The Summer movie season is upon us. Yesterday I made my first of what is sure to be many trips to the theatre in the next few months to catch the newest installment in the Indiana Jones saga "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." I think it should be possible to give a pretty accurate review of the film without giving away too many spoilers. this newest installment is a great amount of fun. If you have enjoyed the other films in the series (especially Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade) I struggle to see how you could be disappointed with Harrison Ford's most recent outing as everyone's favourite fedora wearing and bull whip carrying archeologist. Just no this before you walk in. You are not going to see Citizen Kane or some other equally high brow film. As they have always been, this movie is a celebration of the pulp roots and conventions that inspired the character and his universe in the first place.
It is weird how wonderfully refreshing the movie feels. Set in 1957 at the beginnings of the cold war allows for the sinister agents of the KGB to take place of the Nazi's as Indy's enemy this time around. A great turn by Kate Blanchett is put in as KGB paranormal weapons expert Irina Spalko. She is everything that a great pulp villain should be. She is ruthless, cunning and can hold her own in her many extended stunt sequences. While Kate Blanchett is usually a dependable good performer where ever she appears, Shia LaBeouf I will say more then exceeded my admittedly low expectations for him. I think this was one of the first performances I have seen by him that I really liked. Even though I wanted to dislike him so much after he appears dressed identical to Marlon Brando in "The Wild Ones."
I suppose the best way to sum up this movie would be to call it a collection of really great scenes and moments that just fall shy of creating a satisfying whole. The writing is very funny. i found myself laughing constantly at the number of winking tongue in cheek jokes that fly through out the movie. If you are a fan of the other three Indy films be certain to keep your eyes open as this might be one of the most self referential movies I have ever seen. The movie looks great, due to the always stellar effects work of ILM.
I would highly recommend this film. Just know going in that you shouldn't try to make too much sense of the plot. However, I think like any Indian Jones movie the fun here is not the end point of the plot that the characters are trying to reach, but how much fun you will have watching them get to that point.