It’s 3am PST. I just got home from a midnight showing of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I was the only person in the theatre (Rio Theatre by Commercial Drive Station in Vancouver) who actually dressed up as Indy, although, to be fair, even I hedged my bets and went as geriatric Henry Jones Jr. III (replete with walking stick and a bent-over, cantankerous gait).
Quick review before I try to catch a wink. It’s a goddamn work night, people.
REVIEW FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET:
You should see it. I mean, who goes to see only 2 movies out of a trilogy or only 3 movies out of a quadwhatever. Brace yourself for a gray Indy with very loose face skin, and brace yourself for “modern” special effects and some pointless CGI, which makes for some scenes where you go “ain’t no way they survived that” or “yeah right, they’re still conscious after that kind of impact.”
Thankfully, though, it’s kept sufficiently on a leash to be able to suspend your disbelief one more time. For old times’ sake. And for a good time. Call on Indy.
REVIEW FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN IT (spoilers!):
It wasn’t as bad as I braced myself for, but could have been better. I mean, aliens? Roswell? 51? Shit that’s “kinda” magnetic, but only sorta? The Nazca lines were a nice touch, but their mention merely superficial. The gophers/prairie dogs/rodents were totally pointless and should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Indy is DEFINITELY too old to be doing this, and the special effects just made things worse. I guess you could say I like things a little more low-tech. Some of those falls appeared buttery soft, like a splish-splash in a bird bath. Seriously now. You don’t just tumble down a Niagara-sized waterfall as if it were a waterslide at some freeway motel. This movie should have been made a decade ago at the latest so that Harrison Ford would be sprightlier and less saggy, and special effects wouldn’t have to be used so extensively. Nor would we need a Henry Jones, Jr. IV to divert our attention from Grampa Simpson’s Ravages of Old Age ™.
Still, for all this whining, it’s worth seeing if you’re in any way an Indiana Jones fan. And who isn’t? No, I don’t want to know those of you who aren’t. It’s got some feverish chase scenes, is good-humoured without too many cheesy lines (though there are some, pointlessly stuck in there as if a Shrek writer walked into a room), and has visual appeal to the Machu Picchu set.
It has some overt references to pop culture and itself, like the giant 51 on the warehouse door, or the Ark itself peeking out of a crate freshly busted open during a pursuit of some other relic. However, more subtle ones are in place also, like the Atomic Café. Or McCarthyist witch hunts. Or a drag race on an arid road out in the desert somewhere, while we wait for the first appearance of the actor known as Bob Falfa in one of his prior incarnations. And that bomb detonation scene kicked ass—which also means that if Indy doesn’t get killed by bullets first, then he’ll most definitely eventually succumb to some kind of radiation exposure-related illness, ridiculous lead-lined fridge ride or no ridiculous lead-lined fridge ride.
All in all, it’s not the best one in the series. In fact, it might be the worst one. But, like Isaac Davis’ orgasms, even the worst one is still right on the money. And to riff off those posters in the office of Murray Hewitt, Deputy Cultural Attaché to NZ, I’d have to sum this one up with: “Don’t expect too much… you won’t be disappointed!”