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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 William Goss

"Now, Where the Hell is That 'Howard the Duck' Sequel?!?"
4 stars

Whether he knew it or not, it would appear that Steven Spielberg has brought himself full circle with 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'. After all, it was only 1993 when he delivered “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making”, and since then, bringing dinosaurs back for more action outings seem the new par for the course. Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh took up the badge six years after they once again proclaimed themselves to be too old for, well, this stuff. John McClane followed suit in twice the time. Rocky Balboa put the gloves back on after sixteen years, and John Rambo picked that knife of his back up after two whole decades. So, for anyone to dust off the fedora and thrust archeologists back into the spotlight, it had to be Spielberg, and yes, it must be Indiana Jones.

Indy (Harrison Ford) is indeed older, and if not wiser, then more invested in the education he imposes upon America’s youth; it is now 1957, and our man’s historical expertise is all he can offer both at his age – a time where “life stops giving us things and starts taking them away” – and in an age where the mysticism of faith finds itself buried by the progress of science. When a run-in with Russians – the new Nazis, natch – prompts the suspicious American government to take Indy’s collegiate career away from him, in rolls Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), a young greaser who wants Indy’s help in locating a mutual mentor (John Hurt) who was himself looking for a legendary crystal skull… one it just so happens that steely-eyed Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) is seeking on behalf of her buddy, Stalin.

Spalko is fascinated by psychic phenomena, and while she may not actually demonstrate any capabilities of her own – beyond an oddly alluring bob haircut – that makes her no less formidable an adversary. Mutt, meanwhile, fares better once he drops the Grease audition act somewhere between the States and the jungles of Peru, even if he – and we – are then subjected to some terribly indulgent goofiness; an often exhilarating mid-point car chase is distracted by Mutt falling victim to groin hits and, at one point, pulling a Tarzan amidst the vines. (And yes, whatever greater connection you suspect that Mutt might have to our dear Dr. Jones is likely accurate, if the play on names, span of time, and reappearance of original old flame Marion Ravenwood didn’t give things away.) Hurt gives his all to wide eyes and cryptic mumbling; Jim Broadbent puts in an all-too-brief appearance as Marcus Brody’s apparent successor; and Ray Winstone breaks the world’s sidekick treachery record (or does he?) as Mac, a fellow archeologist who I can only presume, for all his sleazy deeds, has been named after a certain corporate-sponsored E.T. knock-off. Ford, meanwhile, does his trademark gruff routine better than he has in the years since Last Crusade, and the aw-shucks guffaw that appears on his face upon reuniting with the likes of Karen Allen all but defines the character in a singular expression.

Thus, off goes Indiana, charting red lines across the globe once more and running into dangers new and old. No, it’s no Raiders of the Lost Ark, but in a new era, and for a new generation, this is a welcome continuation in the escapist spirit that has perpetually eluded the likes of Tomb Raider, The Mummy, and National Treasure, action-adventure scavenger hunts that are undoubtedly indebted to this series before any other. Considering how the initially rollicking Pirates of the Caribbean series collapsed in on itself in a flurry of numbing digitized spectacle at this time last year, one could only hope that this serves as a refresher course on how today’s flashiest filmmakers might do well to balance out their whiz-bang showmanship with something resembling actual character or craft; while it’s moderately disconcerting to think that Shia and Spielberg have teamed up – and will team right back up – to prove that big-budget effects don’t necessarily equal instant fun with Transformers, all it takes is the likes of one mostly practical and entirely gripping motorcycle chase to prove that the old-fashioned way need not also be the way of the dinosaur.

While the glories of today’s digital effects do indeed rear their pixels more than ever before in the series (contrary to the earliest assurances), it’s hard to deny that behind all the zeroes and ones and dollars and cents is an admirably go-for-broke effort from Ford, Spielberg, and producer George Lucas to recapture what made its predecessors so endearing. They seem to fashion a maxim out of one of Spalko’s first lines - “We will do this – what is the expression? – old-fashioned way” - and yet, beyond the singularly no-duh purpose of LaBeouf’s character (no, I don’t want to see Mutt Williams and the Battle for Civil Rights… a notion only slightly assuaged by the final wink-nudge note that closes the film) and beneath the ostensible homages to Lucas’ American Graffiti and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (hey, who better than them to craft nods to their own work?) lay a curious desire of the wonder duo to acknowledge that their adventurer finds himself living in the equally foreboding shadows of the atomic bomb and the nuclear family, anxieties which come to overlap for one fleeting pressure cooker sequence but leave a haunting impression that this world may have placed Indy in an existential cliffhanger from which he actually may not be able to escape.

Oh, thematics, schematics. We're not exactly talking 'No Country for Old Indy' here, just a welcome fourth helping of gangbusters matinee fodder. For a long-awaited follow-up to such a seminal franchise, it’s good enough as to not trash any sacred memories. It’s good enough to stand on its own as a slam-bang summer blockbuster. And it’s good enough to make you wish that more filmmakers would be willing to settle for nothing less than what Spielberg and Lucas are going for. Like a wooden rollercoaster, it may get creaky and it may be clunky, but it delivers visceral thrills to be found nowhere else. And that’s good enough for me.

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originally posted: 05/22/08 12:30:14
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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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