In light of this week's announcement regarding a new Indiana Jones film coming in 2019 -- and the resurrection of snarky criticisms about the 2008 entry in the saga, I thought it would be an ideal time to re-post this review.
Although it remains a perennial source of ridicule and scorn for many disenchanted fans, the fourth, much-delayed installment in the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) franchise is, overall, a charming throwback to the other entries in the long-lived adventure series.
To help them locate this artifact in the vast Hangar 51, the Russkies have captured archaeologist and war hero Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). In 1947, he was part of the team that investigated the UFO crash at Roswell, where the alien skull was first tagged, and Spalko believes he can locate the corpse.
Even the sense of movie romance is gone: Batman doesn’t save the film’s damsel in-distress…she gets blown up! This is another reflection of 21st century “realism.” Gazing at the film objectively, it’s fair to state that virtually every imaginative and fantasy element has been shunted from the Batman format so as to make it feel “real” (and very unlike the “camp” 1960s TV series, or the Schumacher movie entries).
|The ants of The Naked Jungle (1954)|
|The ants of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)|
|The saucers of Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956).|
|The saucer of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.|
|Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953)|
|Mutt Williams in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.|
|The Age of God, and Indiana Jones is there.|
|The Age of Man, and Indiana Jones is there.|
When I watched this film again recently, I came to the (surprising...) conclusion that Crystal Skull features the same weaknesses and the same strengths as other series entries. If you liked those films, there's no particularly compelling reason not to like this one too. All the Indiana Jones films are essentially non-stop roller coaster rides and pastiches that hop with cinematic dexterity from jaunty dialogue scenes to exaggerated, over-the-top action sequences.
That pretty much describes Kingdom of the Crystal Skull too.