First summer blockbuster of the year: we went and saw "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this past weekend. I rather liked it, as I knew I would, though for me it’s not as good as "Last Crusade", although that’s forgivable (for me) because it’s only been nearly two decades since the last movie was released.
Overall, while I may not have gone with aliens in the plot of an Indiana Jones movie, I realize that previous movies all dealt with highly fictionalized, supernatural Macguffins that render this movie’s plot no less likely. The more I think about it, the more I like it; it’s kind of like the Indiana Jones mythology is mirroring the era it finds itself in, you know?
So of course "Roswell" is an appropriate Indy theme in that context. A little over a decade ago a friend told me the current plot being batted around an Indy 4 movie was in fact "Roswell 1947". So it’s interesting/fun to see the connection to this movie.
What I liked
Hell, it’s a new Indiana Jones movie made with all the principals and shot on real film (not digital); what’s not to like?
However, I like to look at lists when I’m reading similar reviews, so here we go with a few things:
- I liked the subtle and not-so-subtle nods to previous films; having the infinite warehouse at the end of "Ark" being Area 51 (and even catching a glimpse of the Ark itself in the broken crate), for instance, was a cute touch. Also including at least the obligatory photo and mention of Sean Connery’s role was good; I think handling his character was appropriate.
- I liked that they handled the aging and the amount of time that has passed right up front; trying to pretend otherwise would have been EPIC FAIL. (Despite was JWZ says, however, Indy 4 was not FAIL.)
- Dealing with the Cold War and the Soviet Russians as the enemies. At least that was reflective of the era (and the time passing thing). Nazis in 1957 would have been stretching things.
What I disliked, or found problematic
- After Indy made a big deal of how hard decoding the "riddle" Oxley had left for him in a dead language ("maybe if I run it through Mayan first"), he seemed to have suddenly figured the entire sheet of riddle-glyphs out in about 30 seconds.
- Why did they bring Mutt’s motorcycle to South America with them? Were there any sources of gasoline in remote 1957 Peru?
- The ending was awfully reminiscent of the ending to the first "X-Files" movie ten years ago. I actually don’t mind that all that much, just an observation.
- Indy surviving a nuclear blast by jumping inside a lead-lined refrigerator was simultaneously amusing and frustrating; I mean, that’s a hell of a blast and fall to be inside of a fridge, I don’t care who you are. Plus, why is that fridge the only object flying away from the explosion? Shouldn’t there also be other debris in that case? (However, I rather liked the "it’s dangerous to seal yourself inside one of those things" line. It made me laugh.)
So will there be a fifth movie? Apparently the original obligation (way back in the 80s) was for five movies.