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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 2008

   In 2008, an event occurred, that was at the same time the most pointless and unneeded event and the one everyone, at one point had to be a part of.  And it was called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  This was a movie that nobody wanted to see or make, besides maybe Spielberg and Lucas.  It's actually quite surreal; the way this film was made .  Never in a million years would viewers think that another film would be made, let alone a sequel to a trilogy!  Wait...that actually wouldn't have been a bad idea!  Surely Indiana Jones had other adventures besides the only three.  The only problem was that they waited NINETEEN years before making another sequel!  And we're here to look at it today!  Welcome to my cork to seal the Indiana Jones franchise.  This is my review of, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!"

"You havent the slightest idea of the cataclysmic cacophony you are about to delve intooooooo......"

   What was that?  Never mind. Let us begin our review by setting the stage.  The year is 1957, and Indiana has aged a great deal, as we see him revealed being thrown out of a trunk of a car.  Wait, wait...we have to address this.  Think back to all of the other Indiana Jones films.  How was our hero revealed?  In the first film he whips a weapon from someones hand, and that person runs away.  The camera pans up, as his hat creates a shadow hiding his face, and he finally looks up, to give an awesome reveal.  The second film shows a luxurious club, where Indy is revealed descending a staircase wearing a white suit.  Again, this is a very good reveal.  The third film reveals Indiana right before he's punched in the face!  Although not his best reveal, it does put you right in the action, and I admire the film makers for trying something new.  But, being revealed in such an ugly and undignified manor, is insulting to our character!  "But Albert, Isn't this reveal supposed to show that he is in even more danger because the scene is set up to feel as though Indiana Jones is caught at a large disadvantage?"  NO!  No, it isn't!  Make us like him again!  We've waited nineteen years!  Maybe we could be excused from the fact that, viewers may have forgotten how much @#!*% Indiana Jones kicked!  Heck! you probably could have done it too, if you hadn't wasted your time by showing, a pointless opening scene that had nothing to do with the rest of the film, and who's only purpose was to show us that the film takes place in the fifty's.

   Okay, wow!  I got really sidetracked there.  Our artifact this time, is an ancient skull that is apparently extremely powerful, an if starred at long enough can take over your mind!!!!  OOOoooOoOoOOooo...  Actually It's a pretty intriguing idea.  The Skull ties into the Aztec architecture concealing it for several thousand years.  Who put it there to begin with?  ...Uggggghhhhh.  The dumbest twist ending in cinematic history.  If you haven't seen the film, it may be worth it just to see it for the ending because it is...SO...BAD!  Nonetheless, we have our artifact, and now we move on to our villains!

   I have to admit, I was getting tired of Nazi's being the villains in these movies.  So, I was very excited to hear that Russians would be stepping into the villain's shoes.  It made sense too.  The time period was right, and it was also nearing the nuclear age, as well as the height of the cold war.  There was allot going on at the time, although not many political issues reared their head through the film.  The time period really only worked as a backdrop for Indiana Jones to pose behind, and severed no other purpose than to create a certain atmosphere.  However, the new villain, although fitting the time frame, didn't bring anything relativity new for Indiana Jones to work with.  Every action the Russians took seemed too similar to Nazi's in the previous films.  They must have known this, because they made the lead villain a woman to change things up.  I guess it worked, because she does pull off being intimidating.  However, all throughout the film your wondering why you aren't the least bit phased by any of this.  Well, I'll tell you why.  IT HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE.  All of this, you know what I like to call it?  The Indiana Jones formula.  Every single encounter has been used during the same time in each and every film.  And after the third it should have ended, but right now I'm starting to get ticked off a little bit.

  1. The Artifact
  2. Action Scene
  3. The Hero
  4. Action scene/Chase scene
  5. The Villain
  6. The plan they have with the artifact
  7. Action/Chase scene
  8. Fight with muscle
  9. Climax
   There you have it.  Any time you want to go at an Indiana Jones film, go ahead and use this.  But, why is it that we keep coming back for more?  It's because audiences like predictability.  They like sitting down and watching the same thing.  However, the Indiana Jones films were like high budget episodes of an adventure serial.  They were meant to stand out because they were different from all the other action/adventure serials.  But I have two reasons that I am singling out this film.  One, it steals from its predecessors.  Shouting, "IIINNNDDDYYY!", using a rocket launcher, etc.  Second, almost every idea that was put into this film were throw away ideas from George Lucas.  I don't know why Spielberg didn't stop him.  Their ideas have clashed before, and he's always come out on top.  Y'see there was this idea George had in the late 90's for an Indiana Jones adventure.  It was called:

    Think Indiana Jones 2, only with an alien for a sidekick, and instead of Thuggee's, well... saucer men from mars.  His idea was supposed to pay tribute to the 50's B-movies, an not the serials of the 30's.  I applaud George for branching off to go and do something new, and I do actually believe that aliens in an Indiana Jones adventure could work, if it was done right.  But I'm talking about remodeling his character ENTIRELY to make that work.  If this film was truly a B-Movie, Indiana Jones would spend time in some kind of laboratory, or outside using some kind of high tech equipment.  But, I don't know.

   These movies are viewed mostly for entertainment, and the effects are great in every one of them.  Only this film has aliens.  And that doesn't work as well as you might think.  One of the reasons that I enjoyed the Indiana Jones films was the fact that whatever effects they used, they didn't overuse it.  And it didn't look like... well...a waste.  I do however like the effects that conveyed certain messages, such as the nuclear explosion, and the chase scene in the beginning of the film.  It seemed real, and felt like it fit in with the previous films.  But this thing ^ is unacceptable.  

   And I know, its was 2008, and they felt like they had to @#!*% out with CGI, but you can convey something equally well, with something that's real!  When you have an action scene that you know has little CGI, you become more invested in the characters.  But when you have a scene with the fast car/ boat things going at the same 120 mph speed, and the greaser pulling out the sword, to fight the Russian chick, who also has the same sword, and is dueling the kid in, like, some kind of fencing match, where they don't fall off or anything, and there's, like, one huge stretch of land  because you've got that one cartoon machine with the saws that can cut away all the trees, and Marian is talking to the greaser while she's driving the car real fast, and not looking at the road, and instead telling the greaser how he should duel the Russian chick, and Indiana Jones and that one old guy, are sort of just there, not really doing anything.... THEN IT REALLY TAKES OUT THE TENSION!

   In conclusion, I think I would have liked the film much more if it stood on its own.  Actually, what would have been even better, is if they simply rebooted the franchise.  Y'know, had a younger Indiana Jones and focused on earlier adventures.  They could've done it, because they did it for the opening of, "The Last Crusade."  I suppose Lucas and Spielberg felt that Harrison Ford should be the only Indiana Jones, but the truth was that all the character was, was the whip, jacket, and hat.  However, he was the embodyment of every action/adventure hero in cinema.  Allot of the characters in this film were accidental cutouts, and normally, in any other Indiana Jones film, this would have been fine.  There was only one problem, which was that this film had character development.  Granted, the diner scene is a good example of development, but everything else seemed forced.  There was an incredible amount of hatred toward this film when it came out, and I think it was a bit too harsh.  Sure the movie was bad, but it was enjoyable.  However, viewers wanted this movie to meet its predecessor's hype sooooo much, that they made the film out to be worse than it was.  I say, if you want to watch more Indiana Jones related films look for these:

  1. The Flash Gordon Serials
  2. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  3. Secret of the Incas
  4. Raiders of Ghost City
  5. The Spiders


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Next Review:  Zorro Rides Again 1937