Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I spent the past weekend preparing for the new movie by watching the first three Indy movies in order. I have seen Raiders at least 20 times, but it's still a treat after all these years. Temple of Doom was just as bad as I remembered it. There are so many things in that movie I dislike that it makes the few good parts of the movie hard to remember. And Crusade was much much better than I remember it being. It had been several years since I'd seen that and upon this last viewing, I found it quite enjoyable.

All these movies led up to last night. I went to the Crystal Skull midnight show and though I'm paying for it now (got to bed about 2:45am), I'm glad I went. Spoilers follow, so be forewarned!

Loved the callbacks. From the old school Paramount logo to the same musical theme when going to Indy's college after the intro action sequence, the Skull was filled with little touches like that. Evidently there was even a Young Indiana Jones callback that I heard, but didn't realize what it was at the time (Pancho Villa).

Indy/Harrison looked great. Sure, he's 20 years older, but ain't no one who can wear a hat like he can. He was a bit more jowly than I would like, but heck, he's 65!

I thought the intro sequence was so-so. I loved seeing Indy. I couldn't stand his sidekick Mac. I thought the whole scene with Indy in the "house" was strange. Seeing Indy in a regular environment was very bizarre.

My favorite parts were the diner/motorcycle scene and the first tomb raiding sequence. The feel of Indy being in his element was fun, especially with Mutt (who I really liked too) tagging along. The teacher/student relationship was pretty cool.

I wasn't too keen on Marion's eventual arrival, but as they were being transported in the truck prior to the jungle chase, I did like the chemistry and backstory between Indy and her. Finding out that they were engaged to be married until Indy skipped town was pretty cool.

The lamest part? Definitely the monkey scene. Swinging through vines? Seriously?

I thought the last third of the movie was pretty not so cool. The whole bit with the natives chasing the heroes down the pyramid looked cool, but what purpose did it really serve? The natives were scared of the skull, then cut down by the Russians. That's all?

I was also let down by the way they took care of Dr. Plenko, the main baddie. In Raiders, you had heads blowing up, faces melting, and the Ark kicking ass. In TOD, guys fell off cliffsides and were munched by crocodiles. Crusade had Donovan aging before our eyes, and then disintegrating into dust. What happens to the antagonist in Skull? She gains knowledge and then disappears. Or something like that. It was just anticlimactic to me and left me wondering if this was the best they could come up with.

Overall, I rank IJATKOTCS 3rd behind Raiders and Crusade, but before ToD. I think as I see it more (probably not until its eventual Blu-Ray release), I'll enjoy it more, but for now, it's a definite "go for the nostalgic factor" for me.