Review: New Indy's Most Deadly Trap Is the Movie Itself

Illustration for article titled Review: New Indy's Most Deadly Trap Is the Movie Itself

Yesterday I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Like a kid, I went to the movie theater ready for all the popcorn cinema fun I could get—the crazy chases, the fights, bugs, snakes, temples, tombs, skeletons and all the deadly machines and ancient gadgets that they could throw at me. In fact, I've been ready for them since the end credits of the Last Crusade. Right there, as the lights went down, waiting for the first notes of the theme song, I was ready to shiver and jump in my seat. I was ready for the ride. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)


And I got it. I got goosebumps too. And then, as I was thinking "this is going to be so amazingly cool," all my hopes were shattered by a script that went downhill after the first 30 minutes. Because simply put:


It sucks not because it's not Fellini or Kubrick. I don't want that when I go to see Indy. It just sucks because it didn't suspend my disbelief for more than five minutes at a time. From the moment Indy gets into a lead-lined fridge to survive an atomic explosion—landing miles away without an scratch—to the chase in the jungle in which Shia LaBeouf jumps from tree to tree like Tarzan, then manages to jump onto the baddies' car and beat their asses (with the help of, get this, two dozen wild monkeys who suddenly decide LaBeouf/Jar Jar is one of them). Yes, it's the fucking Ewoks all over again. Damn bloody Ewoks and damn friggin' Return of the Jedi.

But I digress—let me get back to "THIS MOVIE SUCKS."

You see, maybe Crystal Skull doesn't suck that bad because of the movie itself. Maybe it sucks because I'm an Indiana Jones fanboy. After all, I named our dog Jones, and I would name my future son or daughter Indiana (somewhere in his/her name, not as a main one) whenever Addy and I have them. So maybe it's just that. I could be one of those bitter naysayers who wanted the perfect Indy movie. That's what Lucas and Spielberg say in every interview: "most fans won't like the movie."

Sadly, they are wrong.

The movie still sucks on its own, it sucks on its own cinema-making merits. Some of the editing is terrible, cutting the rhythm of the action scenes, and stopping the flow overall—and some of the acting and special effects are not much better, almost as bad as fake LEGO boulders.


And then again, maybe I am bitter.

Perhaps I'm bitter because, since they didn't make the movie flow as it should, they have wasted an amazing opportunity. Because the story itself, the Soviets trying to get alien technology to take over the world, is a great premise for any movie, not just Indiana Jones. And since I love science fiction, UFOs, aliens, obscure civilizations, and Indiana Jones, this movie had all the elements to become the best Indy movie of all time.


Yes, maybe it's just that: I'm sad to see the last opportunity to get a perfect story with the perfect protagonist just right. But at the end, I keep thinking that—unlike Iron Man, this amazing trailer should have never been made into a full movie. Instead, we should have kept it in our imaginations forever.


Ah well, at least we have all the merchandise! Time to put on my fedora and take my whip elsewhere. Or maybe go play with my Indy LEGOs.



P.P.S. I rest my case.





I liked it. So did my kids. Most of us forget that when we saw these movies the first time around, we were kids. I was barely in double digits when Star Wars came out. Now we see them through sepia-tinted glasses, and no sequel can ever live up. (Not that I'm saying those Star Wars sequels didn't suck hairy ass. They did. And hard.) But this one I liked. Sure, I'd like to edit out the monkeys, and some of the action scenes went on too long and were too ridiculously overboard.

The thing is, I knew what I was getting into. Ya gotta turn off some of your adult critical faculties at the door. I laughed uproariously at some of the crazily audacious stuff. My wife said I looked like a ten-year-old all the way through it. So did my actual ten-year-old.

Some of you wouldn't be satisfied with any Indy movie. If it was more ancient gods, you'd say, "Blah, more ancient gods." If its action moments were only exactly as over-the-top as earlier Indy action moments, you'd say, "Blah, why doesn't he take it up a notch." Turn all that off, I say, and just have a good time. This is (sings) "Indiana-fuck-ing-jones. Indiana-mocther-fuck-ing-Jones."