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Friday, October 03, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

**** Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Action/adventure.

Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen

We saw this at the Hercules, before our trip to the States.

Indiana Jones is back, and the story fits the franchise: Indy (Harrison Ford) is looking for an artifact, and some bad guys want to get it first/take it from him for nefarious purposes. Did I leave anything out? Not really. The details are where the differences are:

Raiders of the Lost ArkIndiana Jones and the Temple of DoomIndiana Jones and the Last CrusadeIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
artifactArk of the Covenanta precious stoneHoly Graila crystal skull
supernatural elementJudeo-ChristianIndian god*Christianaliens
location of artifactEgyptIndia*VenicePeru
sidekicksJohn Rhys-Daviesprecocious kidJohn Rhys-Davies, Sean ConneryShia LaBeouf
love interestMarion Ravenwood, who's independent and capableWillie Scott, who does nothing but squeal and complain, but hey, she's blondeDr. Elsa Schneider, who's also the villainMarion Ravenwood
adversariesNazisIndian warlord*NazisRussians
my rating*****+***½*********

It's interesting--maybe only to me, but each of the elements seems to have affected how much I enjoyed the movies. Well, maybe not the locations so much, but it does seem that looking for South American artifacts isn't a good idea for Dr. Jones.*

Looking for an artifact with some legend behind it--a legend that the audience is at least marginally familiar with (okay, that I'm familiar with), is a good start, as is having a sidekick and a love interest who are more equal partners with Indy. And the Nazis are always good adversaries, with the Russians a close second. Some anonymous South American warlord just doesn't pack the same punch.

And the supernatural element: Judeo-Christian works, because it's something we're familiar with, and... I hate to say it's real, but at the very least, it's a real belief. Was the god in Temple of Doom a real South American belief? I don't know, but it didn't feel real. Same with the aliens in this one.

I do think Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull fits in well with the rest of the series. It's not the worst of the movies, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford in this role again. It was wonderful to have Marion back, and played by Karen Allen. Huge kudos to the Spielberg/Lucas team for not succumbing to the Hollywood standard of getting a 20-years-younger actress to step in to an established role while keeping the leading man the same. There were plenty of fun stunts, laughs, exciting chases, and perilous situations, like a rocket sled escape and killer ants.

* Thanks to Heather for clarifying the location for me!

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I thought Crystal Skull a more than adequate installment to the series, and my friend and I both enjoyed it.

BTW, some of the info you have for Temple of Doom is incorrect. The action took place in India and the bad guys were the Thuggee religious cult, with black magic being the supernatural element.

And I agree with you--that chick screeched WAY too much.
Oooh I love the chart! :) Very helpful!
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