Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

When Steven Spielberg runs out of ideas, he tends to dial back to an obnoxious infantalized view of family life a'la "Hook" or worse "A.I."
When George Lucas runs out of ideas (which is pretty damn often), he tends to recapitulate certain favored action set pieces from his earlier films, the interminable light saber duels that climaxed ALL the Star Wars prequels for example.
So when these two men collaborate in an identical state of idea-less torpor, the result is "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".
Otherwise known as a two hour long snoozer that drags poor Karen Allen out of an undeserved retirement and then frantically tosses communists, "Chariots of the Gods" rubbish and an AWFUL performance from Cate Blanchett into the pot to spice up something that went flat years ago.
Mind you, I think it's good to acknowledge that Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones is now pushing sixty in a the post WW 2 America, it's even nice that his leading lady is more or less his own age (Karen Allen) but Jesus this film both frantic and dull a waste of both actor's time in every way.
Meanwhile up in the production office, both producers indulge their worst tendencies, Spielberg trots out "Indy-as-a-man-who-needs-a-family" nonsense while Lucas just restages his favorite car chases like a model train enthusiast gone mad on crack.
The result is junk and not even fun junk, it was enervating junk.
Granted "Crystal Skull" isn't as bad as "Temple of Doom" but it is nevertheless a film that will in time dilute and dim the charms of the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" very nicely indeed.
Hell why all the "Indiana Jones" sequels anyway? I mean other than the fact that Hollywood's greed usually favors short money and proven commodities?
The more I think on it, the more I realize that the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was a freak of nature, a strange hybrid union of Republic Serial's pacing and relentless focus on action enhanced with A-List actors and's inherently ephemeral nature (all speed all sound no depth) meant it could never really perpetaute itself as a series of films.
Not that George and Steven haven't tried and tried and tried....
Honestly, skip this one it's a joyless motion picture in every way.
However with all due respect, let me note that last night the Mendon Twin Drive In was PACKED like a sardine can with families intent on seeing this film...and all during a summer season where gas prices may hit $4 a gallon as well. So some good came of it for the fine people behind the Mendon Twin Drive In.

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