DVD ArchivesFilm ArchivesFilm Website


Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A-

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: David Koepp
Produced by: Frank Marshall
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Igor Jijikine, Neil Flynn
Studio: Paramount Pictures

The Indiana Jones films have always been about fun, danger and low-budget epic-ness. Nineteen years after The Last Crusade, Harrison Ford has once again donned the fedora and while he is able to afford a senior discount this time around, he can still pack a punch. Along with Ford, director Steven Spielberg, executive producer George Lucas and composer John Williams also return. And while The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn't the masterwork that Raiders of the Lost Ark is, it's still an entertaining time at the cinema.

The Indiana Jones flicks have always been known as much for their performances as they have for its action scenes. Harrison Ford slips back into the fedora and leather jacket comfortably, though he is now older and wiser. Along with Han Solo and Rick Deckard, Indiana Jones is his most iconic character and he plays him with the same amount of rough-ness as he did in the 1980's. Returning for the first time since Raiders of the Lost Ark is Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, proving even further that of all the love interests in the other films, she is the only one who comes close to matching wits with Indy (as shown when he tells her "they all had the same problem, they weren't you"). The addition of rising star Shia La Beouf as greaser Mutt Williams is a smart one. He gives a great performance, keeping down-to-earth and not going over-the-top, delivering his lines well. He also makes what could have been an annoying character very likable. The stand-out of the film is Cate Blanchett, who puts on a faux Russian accent for her role as the evil Communist agent who is also pursuing the Crystal Skull in the title. She helps make the villain an evil one you would not want to cross with. The only character who doesn't fit is Ray Winstone's Mac, who just feels like an unnecessary way to give Indy a sidekick more his age.

In regards to the action, Steven Spielberg's direction in those scenes is the usual great work he's been delivering since Duel way back in 1971. The final hour is especially exciting, with half of it consisting of a car chase through the Amazon, ending with the most lethal ants ever seen on screen. Despite some geographical mistakes, it's hard not to be on the edge of the seat, while watching it. The classic Ben Burtt sound effects are also in place to make these sequences even more worthy of being in an Indiana Jones film. The score by John Williams is also perfect as usual, from the timeless "Raiders March" to the new themes written for this film, it shows that he is still the master of film scores.

In the area of special effects, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is hit-or-miss. The film has more computer-generated effects than an Indiana Jones film should have and Spielberg's idea to use CG prairie dogs instead of real ones is an odd choice. However, when it comes to practical model effects, the film delivers and the matte painting backgrounds also work well in having that old-time style. The film's homage to 1950's science-fiction films also add some fun to the proceedings and despite the idea of aliens in an Indiana Jones film seeming odd, it works.

Overall, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull stands with Speed Racer as the most entertaining film of the year, showing that you can't put an old hero down and that an 80's action star can work in the 21st century. With both John McClane and Indiana Jones returning with flying colours, all that's left now are the Ghostbusters.

Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood ride with new character Mutt Williams in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Home   # -C   D-F   G-I   J-L   M-O   P-R   S-U   V-Z

Logo designed by Adrian Ellison.  Website created by Estefan Ellison.
The Film Archives is hosted and designed by Design Doodles.
All reviews are the sole property of The Film Archives and its staff.