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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 04-09-2010

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Product Description
Archaeologist Jones teams up with former flame Marion and her hot-headed son to rescue an old friend from the Soviets.Amazon.com
Nearly 20 years after riding his last Crusade, Harrison Ford makes a welcome return as archaeologist/relic hunter Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, an action-packed fourth installment that’s, in a nutshell, less memorable than the first three but great nostalgia for fans of the series. Producer … More >>

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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Comments (5)

I love the first three Indy films. Like so many others I was greatly looking forward to seeing a new one. I thought (or hoped) that the very long time they took to come up with a script meant they were polishing it to a brilliant shine. After seeing the movie, I conclude it was really a long negotiation between Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford, with some of them eager to make a crappy movie, and some of them not, with the end result being crappy, but perhaps not as crappy as it might have been.

The movie started with a bit of promise (other than the infantile CGI prairie dog). I’m not as offended by the nuclear fridge scene as many are, because I know those mock towns weren’t built at Ground Zero (or they would have been vaporized). They were built at a distance to judge the effect of the blast on places some miles from the explosion. So while it’s not credible for Indy to survive being tossed around that much, he didn’t exactly survive a nuclear explosion. Some of the other early scenes, such as those where Indy is actually discovering something, are also good.

Still…

About halfway through the movie, despite my fervent desire to like it, I realized it just wasn’t working for me. No suspense. No real sense of urgency or danger. Low stakes. Too many marginal or pointless characters. Too much cartoon nonsense going on, far less believable than anything from the previous films (the stupid monkey vine swinging, Marian’s idiotic tree-driving stunt, the multiple waterfall drops…none of it scary, none of it remotely convincing, or even fun). Marian’s long-awaited big reveal was one of the biggest, flattest duds in film history. She shows up and spends most of the rest of the movie just tagging along with a dazed grin on her face like she was just grateful to be there, a flaccid dishrag compared to the character from the first film. Not Karen Allen’s fault…she was just thrown in for nostalgia’s sake, and was poorly written. Mutt was actually not a bad character, but I don’t need or want him to be Indy’s son. Is there any worse cliche in fiction than the Son He Never Knew He Had? I realize Spielberg and Lucas are fascinated by father issues, but I’m not. And then there’s the whole point of the movie…the skull and the aliens…ehhhh. Who cares? The finale was a muddled jumble of flashing lights and wind that meant nothing and evoked nothing but tedium. Remember at the end of the previous films, where the characters actually seem to notice that something extraordinary has happened, were even scared, or traumatized just a little bit (okay, not so much in Crusade, where they quickly shake off any aftereffects and devolve into slapstick and lose all interest in their surroundings). Not this time. The giant flying saucer takes off, and Indy and his massive crew of sidekicks start cracking jokes.

I’m inclined to blame Lucas for most of this mess. He’s made a habit of lapses of taste and judgement since…hmm…”Howard the Duck”?

I don’t want to see this movie again, and I don’t want to own it. I hope they don’t make another, because these guys have proven they no longer have what it takes.
Rating: 2 / 5

God, this KILLS me as a lifelong Indy fan, but what must be done must be done…

An excerpt from my review on Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest applies flawlessly here:

“It suffers from all the pitfalls you fear going into a sequel…bloated budget, very little growth from the main characters, overly-complicated plot, countless unnecessary scenes of which very few carry any sort of punch, etc.”

It’s clear from the outset that Lucas and Spielberg were zeroed in on the punchy, pulp fiction action that Indy was first conceived, vs. catering to a more modern, movie-going audience. If you go into it expecting a freshly scripted, character-enriching experience, you’ll likely be disappointed. If you’re looking for a nostalgic popcorn-popper, chances are you’ll be satisfied.

Many will cry foul over the film’s plot being related to aliens. That was the center of pulp fiction in the 50s and clearly that was important to the writers here. I can’t argue with the creators in terms of their subject matter, but I will say this: the alien theme, while I understand its origins in the mind of the filmmakers, was a big and VERY NEEDLESS jump in the genre. It reminded me of what a new writer does to a previously existing successful series in any medium, such as a TV show, or comic book. They’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of mythologies to choose from and they settle on…campy, American pop culture? A really risky premise and unfortunately, a theme that Lucas insisted on. But hey! It’s Lucas’ baby, we need to accept the premise to move on, which bring me to frankly, the biggest and most glaring problem….the STORY/SCRIPT/PLOT.

Detailed points:

1. The entire Area 51 sequence: TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. The story could easily have started from the university. Mutt could have been introduced with a lot more care and in such a way I cared when it happened. We could have learned a LOT more about their chemistry and relationship instead of wasting time at Area 51. The same goes for the nuclear testing scene – 100% UN-NEEDED.

2. CARTOONISH VILLAIN and SUPPORTING CHARACTERS – Spalko, played by the very talented and capable Cate Blanchett, is easily the weakest villain in any IJ film to date, being outmatched by not only predecessors, but previous SUB-villains. Case in point – I was more loathsome of the antics of the Nazi general from Crusades, or the slimy Toht of Raiders than Spalko. We never see her worst deeds. Why should we hate her? I knew why I wanted to see previous villains fail, but not so here. More squandered talent in Jonh Hurt and Ray Winstone – their characters were also two-dimensional and forgettable. Again, these issues are a symptom of a bad script.

3. TONS OF PLOT EXPOSITION USING DIALOGUE instead of imagery, actions or scenes. Are you kidding me? This is SPIELBERG. This is LUCAS. And yet they STILL fall into this amateur trap that’s preached in Film-making 101? This was the majority of my problem following the details of the story, because it was fed to me through laborious blocks of dialogue. I honestly can’t recall how scenes were linked together…there’s no “dots” for me to follow having just watched it.

4. ASPECTS OF LOVE. Maybe it’s just me, but the way that Marion was re-introduced and the whole “family” dynamic were really flat. Marion seemed more like a token shoe-in than the fiery character we knew and grew to love in Raiders. Another NEEDLESS character. This only made the wedding scene a bigger question mark and awkward. There was NO buildup to that outcome and frankly, the idea of getting married doesn’t fir either character AT ALL. They make better adventure buddies that have spurs of passion for one another, but know it would never work between them. THAT is the Indiana and Marion we know and love…. pragmatic and stubborn. No where to be found here.

5. FLAT ENDING. By the end of this film, I need to understand INDIANA JONES better. Just like I did at the end of Temple of Doom. Just like I did at the end of Last Crusade. But here? I knew nothing more about him. No new leaf turned. Just kind of going through the motions of what the filmmakers THINK we need to see of him. And even in THAT respect, the scripts fails – little use of the whip, a pistol or even most glaring yet….

His WITS! Pay attention….this film included NO part of Indy using his ingenuity or outwitting the bad guys when his back was against the wall. I found myself out-thinking the film. That should never happen.

Then there’s all the more petty complaints that people have that many I agree with, but were not the most damaging, such as the nuclear testing sequence, the Tarzan and Brando homages, etc. These were somewhat tacky elements, but FORGIVABLE if the story/plot/script is any good at all, which unfortunately and almost inconceivably, is not true here.

I think the reality is, this is a franchise that is not meant for modern thinking movie goers. The suspension of disbelief is harder to come by. That isn’t to take anything away from Indiana Jones, it’s just a simple observation that timing is almost just as critical as subject matter in the formula for success. But it’s also glaringly apparent that Lucas is totally out of touch with movie goers and his audience. I really wish that when he considered reviving the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, he realized that such beloved treasures as those had NOTHING to gain, yet EVERYTHING to lose. Crystal Skull is, unfortunately, another unnecessary black mark on Lucas’ legacy, not unlike Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones.

Despite my disappointment and long-winded criticisms, many will enjoy this film for what it is. Still, one can’t help but be befuddled that after 19 years, this is best the Lucas and Spielberg could come up with.
Rating: 2 / 5

This review is for; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Two-Disc Special Edition)

It seems fans either hated or loved the latest Indiana Jones film as noted by the numerous other reviews, but I was moderatley satisfied with the effort. Rather than do an honest review of a DVD that I do not have yet, I just wanted to point out the new features for the upcoming two-disc edition of “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. For collector geeks like me, Best Buy is offering a replica Crystal Skull with the two disc set as a special Best Buy exclusive collector set. Also Target is packing their 2-Disc Sets with a collectible hardcover book (the two DVD’s are actuallly stored in the book).

Note when the DVD will be available there will be a single disc and two disc editions. Here are the details for the two-disc set.

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL two-disc Special Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with THX Certified Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround and Spanish 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Disc 1:

* The Return of a Legend–The evolution of the new film and a tribute to the legendary hero and his creators.

* Pre-Production–Follows Steven Spielberg as he creates animatic sequences, Shia LaBeouf as he learns to swordfight and captures the reunion of filmmakers and cast on the soundstage.

Disc 2:

* Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull–Join filmmakers, cast and crew for a complete look at the making of the film.

Shooting Begins: New Mexico

Back To School: New Haven , Connecticut

Welcome to the Jungle: Hilo , Hawaii

On-Set Action

Exploring Akator

Wrapping Up!

* Warrior Makeup

* The Crystal Skulls

* Iconic Props

* The Effects of Indy

* Adventures in Post Production

* Closing: Team Indy

* Pre-Visualization Sequences

Area 51 Escape

Jungle Chase

Ants Attack

Galleries

* The Art Department

The Adventure Begins

Cemetery and Jungle

Akator

* Stan Winston Studio

Corpses, Skeletons & Mummies

Aliens & Crystal Skulls

* Production Photographs

* Portraits

* Behind-the-Scenes Photographs

* Lego INDIANA JONES: THE ORIGINAL ADVENTURES XBox 360 Game Demo

* Trailers

Rating: 3 / 5

What a mess this movie was. Good to see Indy again but you can tell from the start that Lucas had approval over this script after rumors he threw out so many better scripts out the window (Frank Durapont anyone?).

Indy surviving nuclear blasts, Rodents coming up from the ground and grinning at the camera, Shia LaBouf swinging from vines in a jungle with Monkeys and hardly any Marion. She barely has anything to say.

Then you get the ending which comes out of a different movie.

Suspending Disbelief is one thing but you gotta check your brain and taste at the door for this one.

Lets hope they don’t make any spinoffs with Indy’s kid.
Rating: 1 / 5

Why is George Lucas intent on ruining the two franchises (Star Wars and Indy) that brought him to prominence and established him as a household name? This movie started going downhill from the very first scene with the ridiculously generated prairie dog. It sets the tone for the whole movie: Scenes that are completely over the top and are done in such a lazy fashion that the contemporary “Mummy” movies look like high art in comparison. Over the top is fine as long as it is done with a certain flair and injecting humor (exhibit A: grossout dinner scene and rollercoaster traincart ride in ToD). I hated the prairie dogs and the monkeys that Shia rallies to his “cause”. The George Lucas/Steve Spielberg of 20 years ago would’ve put forth a little more effort in making scenes like these believable both in terms of quality of special effects and within the context of the story. They fail on both counts on these scenes and multiple others.

George Lucas has reached a point in his career where A)he doesn’t have to try as hard to make a good movie (the studios will throw money at him regardless of the ideas he proposes) and B) is surrounded by people that idolize him and know better than to criticize his ideas. Result: 3 star wars prequels and an indy film that don’t even come close to the level of quality of anything he has been involved in prior to 1990.

Rating: 1 / 5

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