May 23, 2008 Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Studio: Paramount Pictures Rating: PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images.
It's been nearly 20 years since we've seen globe-trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones.
But now he's back with a brand new adventure.
We probably all thought "Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade" was the final chapter in this incredible series. The last scene has Indy and his comrades defeating the Nazis in 1938 and literally riding off into the sunset.
But Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford have gotten together to take another crack at the whip wielding treasure hunter in "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull."
This time around we get communists instead of Nazis. It's 1957 and Indy takes on the Soviet empire in a race to find a crystal skull which legend claims will give its owner incredible powers.
My biggest fear going into the film was would it live up to the first three chapters? Or, would Indy's name be tarnished forever? I'm happy to report that the filmmakers get it right. Well, mostly right.
Joined by a very good Shia LaBeouf as a young man (Mutt Williams) who may have a connection to the good Dr. Jones, "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" also gives us Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) reprising her role from the original "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." She's a bit older but Marion still has the spark that made Indy fall in love in the first place.
Cate Blanchett plays the villainous Irina Spalko. She claims to have psychic powers and wants the use the skull to obtain ultimate power and spread the Soviet way.
Ray Winstone (George "Mac" McHale) is Jones' companion with his own agenda. John Hurt (Professor "Ox" Oxley) plays an addled academic who was Indy's schoolmate. He may have vital information about the skull's origin. Even Jim Broadbent (Dean Charles Stanforth) shows up as Indy's college boss.
There are many great things about this film. It looks and sounds exactly like an Indiana Jones movie. It has the feel of the original trilogy.
Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. Some of the special effects don't exactly sparkle and you've got to suspend disbelief as our heroes survive incredible peril. (Falling over not one, but three waterfalls? Come on!)
But overall I'm very pleased.
Ford's Indy might be a little older but he still possesses the charm and spirit which made him a legend in the first place. The cliffhangers are thrilling, the chases are exciting and longtime fans will be happy to see a couple of nods to the earlier chapters in this series.
On my rating scale, "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" hits a Home Run.
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