Thursday, July 03, 2008

Indy 4

We've been so busy moving and unpacking that I didn't have a chance to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull until yesterday. It was wonderful! (Don't worry, I'm not about to give anything away.)

Most of the reviews I've read said the film has more action and less plot than the previous films, and I agree but that doesn't make this a bad film. Despite the emphasis on action, there are still lots of visual treats that are reminiscent of the previous films, which are a homage to classic B-movies: our first glimpse of Indy's shadow as he puts on his famous hat, the light focused on Indy's eyes in an otherwise dark scene, and several shots of Indy's famous silhouette. My favorite is at the end of the unforgettable opening sequence. You'll see what I mean! Speaking of the opening sequence, I doubt we'll ever see another movie that starts off with such a bang. Wow!

The cast was especially good. Harrison Ford looked great and was the same old Indy but with a little more sarcasm thrown in. Just think of it as a touch of Han Solo. (Speaking of Star Wars, look for the references to Star Wars and Young Indiana Jones in this film. :) Marian Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, was the same Marian we all know and love from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was wonderful to see the two of them together again (characters and actors) and see that their magnificent chemistry is still there.

The rest of the cast was also outstanding. This was the first time I've seen Shia LaBeouf and I was impressed by the fact that he wasn't overshadowed by Harrison Ford. As an actor he is nowhere near Ford's caliber yet but he can hold his own. Cate Blanchette was amazing, as she always is, and very convincing as the leader of the evil Ruskies. (I didn't think of Galadriel or Elizabeth except to marvel at her acting ability.) I didn't recognize John Hurt as Professor Harold "Ox" Oxley, a colleague of Marian's dad, but that's probably because he's so convincing in any role he plays!

I was sorry to hear that Denholm Elliott, who played Indy's boss Dr. Marcus Brody, had died. There are nice tributes to him throughout the sequences at Marshall College. I found three. How many can you find? Jim Broadbent was a perfect choice for Indy's new boss and old friend, Dean Charles Stanforth. I can't figure out where I've seen him before but he kind of reminds me of Jack Coleman who plays Claire's dad (aka HRG or "Horn Rimmed Glasses") on Heroes, but maybe it's just the glasses.

I was also hoping, despite the producers' denial, that Sean Connery might put in a surprise appearance at the end, a la Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Sadly, the film made it clear that like Dr. Marcus Brody, Dr. Henry Jones Sr. had died since the the last film. Crap! I also missed John Rhys-Davies as Indy's friend Sallah (from Raiders and Last Crusade) and am sorry he wasn't in this film.

Those rumors you've heard about the plot involving aliens? Don't believe everything you hear. The supernatural element isn't quite up to par with Raiders or Last Crusade, but it's less disappointing than you might expect if you listen to rumors.

For those worried about spiders, snakes, etc.: arachnophobes have nothing to worry about. There is one big snake (Of course! What's an Indy film without Indy confronting a snake?), large scorpions, and ants. No bugs, spiders, or other disgusting things, probably because they overdid those in Temple of Doom.

For soundtrack fans, this one is a must. It combines motifs from all three movies, of course. I don't own it yet but even after only seeing the movie once I clearly heard famliar themes throughout the film (music we associate with Marian, Dr. Henry Jones Sr./the Grail, the Ark, etc.) as well as music for the new characters and adventures. Best of all, of course, is the familiar, rousing Indiana Jones theme. Will I buy the soundtrack? Most likely. Will I see the film again? You bet! And I want the DVD. Thank goodness Indy is back!

Related Web Sites:
Indiana Jones (official site)
The Raider (unofficial fan site. WARNING: contains spoliers!)

1 comment:

Brad hansen said...

Speaking of karen Allen, I wrote an unsolicited script for Starman 2 back in 1998. It was my first script and I quit college to finish it. It’s been gathering dust ever since. I sent it to Jeff Bridges and John carpenter, although I would prefer if Carpenter didn’t direct a sequel. I wrote some good f/x sequences and some interesting characters. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be involved, but I’d to see the f/x scene from the beach being incorporated, (Jeff’s manager Neil will know the one, totally plagiarised from another movie, but it would look great on film today). If anyone has any questions, email me at and I’ll answer them. (Although I won’t give away any plot points. And yes there is a son and indeed, I actually have the perfect casting suggestion!!