I can no longer say “Indy, I love you!” with the same vigor as I used to. The first half of the film was exactly what I thought it would be, entertaining, meaningless fun. Some of the stunts were, simple, feasible, and enjoyable. It had elements of the first films that I loved, an ordinary guy in extraordinary circumstances. Indiana Jones isn’t a superhero, he’s just as awesome dude. Then as the second half of the film rolled around, the special effects kicked in, any idea of reality, plot, or meaning disappeared and the film turned into a middle of the road chase film. Indiana Jones shouldn’t have have Star Wars type effects, yet for some reason (COUGH Lucas) there was. What’s great about Indiana, is that he gets punched, is constantly an inch away from death, and yet in the end he still wins. He’s the everyman’s hero. With all the added in CGI, the characters began acting like cartoons with no real sense of consequence and as a result you stop caring about them as humans and you lose what makes Indiana Jones so great. The humanity.
I think what I’ve decided is that I prefer Spielberg when he doesn’t have ridiculous special effects or CGI. I think the shark in Jaws looked more real and believable than anything in The Crystal Skull. There are moments that are textbook Spielberg and whether you like that or not, he does it well. Then it’s just mulled over with pointless, unrealistic shots that have just become tiresome.
First, the good-ish news. The John Williams score was, well the same as it always was, great. When the movie begins and that theme comes on, it can’t help but warm your heart, but that wasn’t quite enough for me.
The acting was as good as it could be. Harrison Ford, is and will forever be awesome at what he does. Cate Blanchett, normally rocks my world, but her character was completely one dimensional and didn’t have the depth she is capable of. Every villain needs a weakness and/or a special power for an audience to find them engaging, she had nothing. She had a sword and a lot of guys with guns. When it came time to use her sword it wasn’t that special. The rest of the time she didn’t actually do anything other than have guys point guns at people, that’s not interesting. Shia LaBeouf, like in Transformers, made something fun and entertaining out of very little. He did have some depth, but because of the situation, it’s hard to really care about his character. I would really like to see him do something with no action in it and so that we can actually see his talent. Ray Winston’s character was the most disappointing. Like with Blanchett, he was a villain that didn’t have any heart or special talent. They tried to give him all these twists, but they were so all over the charts you couldn’t stay focused or interested in his character for long.
Basically they are all great actors who never REALLY got a chance to act because they were so busy doing fight sequences. Which leads me to my next point.
Indiana Jones is supposed to be an adventure movie, NOT a chase movie. I’m still not sure who was chasing who, why they were going so fast, or where they were all going to, but they all just kept moving. There never seemed to be a good reason for why they were doing what they were doing. No one other than Blanchett cared about the skull, which made me wonder why so many of the characters were willing to risk life and limb for something they were not even invested in. And the line “because it told me to” is not a good enough reason! That’s cheap writing.
The biggest problems I had with this film is the script. Why anyone let’s George Lucas near a pen I’ll never know. The man should be banned. Lucas can make things look pretty on screen but that’s it. Lucas should not be allowed to have any more say over the written word. He’s killing it. Quickly. All the second half of the film is, is one excuse after another for a chase, fight and/or chase/fight scene. In the old Indie films, there was a reason for him to go places, there was a reason behind the artifact he was finding, and he was passionate about the mission he was on. AKA there was a reason for the film. I still have no clue what the crystal skull actually does or what value it holds over Indy or any of the characters. It does things that cause cool special effects, but nothing else. A sparkly skull (which looks like it’s filled with tin foil) is not enough to distract from the meaninglessness.
But everything above is somewhat, what I expected. Almost everything above was acceptable. The real ball buster, the thing that made me dislike the film, was the fact that there were fucking aliens! This is not ET. This is not Star Wars. This is INDIANA JONES. I want to see ancient temples, I want to see artifacts, I want to hear about the past. I DO NOT WANT ALIENS WITH MY INDY! And if there are, there better be a damn good reason! And there isn’t. Why alien? No idea? What do they do? Not sure. Is it a good thing the temple has been destroyed and the aliens have been released? Is it bad? WHO KNOWS!?
To me, all this film was, was an excuse to build to rides at Disneyland. Why fall down three waterfalls? I am willing to place a $100 bet that within the next 10 years there will be a log ride in Disneyland with three waterfalls. Before that though, you’ll be racing other logs with monkeys and LaBeouf flying over your head. The cast must have had to spent half the time drenched in water scene there were so many water scenes. Then of course there will be a spinny room where you get caught on the sides with 13 aliens looking at you. Oh yeah, that’ll be in adventure land.