I was one of those skeptical people when I first heard that they were going to make a fourth Indiana Jones movie. I mean, didn't this film franchise already have a final movie? How can there be a new movie when we've been told that Indy has already gone on his 'LAST' crusade? And could it get any better than seeing Harrison Ford AND Sean Connery riding off into the sunset? Maybe I still felt burned from the last time that Lucasfilm decided to make new movies from its classic brands; when the new "Star Wars" movies turned out to be contrived fodder for its merchandising machine and had little to do with the kind of cinematic magic that the Lucasfilm name used to conjure. Or maybe it's just the idea that a sixty something Harrison Ford seemed too old to be carrying on in the fedora again.
However despite my deepest reservations, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" actually comes through as sure fire summer movie fun. The fourth Indy movie serves up Indiana Jones style thrills in spades. There's all sorts of nods and winks to long time Indy fans, who can catch a glimpse of the Lost Ark again, and will enjoy the truly excellent return of Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood. And sure, its odd at first to see the older Indy running around and punching out bad guys, but Ford's charisma gets past his aged face and we feel relieved that the young Indy protege played by Shia LeBeouf only brings up Indy's age a couple of times.
Once the action wheels get rolling, the movie veers into a cycle of one Indiana Jones action moment to another. There's so much action, that the movie doesn't really slow down long enough to show the more 'clever' side of Indiana Jones, and there's not much opportunity to see him using reason, wits and his luck to solve ancient puzzles. This is hinted at while we watch Jones pack an overnight bag, and sneak in a sentimental glance at the framed headshot of Sean Connery that Jones keeps on his desk at home. But most of Indiana Jones puzzle solving skills are replaced by scene after scene of non-stop Indy action from frame to frame.
The action scenes are comfortable Indy territory, exploring tombs encased in cobwebs, mixing it up with Russians instead of Nazi's, and a scary ant scene that earns the 13 part of its PG-13 rating. However Spielberg does throw in a few twists that without giving too much away play out more like the ending of the original "X-Files" movie than the Last Crusade.
As surprising and fun as "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is, I'm hoping that Steven Speilberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford have all gotten it out of their system, and will let the Indiana Jones mythos retire once and for all. Of course the box office results from its opening weekend will almost guarantee a fifth Indy will get made, but for the sake of the rest Indy fans, I wish they wouldn't and just let it go.
Hoping that they DON'T actually pass Indy's Hat to Shia LeBeouf for Indy 5, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2008 - Purple - Air Date: 5/28/08
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
USA - 2008