Monday, June 9, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

In a Nutshell: Disappointing. Not terrible, just not as good as Raiders or Crusade. Perhaps on par with Doom; better in some ways and not as good in others.

Quick Plot: A Soviet KGB agent seeks an ancient crystal skull, reported to have mind control powers. Indy must stop her, both to restore his reputation and to help a kidnapped friend.

In Detail: I honestly don't know what to say about this movie. It just felt... off. It was very strange. Most of the things that critics/reviewers liked about it were the parts I didn't care for, and most of the things that they thought were done poorly were the more enjoyable/important parts for me. The opening sequence, in particular, seemed almost to be a caricature of Indiana Jones movies, as though we weren't really supposed to believe what was going on. Some of that is fine, realizing that Indy can't do what he used to do with his added years (and mileage). It also broke a cardinal rule for me with this kind of "willing suspension of disbelief" film; if you establish the rules of your world as functioning in a particular manner, then you have to stick with your own rules! (Magnetism, for those who have seen it. That's all I'll say here.) Very unusual for Spielberg. To me, the film improved in the realm of believability after this segment, at least somewhat. Despite that, no one in the film seemed to really believe what they were saying, at least not most of the time, particularly on the looped segments (looping is when dialog has to be re-recorded after the scene has been filmed, usually due to excessive background noise of some sort; think dubbing). It did have its moments, don't get me wrong. Some scenes were done very well, and I thought they did an excellent job of lending some weight and importance to Indy's activities since we last saw him. But the pieces of this movie just didn't seem to mesh as well as in previous films. To address the two other primary concerns I have heard from many people: 1) I had no problem with the CG effects in the movie, so don't worry too much about what you have seen in the previews. I was fine with what they did, generally speaking. And 2) yes, Cate Blanchett is a one-sided character, but she is meant to be, much like the high priest in Doom. Given that, she does it well. Just don't expect a deep and multi-layered performance; it was never intended that way.

Will I Buy It? Probably, but more because we feel compelled to than because we liked the movie. ::heavy sigh::