Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

Well, I'm exhausted, but it was worth it.

The best part about Indiana Jones for me growing up was that it taught me the meaning of the phrase "Out of the frying pan, into the fire."  I think the first time I ever heard that phrase was when my mom used it to sum up what exactly Indy was all about and why he was so darned exciting.

Well, in the latest installment, Indy is firmly in the frying pan to start things off, and we don't even get an explanation as to how he got there.  We just get to see him work to get out of the frying pan into the hottest fire even Indy has ever faced.  (And this is the man who was there when someone tried to open the Ark, and you saw, although Indy thankfully didn't, what happened after that.  I refuse to acknowledge that there are people who haven't seen what happened after that.)

The film isn't up to the strength of Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade (but then I have to admit I'm a little biased, I always enjoy Indy's bible based adventures a little more then his lost civilization adventures) but I think it's actually better then Temple of Doom.

The thing to keep in mind is that twenty years have passed, and the world is a different place.

The serial type adventures on which this series's films are based are different as well, and the movie does a good job in reflecting that in its plot.  While the thirties and forties were action based, religious mythological artifact adventures, the fifties were all about the possibility of life on other planets, and this film doesn't ignore that intrigue of this time period.

While the film is more Temple of Doom in plot then Raiders or Crusade, it definitely feels more like Raiders in a lot of ways.  Not just the reintroduction of the best leading lady that Indy has ever had in Karen Allen as Marian (you gotta go Marian, cause "There were a lot of Mary's kid") Ravenwood, but a few subtle nods to the first film in the series as well (and a few not so subtle nods, I see you Ark of the Covenant).

Being the first film in the series to air after the television show Young Indiana Jones, I love that they actually made a nod to that show, with Indy telling Mutt about an adventure in the show, as well as taking the spirit of the Indiana Jones was part of history as we know it aspect of the show and adding that into this film.

It would have been easy to make a disappointing film, and if your hopes were that the film would be the best of the series, perhaps you will be disappointed, but if you're looking to recapture that Indiana Jones magic, then come prepared to hop straight out of the frying pan into a nuclear explosion and to have a hell of a good time while doing it.

Oh Indy, how did we ever survive so long without you?

Until Next Time, the summer season continues to go strong, especially if you decide to ignore the flop of Speed Racer, which I did by deciding not to see it.

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