I can remember my first Indiana Jones experience. I’d always been interested in anything old and strange, so there was a natural hook. I was graduating from high school and had only recently been exposed to this book we call the Bible when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. From the incredible opening scene where that immense boulder came thundering down on Indy after an incredible sequence of death-defying stunts, to the vaporization of Nazis in the hands of angry God, I was awestruck.
The only thing that struck me about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the thought that Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas had again done the impossible: transforming one of the coolest movie franchises in the world into a colossal bore. I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. This latest film is awash with unsurprising sight gags, lifeless dialogue, disconnected scenes, meaningless characters, desperate attempts at humor, contrived relationships, and an unforgivably unimaginative storyline. It was truly a spectacularly supine experience.
In the same way I struggled for superlatives as a high school senior who’d just seen the movie event of his lifetime, it’s difficult to express how bad this movie really is. I thought about conveying my contempt through alternative titles: Indiana Jones and the Tarnished Legacy, Indiana Jones Owes Me a Refund, Indiana Jones and the Search for a Plotline, Indiana Jones and the Uninspired Director, Indiana Jones Gets a Lobotomy or, my current favorite, Barnaby Jones Meets ET (that’s for the over-forty crowd especially insulted by this cheesefest). I kept hoping I’d see the Mystery Science Theatre robots in the lower right-hand corner so I’d be assured this was all in good fun, but alas, it wasn’t to be. I think maybe my teenage daughter said it best: “Dad, I grew up watching the Indiana Jones movies and now it’s all ruined.” Yep.
So who’s to blame for this steaming pile of cinematic crap? It’s easy to blame Steven Spielberg, whose name was splashed across the screen in the TV ads. Sure, Harrison Ford looks old in this movie, but it’s Spielberg who’s showing his age. Frankly-and be honest-what’s the last really entertaining film you saw that Spielberg was connected with? Yeah. It’s been a long time. Your streak is still intact, Steven.
Actually, I blame George Lucas for making my daughter cry. (Okay, she didn’t cry; she just dozed off a few times). After all, he wrote the story. He’s the one who anesthetized us with this mind-numbing dreck. Surely the movie gods of clever script writing must have killed a kitten with each keystroke. But then again, this is the guy who gave us the memorable dialogue of Anakin Skywalker to Natalie Portman (“you’re soft, not like sand”), not to mention Jar-Jar Binks. George, to quote Darth Vader from way back when you could write a good script, “You have failed me for the last time.”
Well, if you’ve enjoyed this review so far I have to warn you that the fun is over. Sorry, but I have to talk about what’s actually in the movie. It’ll only going to be one paragraph so I don’t expect to lose many of you. You may want to have the defribillator handy, just in case.
Basically, the thing – that – would – normally – be – called – a – plot has Indy being forced by Soviet Commies to direct them to an alien corpse hidden away by the government in a warehouse located at what would become AREA-51 in the Nevada desert. Turns out Indy was involved with the Roswell recovery n 1947, ten years earlier. He escapes, is solicited out of the blue by Shia LeBeouf to find an old friend who had discovered a crystal skull, fully detailed with alien almond eye sockets and elongated cranium. The Soviets are after it soon enough, too, since their scholar – babe – in – charge (Kate Blanchett) believes it holds the key to paranormal knowledge and power. (If you’re anticipating the clever connections crafted by Lucas to tie all these elements together, recall the dead kittens I told you about earlier). All of this is just a vehicle, though, for Lucas and Spielberg to promote the idea that space aliens were the gods of antiquity. Wow. Never heard that before. Just one more agonizingly inane lesson for the masses about how humanity owes everything to extraterrestrials. Zecharia Sitchin ought to get a credit at the end. Those of you who are familiar with me of course know what I think of the ancient astronaut nonsense. If not, you do now. In honor of the moment I’m going to begin rewriting (and expanding) my Sitchin critiques right here on PaleoBabble earlier than expected (as in tomorrow). My own happy ending!
I could end here but a spasm of wishful thinking for another cool Indy movie compels me to say something constructive. I know Indy is done, especially since Lucas and Spielberg aren’t going to give up control of this cash cow to anyone who can actually write a great story that would do the Indy tradition justice. But how cool would an Indy movie focused on some real ancient mysteries be? Wouldn’t it be great to see Indy find the lost tomb of Alexander the Great? How about something having to do with what happened to the Anasazi, or Easter Island? How about the Takla Makan mummies or a search for Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat? Heck, even unearthing a giant human skeleton would be light years more interesting than what we just got. Hard to believe that in all the years since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade the best that Lucas and Spielberg could do was this twaddle.
All in all, I can honestly say Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has no redeeming qualities. It was a disappointing, insulting bore.