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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.57%
Average: 17.39%
Pretty Bad: 7.45%
Total Crap: 14.29%

9 reviews, 107 user ratings

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
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by Lybarger

"Indy might want to point his whip in a different direction."
3 stars

I don’t attend an Indiana Jones movie expecting rigorous history lessons or deep psychological explorations. Complaining that the characters in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” are one-dimensional is pointless.

The sole reason for the films is to watch Dr. Jones safely emerge from one impossible scrape after another: The bigger and more improbable the crisis, the better. As can be expected, series director Steven Spielberg consistently delivers tasty and fattening eye candy. Unfortunately, the wit that accompanied the spectacle in the previous films returns only fitfully here.

In this adventure, archaeologist and adventurer Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) finds himself pursuing remote treasures, not because he’s out to save the world, but because he’s in trouble back home in the United States.

After being kidnapped by a sword-wielding Soviet spy named Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, with a Louise Brooks hairdo), Jones is forced to relocate a strange relic from a warehouse in a nuclear facility (somewhere near Roswell, NM, no less).

He naturally escapes in typically outlandish manner (remember the technique shown here if you find yourself stuck on an atomic test site about to explode). But the American government that once benefitted from his repeated heroism assumes that he was in cahoots with the treacherous Spalko.

Suspended from his university job, Jones agrees to help a mysterious young motorcycle enthusiast named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) locate his mother in Peru.

Naturally, ancient mystical treasures and current danger await. Credited screenwriter David Koepp (“The Trigger Effect,” “Jurassic Park”) actually comes up with several intriguing ways of updating the saga after a 20-year gap.

The new movie has a field day poking fun at Cold War paranoia and reunites Jones with his “Raiders of the Lost Ark” love interest Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Ravenwood is the only female character who has been able to hold her own against the whip-wielding hero and serves as more than a foil for Jones, so her return is more than welcome.

That said, many of the ideas that are supposed to keep viewers occupied between jaw-dropping stunts are undercooked. Blancett is a suitably cold-hearted villain, but Oscar-nominee John Hurt and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent are grossly over-qualified to play their one-note roles.

Ray Winstone does what little he can as an unscrupulous colleague of Jones’ named McHale. His shifting loyalties should make him a more interesting character, but Keopp and Spielberg don’t give him any real distinguishing traits except for unrelenting greed.

To be fair, Spielberg, unlike his fellow eye candy merchants Michael Bay or series co-creator George Lucas, can coax his performers to look as if they’re having fun playing monochromatic roles instead of merely picking up another paycheck.

The filmmakers wisely decide to acknowledge that Ford isn’t a youngster (characters constantly refer to him as “old man”), but keep the age-related humor to a minimum. In his mid-60s, Ford is in decent shape, so the switches to stunt doubles aren’t jarring.

The Indiana Jones movies are at their best when Ford has a leading performer who can match him as Allen did in “Raiders” or as Sean Connery did in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” LaBeouf is a decent actor and emerges with his dignity intact, but the exchanges Koepp is credited with writing are only marginally amusing.

The artifacts that Jones and his fellow fortune hunters pursue in this effort are disappointing as well. The Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail are unseen but iconic treasures that give the filmmakers enough leeway to create an interesting story.

The crystal skulls that are supposedly pre-Columbian wonders simply aren’t that interesting and encourage Spielberg to repeat his earlier work instead of exploring what new territory for Dr. Jones. The third act suffers from some irritatingly predictable story twists that you won’t need a crystal skull to guess.

The fun of the previous movies can still be found, but you might have to dig like Indy to find it.

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originally posted: 05/23/08 09:35:34
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User Comments

1/29/19 brian Better than I was expecting, but not up to I & III. 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell a good entry in the series forget the haters 4 stars
9/04/16 TonyK Very good. Absurd, OTT, swashbuckling fun with some great camera work and homages. 4 stars
3/30/16 Aj wales Should have stuck to 3. Ford is just to old to take serious. He should put his feet up. 3 stars
3/14/16 Charles Tatum Yikes, this should have been MUCH better. 3 stars
3/25/15 Joey B A great homage to 50's Sci-fi and Cold War B - movies, with stunning visuals. 5 stars
11/10/14 Lisa C Not as good as Raiders or Crusade but much better than the Temple of Crap. 4 stars
12/11/12 Lisa A great movie, so incredibly underrated. 5 stars
9/05/12 Samuel This film basically sucked bad. 1 stars
11/28/11 The Big D More about Indy and his family than any kind of adventure; the series is winding down. 3 stars
5/02/11 Silkworm Indiana Jones and the crock of shit ! 1 stars
2/16/11 Reality Of Films Hey, come on! It's still fun! 5 stars
12/11/10 R.W. Welch Effort to recapture the old magic doesn't quite work but has some moments. C+ 3 stars
6/11/10 Flathead King This film was not worth the wait. 1 stars
3/05/10 Ionicera after 20 years this is the best they could do? 2 stars
1/30/10 Jack The best in the series! 5 stars
1/08/10 Reality Of Films This film is good, and full of action and humor. Don't listen to anyone who says it's bad. 5 stars
7/24/09 alice Really ridiculous and unrealistic, but entertaining nonetheless. 3 stars
5/14/09 Colin M So unfortunate that they ruined a franchise in the effort to make a (lot of) buck(s). 1 stars
3/30/09 Adventure author It's wonderful to see Indy again, win loose or draw. 3 stars
3/16/09 Sam unrealistic.. not that entertaining .. 2 stars
2/28/09 Piz The Mummy starring Harrison Ford instead of Brendan Fraser 2 stars
1/17/09 Aesop Working title: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of WTF?!? 1 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. this isn't going to be as easy as it use to be! :P 4 stars
12/30/08 Justin Makes you wish Indy had drank out of the wrong cup at the end of the Last Crusade. 1 stars
12/26/08 Grace Boring. I swear they recycled most of the dialogue from the older Indiana Jones films. 3 stars
12/20/08 orpy sucks!!! 1 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
11/30/08 Johnnyfaye B movie extravaganza 4 stars
11/10/08 blah blah leave your brain at the door and you will have a good time 4 stars
11/03/08 your worst goddamn nightmare Y'know, it was good; a bit rusty, after all these years, but it was entertaining! 4 stars
10/31/08 Moop Has it's moments and interesting quasi-historical aspects, but felt too clunky 3 stars
10/19/08 Johnnyfaye Hahaha I love it...welcome back Jones! 5 stars
10/18/08 AshleyRockO Great, Fun movie. Indy still has it after all these years. 5 stars
10/16/08 The Anti-Douche In this order: 1, 4, 2 and 3. Last Crusade was lacklustre. 4 stars
10/11/08 Unicorn on the cob Could've done without return of (un-)Karen Allen, and ending is just too over the top. 3 stars
9/17/08 Oiman Not quite as good as Raiders, but I actually thought the aliens were cool! 4 stars
8/29/08 Keithers It's a good movie, people are bashing it cause they want they child hood mvie... 4 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman Pure Kentucky Fried Crap. I wept! 1 stars
7/30/08 the dork knight Doesn't even seem like an Indy movie.... 3 stars
7/23/08 David I expected better from Indy. 3 stars
7/19/08 Susan Lee was expecting much better from spielberg and the cast.. the aliens were cheesy, predictable 3 stars
7/16/08 zenny embarassing for all involved. greatly disappointing. 1 stars
7/14/08 Karen Loved this movie! 5 stars
7/10/08 Bill OReely very entertaining fantasy 4 stars
7/05/08 Samantha Pruitt entertaining, yet REALLY far-fetched, doesn't really fit in wth the other IJ movies. 4 stars
6/24/08 Indrid Cold The worst of the series, but still great. Make another one before Ford gets too old! 4 stars
6/23/08 mr.mike I just wasn't that into it. 3 stars
6/22/08 AnnieG Not as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped. Rates 3rd in the series. 3 stars
6/17/08 Kirk You are a serious tard. 1 stars
6/14/08 Johnnyfaye People say it's flawed but...Raiders was totally flawed...the bad stuff are what make indy. 4 stars
6/11/08 TommyV Flawed, at times ridiculous- but still totally indiana jones 4 stars
6/10/08 Indy fanatic If you don't like this....than you forgotten why you liked indy so many years ago. 4 stars
6/07/08 Ry expecting little... got even less. 1 stars
6/06/08 Ming K I want more....Great actions the reunion with karen allen.... 5 stars
6/05/08 Jayson Bored down to my crystal skull. 2 stars
6/05/08 katmagick This flick was way overdue! Keep 'em coming. 5 stars
6/04/08 Dana The best Indiana Jones I have seen 5 stars
6/01/08 Quigley A worthy predecessor to one of cinema's greatest franchises 5 stars
5/31/08 gerry It was truly great. Not as good as Raiders, but fits nicely alongside the other two. 5 stars
5/30/08 Illusion Loved it. If you didn't, u must be old (LOL) 5 stars
5/30/08 BrizzyMo WELL worth the wait-any1 that disagrees misses the entire point of the franchise. Die. 5 stars
5/30/08 Indy fanatic If you didn't like it you probably over hyped yourselves. Indy is a B movie series remember 4 stars
5/29/08 luke Fukk all the one stars 5 stars
5/28/08 d halberg frickin aliens!!!!! 2 stars
5/28/08 David Horrible movie... 1 stars
5/28/08 NoRefill Not a bad movie, but not an Indian Jones movie. 3 stars
5/28/08 KingNeutron Too many unbelievable sequences - Shia is NOT the way to carry on the franchise 3 stars
5/28/08 Rick One of the worst movies in a while. Indiana Jones meets E.T. on the set of the Ruins 1 stars
5/28/08 Doubler Could'nt wait for it to end, bring, dull, plain ol' crap! 1 stars
5/27/08 J Webster Good...not as good as Raiders but an enjoyable ride and better than The Mummy films.. 4 stars
5/27/08 g awesome 5 stars
5/27/08 I-K Too cartoonish in places, unoriginal ending... might've called it "The mummy returns again" 2 stars
5/27/08 johhnyfog George Lucas and his cute critters stike again!! 3 stars
5/27/08 C Vega good to see indy back...ending was crap tho (ET LOL)...worst of the lot but still good tho 4 stars
5/26/08 Tim Eimiller I had a total blast watching this movie. Loved every ridiculous minute of it. 5 stars
5/26/08 david horribe, if you like this, you must be drunk 1 stars
5/26/08 Will Not Bad. What the hell was up with the monkey sequence? 3 stars
5/26/08 Lord Jiggy Never hit its stride...just off in pacing, humor, and minimal coherence. Even Ford was off 3 stars
5/26/08 Darkstar Um... it was good. Not great. Better than 2, not as good as 1 & 3. 4 stars
5/26/08 AJ Muller Not better than Raiders, but nothing (not even the other 2) is. Great, asskicking fun. 5 stars
5/26/08 George Barksdale Good action, kid did good job, but hate movies with alien implications 4 stars
5/26/08 Koitus Ugh... On par with the 2nd one in the series. I'd recommend waiting to rent it, even. 2 stars
5/25/08 debdahlin Alot of action - but something was missing 4 stars
5/25/08 bob jones this is what lucas and spielberg compromised on? 3 stars
5/25/08 powerloader Utter rubbish. 1 stars
5/24/08 Jim Nowhere near as good as the original three movies. 2 stars
5/24/08 Jeb Springfield This movie was awful. This was like Jar Jar Binks and the Crystal Skull 2 stars
5/24/08 Nick Absolute CRAP 1 stars
5/24/08 Hank Enjoyed it immensely, it despite its flaws 4 stars
5/24/08 Aimee I don't think we saw the same movie. Lucas and Spielberg totally screwed up. 2 stars
5/24/08 lemosley01 I feel as just like I did after Matrix 3 or Episode 2 - abused 2 stars
5/24/08 Brian F What a great time it was seeing this movie. They don't look that old 5 stars
5/24/08 CC Classic status of originals aside, this film is at par with the others. 2nd best in series. 4 stars
5/24/08 JoeJoe Gonsalves - You're in serious denial, if you believe what you wrote here. The movie sucked 2 stars
5/24/08 jackson Indiana Jones... and aliens 1 stars
5/24/08 bullit16 Should have been called "Indiana Jones and the Phantom Mencace." 3 stars
5/24/08 Indy Fan Slower paced than the previous 3, I think Harrison overplayed his age. Still, I enjoyed it! 4 stars
5/23/08 Will Wanted to love it.......but it was just half ass trash 1 stars
5/23/08 Joel The tarzan scene...........what the f..... 1 stars
5/23/08 Eric's Soul Come back Eric, come back. The movie is complete and total crap. 1 stars
5/23/08 dieter It's Indy, with a few "wmah" moments 4 stars
5/23/08 Melindissa I love Indy and the girl, but these CG stunts sucked. spoilt illusion 4 stars
5/23/08 Jackk Silly story, forced acting, poor CGI effects. 1 stars
5/23/08 ahnold Horrible. And I can't say more than that. 1 stars
5/22/08 fhdh cool 5 stars
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  22-May-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2008


  DVD: 14-Oct-2008

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