“I like hat, Doctor Jones. Is sexy.”
Here’s what disappointed me about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
1. Nobody’s face melted off.
Here’s what I liked about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
1. Everything else.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’m not one of those slavering fandorks who believe Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can do no wrong. Spielberg can do wrong. Lucas can definitely do wrong, and I’m not just talking about Howard the Duck. Crystal Skull is not without its flaws. I have not yet determined its rewatchability factor, though I certainly liked it better than Temple of Doom, and if I happen to stumble across Temple of Doom on television I’ll usually end up watching it, even if I have to grit my teeth through Kate Capshaw’s insufferable presence.
As a huge fan of the series, I went into it with fairly high expectations, and those expectations were met, which is about the best you can say for a film series that was never meant to be high art, but rather just fun eye candy meant to be an homage to old adventure movies of the 30s and 40s. One of the things I found most admirable about Crystal Skull is that it wasn’t updated to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd, presence of Shia LaBeouf notwithstanding. It was a movie that took place in the 1950s that, other than the quality of the special effects, looked and sounded like it was made in the 1950s, so in that regard it was a smashing success. Whatever weaknesses the script has, and there are a considerable amount, don’t really become apparent until after you spend some time thinking about what you just saw. Yeah, Mac was a pretty pointless character overall. Sure, unless you’re afraid of bad accents Spalko was really not all that intimidating a villain. And the ending? Yeah, there was a distinct edge of fromage to it. But you know what? When I was actually watching and enjoying the movie, none of that really bothered me, and no, it’s not because I don’t expect enough out of a film for it to be entertaining. I was too busy feeling like I was nine years old again, the age I was when I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time. If you have not a streak of childlike sensibility remaining in you, then, no, it’s not going to be an enjoyable movie, you’re going to be spending too much time looking at your watch, dwelling on the plot holes, and grumbling about how much better Iron Man was. There’s an interesting trend that seems to be developing in the wake of the film’s release, the “Iron Man vs. Crystal Skull” debate, in which apparently you are only permitted to choose one. I saw both, and enjoyed both, but for entirely different reasons, just as I expect to enjoy The Dark Knight, but also for entirely different reasons. Typical of comic book/adventure movie fandom, however, there is no room to enjoy some or all, you just divide your camps and you get strident and obnoxious in your arguments.
Let me wrap this up before I start getting into my rant about how reading film reviews by unqualified schmucks such as myself often makes me want to run to the nearest bell tower with a rifle. The biggest mistake George Lucas made with the Star Wars prequels was trying to dazzle the audience senseless with new, high-tech special effects, without bothering to make his core audience, the fans, remember why they loved the original movies so much. Despite its imperfections, the joy and affection that went into making this film, from all parties involved, really shines through. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t a great movie, but it holds up in comparison to the previous three, and you can’t ask for more than that.
Of course, if you ask this writer here, I’m a brain-dead cretin for accepting and enjoying Crystal Skull on its own merits. Pass the helmets and the ice cream!