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

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull poster 2008 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Indiana Jones is back

Indiana Jones disappoints on so many levels

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Studio: Lucasfilm

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): May 18, 2008

MPAA Rating: PG-13

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull nuke the fridge harrison ford

The best refrigerator ever!!!

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has been accused of collusion with Soviet agents.  With his job gone, Indiana finds himself pulled into an adventure when a young man named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) appears with news that Indiana’s peer Harold Oxley (John Hurt) has been taken.  Travelling to South America, Indiana learns that his brush with the Soviets might be related to the kidnapping and the legend of a mystical city of gold.  Indiana has at least one more adventure in him, but a Russian named Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) might kill him…and if she doesn’t his former love Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) just might!

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the fourth entry in the Indiana Jones film series.  Following Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, the film faced multiple rewrites and production problems.  The film was panned by critics and fans.

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull mutt monkeys shia lebeouf

Have we come to this?

I was never a huge fan of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  I thought the movie was fine and didn’t advance the concepts behind the series (which were to create modern serials).  With the concept of a space-alien storyline (a common serial theme), I had some hope…but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull fell flat.

I think the idea behind Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was right.  Harrison Ford had aged too much to fight Nazis and Soviets were natural next choice.  It also made sense for the series to take an X-Files-esque storyline since Jones had worn the religious artifact story thin after three films.  The problem with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is that no one decided to really write much of a story around the ideas.  It felt like they not only needed a dialogue writer but also an additional script supervisor to tighten and remove all the clichés from the plot…there was no excitement.

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull killer ants

Oh no! If this character had been better developed, I’d be shocked!

Harrison Ford still embodies Indiana Jones, but it is kind of sad watching this outing.  Like the character, he’s old and tired and doesn’t have the feistiness of the earlier films.  It feels like when he runs or is punched, someone is beating up on a grandfather.  Shia LeBeouf has always been irritating, but he is almost tolerable here and most of the problems I have with Mutt are scripting problems (like his swinging with monkeys).  I also am disappointed with Karen Allen who was always my favorite Indiana Jones woman…here, she really feels clunky and that she’s reading her dialogue and not acting it.  Cate Blanchette is always fun in movies and her insane character is one of high points.

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull alien irena spalk cate blanchette

You can’t shut your eyes to this mess, lady!

The movie also relies too heavily on special effects.  While the other Indiana Jones films felt really organic, this movie feels very artificial and processed.  Be it sequences like the nuclear explosion (and the now famous “nuke the fridge” moment with Indy) to the killer ants and the car chase through the amazingly open jungle, the movie just looks too edited and processed.  It doesn’t have that real feeling that the other Indiana Jones films had…it feels more like a parody of those films.

I was highly disappointed by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull simply because it had potential.  The ideas were all there, but the execution was missed.  It was also something that took a childhood memory and tarnished it by turning it into a joke…something I felt that none of the other films did.  The movie felt more like a spoof (or a Brendan Fraser Mummy movie…which were rip-offs of Indiana Jones).  Despite the problems, a fifth Indiana Jones movie is in the works.

Related Links:

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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