Friday, May 30, 2008

Maybe it's time to hang up the hat and whip for good

Indy's back, and he may be significantly older, but he's still the same whip-cracking, wise-cracking archaeologist-slash-adventurer from the beloved 80s trilogy. Harrison Ford, surprisingly showing signs of having aged gracefully since The Last Crusade, returns for a 4th outing as Indiana Jones, and this time he's in search of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. With him is Shia LaBeouf (LOVE him), who plays his greaser sidekick Mutt to slick perfection, and the terrific chemistry between them is what rescues Indy 4 from being an outright disappointment. Blame it on lame plot points, or sloppy writing, or careless direction, or Cate Blanchett's erratic Russian accent, but this much-anticipated movie lacked the magic of its 3 predecessors. Because Indy 4 was a pet project of power pair George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, one can't help but have high expectations for it, fan of the original movies or not. Sadly, my expectations were not met.

Sure, there were moments of gold which evoked the trilogy's charm: the old Paramount Studios logo at the beginning of the opening credits; a photo of Sean Connery on Indy's desk (although a cameo from Henry Jones, Sr. would have been much better); the line "I have a bad feeling about this" slyly inserted in the script; a cool car-motorcycle chase sequence through Princeton; the reappearance of
Marian Ravenwood, Indy's spunky love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark; a swarm of monster red ants; and my personal favorite scene that had the ophidiophobic Indy sinking in quicksand and refusing to grab on to the only available lifeline (can't explain without spoiling it). But the golden moments were just not enough to compensate for the bizarre sci-fi twist the storyline took, or the weak Cold War premise (the Soviet baddies, including Blanchett's merely mildly menacing Irina Spalko, were more James Bond than Indiana Jones).

So far Iron Man has been THE movie of the summer for me, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn't quite measure up. That being said, Indy is still Indy, and it's hard not to love him, wrinkles, gray hair, jowls, flimsy outrageous plot and all.


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