Sunday, 10 March 2013
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review
Why, then, does a movie that deals with inter-dimensional beings on earth in a search for knowledge in this franchise disappoint me so? There's a few reasons. First, the other three Indy movies kept the mystical portions of their stories within the confines of our own reality. They dealt with the relationship between divine power and human interaction with that power. Ultimately, they told us of the dangers of evil and how integrity and righteousness can overcome if we just believe and accept. Crystal Skull had the same basic theme but failed in its delivery. Rather than have a story where the humans encounter the divine, it becomes a human encounter with a superior alien race and it becomes just another run of the mill alien movie with cheesy undertones of our inferiority to them and government conspiracies.
Second, the villains are completely flat and useless in this film. Right from a completely irrelevant opening sequence right through to the climax, you never really feel that Indy is in any danger. Sure, there is the encounter at the warehouse and a fantastic car chase through the jungle. But that's it. There never seems to be a race against the Russians to find the city of gold. And that brings us to the Russinas themselves. I understand that, in the 50s, Communism was the absolutely evil threat that made everyone paranoid. But the use of that in film does not age well. Indy fought Nazis previously. We will always see them as the embodiment of the worst that mankind can become. Communism has largely been forgiven for its evils because of the peaceful fall of the system (save for a few almost laughable pockets many of whom seem to be embracing the economics of capitalism). So to try and put them on the same level of Nazis is just ridiculous.
Finally, the writing is just plain bad. They spent way too much time trying to get the 50s "daddy-o" vernacular down when they should have worked more on developing character and plot development.
The good in this movie would be the action. It does move very quickly and, as I mentioned, the action sequences are quite well choreographed. For the most part, the effects and visuals are good to look at. Any wide, sweeping shots are well done. But there is an inconsistency in the green screening that took away from the visual enjoyment. Overall, it was just too hard to lose yourself in this one compared to the other three.
It's not a complete waste of time but it would be a complete waste of money to spend anything to watch it. Don't see it.