It's been nearly twenty years since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out in theaters. I was thrilled when I heard that new a Indiana film starring Harrison Ford was due to be released this summer. After an impatient wate, I saw it a couple of nights ago with my sister and my uncle.
It was entertaining, but I was left disappointed. It started off like an Indiana Jones movie and ended like a cheesy Star Trek episode. Never would I have expected an Indy movie to devolve into a Sci-Fi movie. Toward the end I was wondering if Will Smith was about to jump out wearing a black suit.
Harrison Ford was good and Shia LaBeouf proved once again that he's an excellent actor. Cate Blanchett mastered yet another accent, this time Russian, and she made a very convincing villain.
My biggest disappointment is that the film (like the flop Temple of Doom) lacked the spiritual romance of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. Those two movies revealed that Indy was a kind of Samson - he could fight, pull down temples, and could be tangled up by beautiful women; however, he had reverence for the sacred. Recall how Indy closed his eyes when the Ark was opened and how Indy Sr. (Sean Connery) slapped "Junior" across the face for taking the name of the Lord in vain. And I'll never forget the constant stuttering of Indy as he entered the shrine of the Holy Grail: "Only the penitent man shall pass. Only the penitent man shall pass. Only the penitent man shall pass."
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was about space aliens and their crystal skulls entombed in Meso-America. That kind of plot does not resonate with me and it does not pull the heartstrings of your typical American. For example, was it convincing to see Indy squirm while looking into the eyes of the crystal skull? No! Didn't George Lucas learn his lesson with The Temple of Doom? People like Judeo-Christian motifs. They add adventure. Everyone basically recognizes the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. But crystal skulls belonging to space aliens? Give me a break.
The movie had several deus ex machina sequences that were funny. First, Indy survives a nuclear blast by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. Again, Indy and gang survive three sequential waterfall drops. Unbelievably comic. I enjoyed them and had a good laugh.
I will say, that the ant scene is awesome.
So if you see Indy 4, you'll likely be both entertained but saddened by the ending. I think that George Lucas is quirky and he has so much money that he can do whatever he wants, even if it's silly (Jar Jar Binks, the gophers in Indy 4?).
I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone else who has seen it. What did you think? Drop a line in the comments below.