One of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing this year was the return of Indiana Jones. Its been nearly twenty years since Indiana Jones’ last adventure where we joined the character on his search for the Holy Grail. Well what adventure would be exciting enough to bring the character back for yet another adventure, and it seems that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg felt that the “Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” should be that adventure that ushers in a revisit to the world of Indiana Jones. Sadly, I found the adventure to feel like it was blazed on a path already well paved by other movies. While I don’t regret going to see the new Indiana Jones film, it just felt like a big let down for the type of adventure you come to expect from Indiana Jones.
I personally quite enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford embark on another adventure as Indiana Jones. His acting was great. I did like touches that throw back to the earlier films such as a nod to the Ark from Raiders, the convention of flight with the animated flight path on maps, and even nods to characters from previous films not featured here, as well as about the only true genuine laugh I got from the film involving Indy’s dislike of snakes, however, the plot just really failed to serve the sense of adventure I was expecting from a character like Indiana Jones. In fact, I’m almost sure that had the lead character been something new instead of Indiana Jones, I’d have felt less disappointed and might actually feel it was a better movie than I think it is.
The movie just felt like an endless series of homages to other movies, that very little about the plot felt original. Cate Blanchett’s Russian felt like a knock off of Boris and Natasha just without Boris. The presence of John Hurt and the shape of the alien head just felt so much like Alien that I kept waiting for one to burst from John Hurt’s chest. The entire sequence with the ants felt like a similar scene with scarabs from one of the recent Mummy movies. Shia LaBeouf’s character could have been yanked out of American Graffiti or Grease, or just for sheer lameness, West Side Story. The alien plotline felt like a cross between E.T. and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The whole chase through the jungle sequence felt like it was easily ripped off from the James Bond movies or even a much slower paced version of the speeder bike sequence from the Return of the Jedi installment of the Star Wars franchise. (Additionally, I thought it kind of interesting that the vehicles needed a truck to slash away the jungle just to get through it, but as soon as it was damaged, the chase sequence occurs and all the other vehicles could ride practically side by side through the now non-existent thickness of the jungle.)
In and of itself, the movie just felt half-baked. It seems Spielberg and Lucas didn’t spend enough quality time prepping this. Both have done movies so much better than this and truly did a disservice to their Indiana Jones character. The previous movies were too good to be followed up with this. I know Indiana Jones movies are supposed to have a sense of nostalgia for bygone eras and require a lot of suspending of disbelief, but this just was too much of a blatant rip off of several films to feel like it was new. Movies, especially sequels, should feel like a date on the town with the characters, this felt more like an evening with a whore who’s done it all before and the fun was gone before the adventure started.