I love the way her character is introduced in this film, and I especially love Jones' reaction. Shia LaBeouf does a fine job as Mutt Williams and is a nice match to Harrison Ford, and I thought Ray Winstone added a lot of comic relief. Cate Blanchett is just plain nasty as the villainess of the piece, and though she's over-the-top, I think that is exactly what she needed to be for what Spielberg wanted with this picture. And, just because we don't have Sean Connery and Denholm Elliot in the picture, we do get some nice nostalgic remembrances of them, which I thought was less cheesy and more for the fans satisfaction. But, please let me stress that there is far more action in the film than there is acting or dialog; but, that is the case with the other three films as well. This screenplay was written by David Koepp, with Jeff Nathanson and George Lucas adding some tidbits here and there. The script gives each character some really nice scenes and moments, but it's written to give Indiana Jones the last laugh in every scenario.
I love this motion picture. "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" exceeded all of my expectations and just plain entertained the hell out of it. The more and more I think of what Steven Spielberg did - direct such a strong picture with so much pressure and expectation - it only firms my belief that he is the greatest director ever. He is just firing on all cylinders here. I think what makes Spielberg such a phenomenal filmmaker is that he can direct his passion projects like a "Munich" or a "Schindler's List" and then still deliver fan projects like "The Lost World" or "War of the Worlds". He has found the balance between Cecil B. DeMille and John Ford, if you will. Some fans will probably be disappointed with the film because that is how people get when a film has this much anticipation and buzz about it. As a massive fan of the "Indiana Jones" franchise and as someone who has Steven Spielberg as his favorite director, I think "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite films of the year. I think it is going to be massive at the box office this weekend and I think it's going to start a trend of bringing back even more of these icons from the 1980's. As someone who loved the 1980's, I think that is going to be a wonderful thing. Go see this picture. Spielberg made it for you.
- added 05/22/2008, 10:11 PM
I'm glad to see someone else who has my thoughts,
I went to the midnight screening, and being the
only Indiana Jones movie I've gotten to see in
theaters, I was extremely happy I got to see it.
- added 05/22/2008, 11:18 PM
Well I certainly don't think it's going to start
a trend to bring back the 80's icons and Rocky
Balboa already accomplished that 2 years ago. We
had Rocky, Die Hard, Rambo, and now this. What is
- added 05/23/2008, 12:12 AM
Apparently Beverly Hills Cop is right around the
- added 05/23/2008, 01:23 AM
Pffft. Icon my ass.
grain of sand
- added 05/23/2008, 01:46 AM
I honestly find more joy in Beverly Hills Cop
than in Star Wars and Rocky.. So i would love to
see Eddie Murphy come back.. But that's a forum
- added 05/23/2008, 02:03 AM
the movie was enjoyable but the plot was a little
much. a portal to another dimension and all that
is kinda dumb.
its should have been titled
"Indiana Jones and Close Encounters of a
grain of sand
- added 05/23/2008, 02:10 AM
Oh thanks Murderwolf, now none of us even need to
see the movie :|
- added 05/23/2008, 02:24 AM
Indy dies at the end.
- added 05/23/2008, 02:29 AM
Actually, he'd been dead the whole time, through
all four movies.
- added 05/25/2008, 12:59 PM
are you actually retarded? you even applaud
"the lost world" in this review... i
think that movie is unanimously written off as
bullshit, just like this one will be very shortly,
at least by thinking people, of which there are
apparently very few. a 10/10? REALLY? how can you
be a diehard fan of the first three movies and
actually swallow this as a legitimate entry in the
series? the shitty mummy movies are better than
this. at best, the screenplay is like a shitty
fanfic some dickhead wrote in his dorm room.
apparently you've written similar slashfics, so
i'm assuming that's why you enjoyed this. saying
this compares in ANY way to even The Last Crusade
is like saying Live Free Or Die Hard is just as
good as Die Hard With A Vengeance. to say nothing
of the fact that the very EXISTENCE of the movie
is meaningless - especially when the movie only
serves to neuter and defang one of the most iconic
character in cinematic history. i'm not even that
big a fan of the series and i'm still insulted by
this movie. this doesn't even compare with the
movies that ripped off indiana jones in the first
place, i.e national treasure and all that awful
tripe. i don't know how you consider yourself a
fan of movies if you appreciate and acclaim
absolute drivel like this. you can go fuck
yourself once again. bye.
- added 05/25/2008, 02:27 PM
I actually almost completely agree with Vash.
Wish you could have worded it better, though.
I think the only thing that truly sealed this
movie as "Crap" to me is the fact that,
when I left the movie, I asked myself: If theis
wasn't an Indiana Jones movie would ANYONE have
I merely ask you, fellow cinema
fans, to do the same.
The story was
terrible, the acting was terrible, the plot was
terrible, the jokes were terrible, the dialouge
was terrible... I think the only thing I liked
about this entire movie was Shia's acting... but I
even hated his charecter!
Why, Steven? You
and I both loved this series...why did you do
3.3/10 and THAT is being fucking
- added 05/25/2008, 02:33 PM
Hey now, I liked the Mummy movies
- added 05/25/2008, 07:26 PM
i dont usually waste time picking my words
carefully when commenting on everyone's favourite
reviewer, but i do agree with you totally. shia
elevated every scene he was in by being the only
person in the movie - aside from blanchett and
winstone - who seemed to give a shit that he was
even there. he did amazingly well with what little
he had to work with, and yeah, his character was
lame to start off. the guy is great. too bad the
- added 05/25/2008, 11:45 PM
You have no sense of nostalgia and no sense of
scope when it comes to film. I can say this from
reading previous comments on other films and not
feel bad about doing so. You missed the point of
the entire film. I think you've missed the point
of the magic in filmmaking in general. You
pretend to be a movie fan, yet you consistently
bitch about the things that make movies so
You obviously know nothing about what makes
acting, directing or writing good. Especially in
a film like this. You are obviously totally
unfamiliar with the old serials on which this
entire franchise was based, and on which this film
derives most of its energy. For a fan of the
first three films to find this film terrible, to
me, is just impossible. It means you are
obviously just a poser when it comes to the other
And I have no desire to
further this debate. Feel free to respond with
your little smart-ass, holier than thou retort and
that will be that. You have no business
commenting with such bile when it comes from
nowhere logical. Enjoy your sub-par bullshit that
you tend to find so refreshing and REAL filmmakers
like Steven Spielberg will continue keeping as
much of the magic in the movie going experience as
Thank God you tend to be in
the minority. If you were the majority, what a
sad cinematic state we'd be in.
- added 05/25/2008, 11:49 PM
And, since all of your comments on my reviews
involve the words 'idiot' or 'retarded', I figured
I would dumb down my response: "What a
dumbfuck you are."
- added 05/26/2008, 12:24 AM
Geez... after reading this strand, I'm now DYING
to see this film as soon as possible to weigh
I must admit I'm not a big fan of
Mr. Spielberg and his recent "retro-fitting
habit"... nor was I a huge proponent of the
last two reiteration films in the series...
STILL... I did LOVE the original entry
and anxiously await to see if the old man's still
got the chops to deliver the wonder I once thought
him capable of (minus the dodgy, politically
correct saccharin he's injected into his recent
I'm going to try super-hard not to
be too cynical too... I want to give this movie a
Just as long as he
doesn't digitally change Indy's whip into a thrown
water balloon halfway through the picture for the
kiddies, we're off to a good start...
- added 05/27/2008, 02:21 PM
I think I'm in the middle with this movie. It
had the parts of a great Indy movie but in some
ways I felt it fell short, mainly by trying to do
a lot at once. There were a lot of things going
on in each scene, old characters returned while
some new characters didn't get enough development
(namely Mack and Ox) and the ending kind of turned
me off. Overall it was fun and I wouldn't mind
watching it again, but it didn't do it for me
enough to earn a spectacular rating. 6/10 from me.
- added 05/27/2008, 03:54 PM
*Sigh* I pray to whatever God or lack-there-of
you worship that that comment was not directed at
I've always loved the Indiana Jones
films, from a child to today I watch them on a
constant basis, nostalgia is never an issue for
me, I'm more nostalgic than I'll ever admit to.
My love and admiration for the series, however,
did n ot save this movie as a stand-alone film...
hell, it didn't even save it as a sequal.
didn't try to kick on the same tone, the same feel
or even the same type of quasi-realistic over the
top action that the series was known for.
was like Lucas went out of his way to make the
plot as thin as possible while still retaining
some sort of reference to the series (such as
bringing back classic characters, making a
half-assed ((though amusing)) crack about the Ark
and having Harrison Ford constantally make
references to how old he is... hur hur... it was
cute and relevant twice... though it was the only
beleivable line from Ford in the entire movie).
Has he just become that poor a writer? Because, as
stated, the amount of character development here
is nill and we're even offered the amazing
"twist" about Mutt... who the fuck
couldn't guess that!? I guessed it when I heard
Shia was going to be in the movie! This felt like
a fanfiction... and a so-so one at that... they'd
have been better off turning one of those spin-off
novels into a movie... hell, even a "Young
Indiana Jones" feature would have been
prefered over this bastard-film.
sorry, I love the movies and I'm just as nostalgic
as the next guy, but this was a weak-ass entry
into a classic series. The most you'll get from me
is a 4.5... but I'll stick with my mid-way 3 for
- added 05/27/2008, 05:41 PM
LOL. No, that was not directed at you. But, it
still boggles my mind how a fan of the series can
dislike this new film so handily. It's exactly
what the other three films were trying to do --
re-capture the mood of an old serial. If
anything, this new film succeeded at that far
better than the second or third film did. The
last word I thought when leaving the theatre was
'weak'. The words 'wow' and 'thank God' were the
But, no, those comments
were not directed at you for the mere fact that
you can respond to something without the words
'retard' or 'idiot' thrown in.
- added 05/27/2008, 10:24 PM
But that was just t he problem, man. It DIDN'T
feellike the old ones. The ending being the prime
example of this... the last 30 minutes felt like
an action-cartoon rather than an action, pulp
comic-book which is what, I had always taken,
Lucas had originally intended. To make movie hero
similar to the comic heroes he knew when he was
young. This felt more like... well... to be so
blunt it may seem rude, a final cash-in on the
loyalties of fans l ike me.
When put on par
with the rest of the series, the acting in this
film is just dreadful, that may have been a huge
thorn in my side. When I saw Ford and Blanchett in
the opening scenes I was hoping to God this was
some kind of movie inside of a movie and that they
were purposely being poor actors. I couldn't keep
my jaw from the floor as I watched the movie go
on... it was like a train-wreck... a colorful
trainwreck and the only victim was one of my
all-time favorite movie heroes...
really hoping this is where it ends... I don't
know if I can take it again... I really don't...
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg
- added 06/02/2008, 10:30 PM
I am not a big fan of action/adventure films, nor
would I say that I am a big fan of this series;
hell, I just watched the original and third entry
for the first time last night. (I thought the
original was okay but felt that the third was
incredible.) Before then, I had recently seen
The Temple of Doom by chance and loved it.
I never really intended to see any others, but
last week I was invited to see The Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull for free and didn't pass it
up. Having an idea of what the series offers, I
found this fourth installment to be really fun.
The only thing I felt itchy about during the film
was Ford's acting; although, Indiana Jones has
been through a lot in the past and is in his
mid-60s now, so how much can you expect from his
personality at this age.
of the theater at the end of this movie, I heard
people grumble over the ending and silly remarks
like, "You're telling me that out of all that
ammunition fired, not a single bullet hit
him?!" I was strongly tempted to slap a
couple of people on my way out (that's mainly why
I don't enjoy going to theaters). After just
getting through Raiders of the Lost Ark and
The Last Crusade, I'm astonished at some of
the comments I have come across. Like Billy Ray
said, "For a fan of the first three films to
find this film terrible, to me, is just
impossible." I guess these people need help
to recognize what the others offered and see how
this film did the same (storywise and
- added 10/16/2008, 12:06 AM
I grew up on these movies. These and Star Wars
were my most watched movies as a kid. And now
this? I'm sorry, but what the fuck are they
thinking? This was uncomfortably bad. 5 minutes in
I felt bad for Lucas, Spielberg and Ford. I just
wanted to walk up to them and let them know they
said all they needed to say with the first 3.
Leave well enough alone, and stop fucking up a
classic series of films. The first 3 are classics
in my opinion. This? This was a fucking sacrilege.
Shia The Beef was terrible - as always - and Ford
didn't seem to have any energy or enthusiasm
whatsoever. I think South Park said it best -
Lucas and Spielberg really did rape Indiana Jones
for all it had.
1/10, and that's only
because I can't bear to give this a big fat 0.
- added 10/16/2008, 01:09 AM
I love all the Indy movies. I went in with high
action expectations, and predictable story. That's
what I got, and I enjoyed it.
date myself (but this is pretty cool) The Clash
played at Bonds Casino on Broadway. They were
suppose to play 8 nights, but by overpacking the
place opening night (it was crammed) they ended up
having to either cancel the remaining 7 shows or
make up extra nights for all the extra tickets
sold. They ended up playing 16 shows. On the
Sundays they did a matinee and then an evening
performance. I went to the matinee and had hours
before the evening performance, so I went to the
movies to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's when
there were still huge screens in some theatres.
- added 10/24/2008, 01:21 PM
I'm sort of in the middle here... there were some
things that I just couldn't stand about this film,
but at the same time, there were some things that
I loved. I had no problems with LaBeouf's acting
abilities, but I didn't like how the character was
handled; we all know that they're setting him up
to potentially carry on the series and that this
was a bit of a "passing of the torch"
affair, but they just didn't make his character
look credible enough to shine Jones' shoes, much
less pick up the whip and don the hat in his own
film. I also didn't like the heavy (and I mean
HEAVY) use of CGI - there were more than a couple
of scenes that almost looked cartoonish courtesy
Still, these were minor
gripes. I'll admit that I groaned and expected
the worst when I saw how old Ford looked when the
movie began, but that slipped away during the
first action sequence. Overall, better than
Temple of Doom and not as good as the other two
flicks in the series, but still enjoyable. 8/10.
- added 05/30/2010, 10:10 PM
Well you all know how I love to be the middle man
of things and I didn't find this movie to be as
horrible as everyone claimed it to be. I will say
that there are a few scenes in this movie that
made me want to puke, like when one of our heros
swings across the jungle with a certain fury
Andy van Heel
- added 01/23/2012, 11:06 AM
Worst movie ever. I am a big big fan of the
previous movies. I loved every one of them and saw
them to many time to be considered a cool guy...
But this. First of all, he turned my favorite hero
of all time (I wanted to bé Indiana Jones.
I am 31 right now, and I still want to be him)
into a CIA-cop!!!!!!!! That's the wordt kind!
Bad storyline, bad everything. Spielberg and
Lucas raped my all time hero, they took something
from me and can never give it back. Even I feel