Release Date: May, 2008
I enjoyed this movie and I'd see it again. It's important that I tell you that up front, because it may not seem I like this movie during the rest of the review. IJ&TKOTCS is set in the 1950s, years after the last IJ film -- which makes sense, since more than 20 years have past since the last sequel. Since it's the 50s, we have Russian spies rather than Nazis, but the goal remains similar to the first film: find the mystical artifact before the bad guys do. From there, the film gets more tangled than necessary. It's filled with things that listeners of Uncanny Radio may like: Roswell (though not named), Area 51, Nazca lines, El Dorado, psychic Russians, and the title-mentioned crystal skull. The trouble is, the film just kindof breezes through this stuff -- never lingering long enough to give us any telling details. We get a fly-over of Nazca, a mumified conquistador, some "undead" blowgun attackers, and a whole village full of perhaps-undead natives -- but none of these are really essential to the plot. Nor are they drawn well enough to be interesting, or even good decoration. The Russian psychic? She never gets to do anything with her supposed powers. (My wife thought maybe the powers were a sham -- but why do that in a world in which the Ark of the Covenant is filled with vengeful ghosts?) Yes, there are some thrilling fights and chases; yes, we get some joy out of the return of Marion Ravenwood. And Harrison Ford, pushing toward 70, is still comfortable in Indy's hat. (For the kids, we have Shia LeBeouf doing his best Brando Wild One.) But one of the points of the original Indy was "old-style" filmmaking -- raw and unrefined seat-of-the-pants production and practical effects and stunts -- and here we get highly polished filmmaking with a lot of CGI. It looks more like Sky Captain than any of the original Indy pictures. And while I like Sky Captain, it's not Indiana Jones. But the real problem is the story, and the fact that it doesn't really hang together -- not even as well as the original trilogy. You'd think that with over 150 million dollars to spend, they could have spent some on a good writer -- or at least a good story editor. (Heck, I could have solved most of their problems for well under a million bucks.) But go see it. It's fun, if not deep. And it's nice to see Harrison in the hat and carrying teh whip again. See? I told you that you'd forget I liked it.
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