The review is spoiler free, but I’ll give a quick encapsulation anyway: if I were to rank all four Indy flicks from best to worst, this would be third on the list.
Cast and Crew Information
Harrison Ford as Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr.
Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko
Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
Shia LaBeouf as Mutt Williams
Ray Winstone as George “Mac” McHale
John Hurt as Professor “Ox” Oxley
Jim Broadbent as Dean Charles Stanforth
Written by David Koepp, George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Indiana Jones isn’t as young as he used to be, but that doesn’t make him any less adventurous. With sidekick and love interest firmly in place, he heads out on a quest to find an ancient religious artifact that has some sort of power beyond what can be seen.
“Told you I would.”
There were a couple of moments that strain the suspension of disbelief. It’s hard to decide between two of them, which I’ll keep vague even under spoiler guard: “Monkey-Man” and the refrigerator.
As the first three drew inspiration from the movie serials of the 1930s, this draws inspiration from the “popcorn” flicks of the 1950s. That does mean it’s got a different “Big Bad” to work against, but not in a way that defies the tone of the originals. Some will be unhappy with the nature of the religion involved, but that’s a matter of personal preference. I suspect the crowd around these parts will be more accepting than the general public, particularly when we recognize the cameo from an earlier Spielberg work. I give it 4 out of 6.
The effects were well done. Some moments were CGI, but most were physical effects, maintaining the look and feel of the originals. Keeping ILM and Stan Winston studios on board helps a lot in this regard. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story was generally well done. The moments listed above were pushing things a bit in terms of credibility, and they weren’t the only offenders, but the broad strokes are definitely consistent with the Indiana Jones franchise. As weak as those moments were, there were just as many that were very strong. Though it’s probably the most uneven of the movies, it’s neither the best nor the worst. It maintains the serialized nature of the others, with frequent short action sequences, but a couple of them feel out of place. I give it 4 out of 6.
The acting was solid all around. LaBeouf fits in easily, delivering some great dialogue for the character. Ford slips back into the role quite comfortably, as does Allen. Blanchett is effective, but the real star is John Hurt. He’s just great in this one. I give it 5 out of 6.
The production is solid. We’ve got the same director, the same producers, the extremely dependable John Williams on music, the equally dependable Michael Kahn on editing, and so forth. Spielberg has a core group of individuals he trusts implicitly to put his movies together, and he has the kind of pull it takes to get them all on board when it’s time to make the movie. Spielberg wins, his favourite crewmembers with, and most importantly, the audience wins. These people know their jobs inside out. The problems individuals will have with this movie (and everyone will probably have some) start and end with the script. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response was as uneven as the story. This drew a couple of groans, but also drew cheers and applause. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a good movie. Go in expecting another Indiana Jones instead of something new and better, and you’ll leave satisfied. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull receives 32 out of 42.