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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Well, the time has come. The moment in the movie calendar that everyone has been waiting for. Literally, everyone.

I managed to get into a preview screening last night, and I don’t think I have ever seen so much buzz and excitement surrounding one film. People were rushing up to me asking how I got tickets and others were walking past dropping all of the typically British standards of NOT talking to strangers and quite happily telling me they were so excited they could wet their pants. Which I was thoroughly pleased to hear. As for the film, I won’t be doing a big ol’ review like most of you guys here because frankly I haven’t got the time and most of you will no doubt roll one out anyway, but here’s my take on what I saw last night.

From the very beginning it is evident that the rumours about Lucas and Spielberg sticking to the old school style of the previous films are true, so fans will be pleased from the opening shot. (I was sitting there with a big fat smile on my face as soon as the lights went down) Straight away you’re thrown into the action like the previous three films, but shortly through the first half of the film, they make it clear that you are dealing with a new Indiana Jones. A new war is being fought, with new enemies and new weapons, and with a MASSIVE action sequence in the first half that will either leave you gobsmacked or shaking your heads, it’s a bold statement to let you know the formula for this film is going to be quite different from its predecessors. From this point onwards the story gets quite silly, and it becomes clear that this is a film most certainly made for the fans and not directed at an audience unfamiliar with the franchise. There are nods to missing characters, hidden artefacts from the past films and old relationships rekindled with lighthearted bickering. Again you will either greet these moments with happy nostalgia, or this manipulation will leave you feeling like it’s a bit of a cop out. By the end of the film the story has taken a radical twist, entirely different from the format of the previous films and the sillyness meter goes into overload. Saying this though, I still found it incredibly enjoyable.
When the first action sequence kicks in, and John Williams superb score kicks off, all my worries about the film slipped away and I was just happy to see Indie back on the screen. And I think it’s this fact that will mean you will either love or loath this new addition. If you go into this expecting a film on par with Raiders and Crusade then you will be disappointed. Those films were made for a different audience, twenty odd years ago, and this new addition is simply for the fans craving a whole big pile of Indie action. The light hearted banter, historical references and character development is pushed aside for pure thrills. And if you are willing to let yourself get caught up in the nostalgia and excitement of seeing an old school Hollywood character on the screen cracking his whip, then you will most certainly not be disappointed. There were times during the beginning of the film, when I was happily thinking it was nice to see an old school movie released again, made by the pro’s who bought me so many fond memories watching the original trilogy as a child. If I was to summarise the film on some sort of line graph of enjoyment, I would say the film starts off high, sloping down in a steady, yet slight curve that remains constant until towards the end, when it descends into the area of ‘OK’. So basically, Amazing start, great middle, good finale, OK ending.

Ford is again brilliant at playing an older, more sedate Jones. At first sight I thought he looked ravaged, but as soon as he smiles and he starts jumping around, all the fears of him being too old for the role are lost. Cate Blanchett is SUPERB as the evil villain. From her odd haircut, to her pale large eyes and her strange sword fighting she is excellent from the start. When she reveals to Indie the Soviet Unions reasons behind why they need the crystal skull, the speech will give you goosebumps. Excellent hints at Invasion of the bodysnatchers style paranoia. Lebouf is surprisingly great as Indies sidekick, and to some of my friends horror, he ends up stealing the show on the action stakes, especially for the latter half of the film, leaving Indie to take a back seat (literally). Karen Allen’s Marion and Ray Winstone’s Mac are a bit of a pointless addition to the film. They serve their purpose but mostly remain obsolete for a lot of it. As for the rest, the cinematography is superb once again, with some truly amazing shots of both Indie and Blanchett’s Spalko. And the score again is genius.

Things I liked? Someones face melts again, this seems to be a recurring theme through the franchise and im glad it wasn’t dropped for the new film.

Things I didn’t like? You know when Indie drops his hat just as a trap door is closing or something like that? Well this seems to happen in almost every single scene throughout the new film. He should get the thing stapled to his head.

The best way to sum it up? Well what ive been saying to my friends is, you know the bit in Temple of Doom when they jump out of the plane and use the rubber dingy to sail to the ground? Well that bit’s stupid right? And you know it could never happen, but still find it really enjoyable? That’s pretty much the entirety of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

(Thanks Chris )