Monday, 26 May 2008

Indiana Jones IV

When Die Hard IV surprised everyone last year by being a really good movie, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing a raft of long-delayed sequels on dusty old franchises.

Happily, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (was such a long title really necessary? I'm talking to you, George Lucas) turns out to be a worthy addition to the canon.

Like the other three, it's all about tracking down a mystical and ancient artifact.

And like the other three there are caves, booby traps, much fetishisation of history and ancient wisdom, and little to no explanation of why millennia-old mechanisms still work so smoothly.

In fact, at times it seems simply a melange of the three previous films.

Take the chase scenes from Raiders, the caves, bugs and crazy tribal nuts from Temple of Doom, the whole closing sequence of Last Crusade, replace the Nazis with Russians, and you pretty much have it.

There were also, for the hardcore fans, some more subtle nods to the previous films including a very funny posthumous cameo from Denholm Elliott.

All good fun, but on the downside I was a little disappointed that it didn't start out with a mostly unrelated side-adventure.

And a couple of times the plot required Indy to have James Bond-style indestructibility, instead of just basic toughness combined with insanely good luck.

The male supporting cast was generally solid, with Shia LeBeouf doing his best Marlon Brando in The Wild One impersonation, and Ray Winstone and John Hurt great as you'd expect.

But I was less than impressed with Karen Allen, who seemed to be wandering around in awe of her more successful co-stars most of the time, and Cate Blanchett just stood there chewing the scenery mercilessly.

Still, the gripes are small and the joy at seeing Indy back in the hat is great.

There was a cheer from the crowd when that silhouette first appeared, and it was well deserved.

4 out of 5


Gayle said...

Glad to hear it was worth a watch... I think we might be going this afternoon, seeing as the weather has decided to revert to the standard miserable UK blehh.. Big Hi and hugs to you and Kate!
g xoxo