Went to see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls” this weekend. It was great to see ol’ Indy again. There is no doubt, it was Indy; Harrison played the part like he’d never left. It was also great to see Karen Allen back a Marion. Let me say out front that I loved the movie. It was fun, and I will watch it again and again, but I’ll start with the bad.
What I’ve always loved about the Indiana Jones movies was the feeling of old-timey serials; the kind of movie my grandparents would have seen when they were kids. All of the Jones movies had that feel, but some more than others. Crystal Skulls was in parts, but the overall storyline took was the problem. Although Raiders, Doom and Crusade always had an element of the supernatural, they were based on myths and traditions that real archaeologists studied. In Crystal Skull moving into the realm of aliens (or “transdimensional beings”) was a bit much. It pulled me out of the Indy-Universe and into something else. The ending was more X-Files than Indy.
There were also a couple of out of place things that took me out of the movie, or McGuffin’s that didn’t materialize. First, the 3 gopher scenes. They were just too cutesy and very out of place. Only these 3 scenes of the entire movie had this absurd tone. Lucas ‘jar-jar’ed’ this one. Then, there was the “McCarthyism”. This appeared to be a MacGuffin that would later affect Indy in the story. Instead, it was an obvious political statement about the current climate in America. Not that I don’t agree with Spielberg/Lucas on this one, but I don’t watch “Indiana Jones” for political statements. Leaving out both of these would have made this movie nearly perfect.
Most people don’t believe me, but this movie was almost exactly what some friends and I talked about in college in the early 90s. We were discussing the Indy Trilogy back and I brought up the idea that Indy had a son/daughter that he didn’t know about when him and Marion hooked up in Raiders. I was inspired by Jones Sr. in Crusade and the Young Indy TV show. What I hypothesized at the time is almost exactly what we got in Skulls, and I loved that. It made for a great story, and the only ‘cheese’ was the usual Indiana Jones ‘cheese’. I’m glad that they went with this storyline. I would be very open to continuing the franchise with Henry Jones III, but I’m not thrilled with Shia Labeouf. I like him as an actor, but he doesn’t have the charisma that Ford brought to Indy. To continue the saga, we would need that attitude.
More and more I come to enjoy the character interactions and character development in movies, film and books. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls” was very character driven, in my opinion. The interactions between Marion, Indy, Ox and Junior were amazing. This is what made the movie for me, and why I’ll watch it again. During the traditional Indy chase scenes, they played off each other beautifully and made their dysfunctional family very believable.
Even though I had problems with the movie as a whole, the terrific greatly outweighed the bad. I can’t wait to see this again, and I hope you see it too. I give “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls” a have to see it again!