Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

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Guys, we are finally here… the final part in my series of “Indiana Jones” reviews. I apologize for it being a bit later than expected though. I had planned to release it on Monday, but I got really sick so I wasn’t able to do anything. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I chose to just relax and recover from the rest of it. But now I am feeling well and ready to review the movie for you… so let’s end this damn series, already.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.

Indy (Harrison Ford) is back aaaand he’s old. This time he goes on an adventure where he has to find the mysterious Crystal Skull. On this adventure he has teamed up with a young man named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) to do this. He is also always in the sights of a bunch of Soviet soldiers (No Nazis? That’s kinda refreshing) and their dangerous leader, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). And the plot in this movie is, it is… it’s… I don’t know what to say. There is a MacGuffin… but there are also a few small twists on the “Formulana Jones” as I’ve decided to call it. I don’t know how to talk about the plot anymroe without going into spoilers… it’s kind of weird. I can say that I didn’t enjoy the plot as much as in the previous three films, but I didn’t think it was offensively bad either.

Where the plot might lack some in enjoyment for me, I think the characters almost make up for it. Harrison Ford is still great as Indy, even though it had been almost 20 years (Jesus tapdancing Christ) since he had played the character last time. He gives a really good performance as Indy, even managing to portray that Indy had aged quite a bit. He also still has that awesome smirk that I just love. I know that Shia LaBeouf is made fun of a lot these days for being… weird (to put it gently), he isn’t too bad in this movie overall. His performance is just fine, it’s the writing he got that isn’t really too great… it’s not very good. If only they had written him a little better, I wouldn’t have any problem with him at all. Cate Blanchet: beautiful woman, great actress… odd villain. I’m not saying that she’s a bad choice, au contraire, I love the idea. Her performance is still good, and she works fine as the villain I guess, even though I don’t find her particularly intimidating like Toht in “Raiders” or the Kali Ma guy in “Temple”. Then we also get some good supporting roles too, such as that of Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Karen Allen (welcome back). Jim Broadbent is also in this movie.

The score for this movie was just like in the previous three, composed by the one and only John Williams. And again, it is great. Let’s face it, John Williams is a masteful composer of music for films, and the “Indiana Jones” movie have some of his best tunes ever… even if I think his best song might be the “Jurassic Park” theme, but that is a story for another day… NEXT PART.

Steven Spielberg decided to come back to direct this fourth installment of the franchise and I guess he did a good job. I mean, his direction overall was pretty good, it’s Steven fucking Spielberg we’re talking about… but there is a thing that prevents me from appreciating it as much as I should… This movie looks fake as shit. CGI here, CGI there, CGI EVERYWHERE! There is also a shit-ton of green screen, not very well implemented if you ask. It all looks so artificial that I was actually groaning when I watched the movie. Sure, some of teh visual effects looks fine… but a lot of shit just looks… BLEH! Sure, there are a few actual sets in the movie as well, and they look terrific… props to the people who put those together. But the action in the movie (while ridiculous) is actually pretty good. Ford still gets to kick a bit of ass in the movie, and LaBeouf gets to have some fun himself… except for that “Tarzan” bit… *Shivers*. But there’s also some pretty good humor in the movie to help try to balance it out… *under breath* god damn it, Lucas…

This movie has certainly gotten some mixed reception by people and critics alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a bit of a mixed bag for me. The story is averagely enjoyable, the characters/acting I enjoyed, the music is great, the directing is, but the CGI/green screen isn’t that great… at least the action and humor is pretty good. Time for my final score. *DUN DU DUN DUUUUN*. My final score for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a 7,45/10. While not one of the better movies in the series, I’d still say that it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Indiana Jones and the Kingomd of the Crystal Skull” is now done.

I still have one more “Indiana Jones” related post planned in the future, so look forward to that. Other than that… I am done with these movies (on my blog, that is).

 

Movie Review: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Most movies I review are ones that I have never seen before, but on occasion it happens that I do one that I have seen before. This is such a movie. The backstory to why I chose to review this movie was that I caught it on TV this evening with my parents and thought “Hey… let’s review it since my thoughts may have changed since last I saw it”. So, let’s review us some adventure stuff.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

The movie follows history teacher and archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he is sent by some US government people to go and find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do. On the way he meets up with his former lover Marion (Karen Allen) abd it’s up to them and some other people to find the Ark before the Nazis get their terrible hands on it. While not having the most original of plots since it’s been done in old adventure serials, it still delivers a lot better than most movies of the same genre. It’s intriguing, interesting, fast-paced, fun and just overall very well told. There are so many tiny nuances that gives the plot of the movie the edge over most movies in the action-adventure genre. *Dun du dun dun, dun du duuun*.

The characters in the movie are all just a load of fun to watch do things… yes, even the nazis. Harrison Ford had already proven himself with “Star Wars” and “Empire Strikes Back” that he was a really good actor with tons of charisma, but then he did this role and proved he isn’t just a pretty face in a spaceship. He showed that can be a tough badass with tons of intelligence and charm as well. Seriously, his performance in this movie is great… he is also one sexy motherfucker. Karen Allen gives a great performance as Marion, a tough-as-nails woman who still shows that she is vulnerable, which makes her character a lot more compelling than your typical damsel in distress. We also get some great supporting performances from John Rhys-Davies, Paul Freeman and Ronald Lacey. If you want good acting, look no further.

The score for “Raiders” was composed by the legendary John WIlliams and it’s definitely one of his finest, being able to ramp up the tension and excitement in the different scenes of the movie. It’s also jsut overall really fun to lsiten to and would definitely be something I could listen to in the car… if I had a car, that is. And I will just briefly mention the main theme which is simply one of the greatest main themes to anything ever.

This movie was the result of directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas bumping their heads together to create something interesting and entertaining. And that they did, with George doing some writing/story for it and Steven doing the directing. And that was a great decision because this is one of the most well directed action movies I have ever seen. The shots look terrific, with Spielberg showing that he is one of the best directors ever. And the action scenes are so great to watch as well, with everything clearly visible, with no dumb editing or unnecessary shaky-cam… or CGI. Sure, there is a scene with some sub-par green screen effects, but that part doesn’t really take away from the overall experience for me. The fights are also really brutal and hard-hitting. Combine that with some overall disturbing imagery and a scene featuring a shit-ton of snakes, I am almost a bit surprised that this movie is rated PG and not R. There is also a bit of really funny humor that is surprisingly low-key for this type of film.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 90/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #36 on the “Top 250” list. It also won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best set decoration, Best sound, Best film editing and Best visual effects. The movie also got an additional 4 nominations in the categories of Best picture, best director, best cinematography and best original score. 

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a classic within the action-adventure genre. It features a great plot, great characters & acting, fantastic music, great directing, great action and some really good humor. Time for my final score. *Dun du dun dun, dun du duuun*. My final score for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is now completed.

So, yeah… look forward to reviews coming soon for the rest of the series…