Tigris Rose’s Indiana Jones Movie Marathon Part IV: Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls (2008)
Director: Steven Spielburg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf

It’s time we finished the Indiana Jones movie marathon, and unfortunately the series does not end on a high note. For the most dedicated of Jones fans you may be a little disappointed. For the most part until the last 20 minutes or so the movie isn’t too bad. But it isn’t as good or as strong as the previous three movies.

I think the first thing I should say is that it was a weak attempted to make this movie, and for Lucas to believe and choose to do a fourth Indy installment because he didn’t think that he’d have time to finish the last trilogy of Star Wars. Though I think they tried to change it up a little I think they made the movie for the wrong reasons.

The casting was off in this movie than what it was in the last three. Two they got right was Harrison Ford and Karen Allen reprising their roles as Indy and Marion. (We last saw Marion in the “Raiders” movie, a former flame of Indy’s for those not paying attention.) The rest of the cast is a little shaky. Of course this movie is over a decade from the story line from “Crusade.” So both Henry Jones Sr. and Marcus have both passed away, you’ll see tidbits in the movie confirming those rumors if you pay attention. On the good guy side you have John Hurt (best known in this generation as Dr. Broom from Hellboy, Mr. Ollivander from Harry Potter, or Sutler from V for Vedetta) playing Professor Oxley or Ox as Indy and Mutt calls him, until the end of the movie Ox is a deranged loony bird trying to help Indy and fix what has been done with the skulls. And you have Shia LaBeouf playing Mutt Williams, Marion’s son who you guest it is just old enough to be Indy’s son from the first movie. I think that LaBeouf is an overrated actor, who in my opinion didn’t fit the role to be a Jones. He didn’t have the drive like the first two Jones’ boys.

Now on to the bad guys. Of course this movie timeline is loosed basely during the Cold War era, so of course we trade the fallen Nazis for Russian agents. Led by Irina Spalko, a KGB operative with psychic powers played by Cate Blanchett who rocks a terrible look, and has an awful accent. Probably one of the worse Jones girl out of the whole franchise. So we are already to a bad start with mediocre at best villains.

The movie starts off well as Indy is taken to Area 51, which is ironic because that is were the first movie ends with the Ark. Indy and his friend Mac were taken to find a skull they found 10 years prior, and the KGB force Indy to locate it so they can take it. Keep in mind this is during the McCarthy era so there will be repercussions for helping the Russians. Basically he gets kicked out of teaching. This also brings Indy pun #1, as the car stops at Area 51 Indy’s hat falls out of the car, but they pull him out of the truck and he picks up his hat in the shadows. I hate how he escapes from the KGB and ends up in a fall out base. It was terrible.

Now Mutt, Indy and Marion’s kid played by Shia LaBeouf is a greaser. And for those who don’t know what that is, watch the musical Grease…Please! Mutt on top of being a greaser is formerly uneducated, as he never finished school. At first Indy thought that endearing because Mutt was living his life, and then he found out it was his kid and changed his mind. Now Indy and Mutt after their first meeting get chased by the KGB through campus decapitating Marcus’ statue in the quad. Mutt thinks its funny, and of course Indy doesn’t.

Now throughout most of the movie its pretty good as far as the hunt for Marion, Ox, and the skull is concerned. There isn’t too much freaky supernatural mojo till a little later on in the movie when they catch up with the KGB that has Marion. So the boys first stop is in Peru, and they are looking for clues that will lead them to Ox and the skull. Mutt and Indy come to a cemetery were they run into these cheesy Mayan ninja warriors with skull masks. It freaks Mutt out, but Indy was cool and old schools Mutt as they make it through traps and secret passages in underground passage to a crystal skull.

Of course when they come out Mac and the KGB was waiting for them and took them to the KGB camp were Marion and Ox were. Were they hint were the skulls came from. ((Hint Area 51)) Of course like every movie Indy cares more about the hunt than the enemy. So he ends up helping the KGB on top of finding the pieces of the puzzle. Indy pun #2 comes in during their first attempt to escape, which is also were Marion drops the bomb on Indy telling him that Mutt is his son, Henry Jones the III. Jones yells at her why didn’t you make him finish school. But the pun is Indy and Marion fall into a sand trap and to get Indy Mutt throws a snake at him.

So starts the daddy issues, which is a reoccurring thing with the Jones boys. As they start the big fight scene, which is a little disappointing. Like every Jones movie its one man against 20 bad guys. But they are racing through the jungle to the temple. Which is the bad CGI, to start off with they are driving cars and U boats through the jungle. Second the sword fight between Mutt and Spalko was terrible. Marion almost gets taken out by a machine gun. Mutt goes swinging through the trees like George of the Jungle. And after getting away from some fire ants the good guy crew in a u-boat takes a swan dive from the cliffs and down some waterfalls to the temple. ((Now Indy does loose his hat for a second time, but retrieves it from an ant hill.))

Now as we finish out our movie, we find out the origin and resolve of crystal skulls. Not to give away all the spoilers, but Ox goes back to normal, Spalko gets hers, the aliens go home, plus Indy and Marion get a happier ever after.

One of the problems I have with this movie is that it looks fake. The appeal of the other three movies made the scenery look real or was real. This movie looks as though it was either in a sound stage or CGI. Which I am not a fan of. So this movie isn’t as visually appealing as the last three. The temple was terrible, the obstacles trivial, and the lack of a great villain was disappointing.

Second thing the fight scenes were so bad. And Harrison Ford is getting a little too old for Jones’ stunts. He does make some comical blunders during stunts but a little out of shape for this movie.

I was so happy that the hat didn’t get passed down to Mutt at the end of the movie. It would have so killed the movie for me entirely if Mutt inherited the hat to become Indiana Jones. I have to give this movie a C. I didn’t hate it, and I can watch it every now and again. But I can’t watch it over and over like I can the other three. It is entirely the weakest of the franchise, even more so than the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (TV Series from the early 90‘s.) It is a decent action/supernatural film, but a bad Indiana Jones film.

Sorry we have to end our Indiana Jones movie marathon on such a sour note. But stay tuned movie geeks and we will see what I come up with next.

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3 Responses to “Tigris Rose’s Indiana Jones Movie Marathon Part IV: Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls”

  1. Good job. Your best review of the series and you had some spot on observations here. I never even thought about the daddy issues that run throughout so series, so kudos for mentioning that. Although, I still think, even with the bad review, that you’re too kind on this one. I have so much bile and venom for this film that reading your review almost makes me want to go write a review for it myself. Crystal Skull is bad in so many ways that I could go on and on.
    Only thing I disagree with you on is Kate Blanchet. She’s one of our greatest living actresses and I thought she was the only one in the movie that was aware of how bad the film was going to be and was just trying to have some fun with the role. Love that woman.
    Anyway, great job! Time to move on to the Star Trek films?

  2. chainsawcheerleader Says:

    I refuse to see this movie. I refuse to support this crap in anyway.

    Kate Blanchet is one of the very few living actresses that do not make me want to rip my hair out. She is indeed great.

  3. There’s so many things wrong with this movie-

    Indy survives a nuclear explosion by hiding in a lead lined refrigerator that gets blown a mile or two away from the blast. The scene ends with cutesy comical CGI prarie dogs.

    there’s a awful action set-piece in the jungle that includes characters swinging on vines like Tarzan and eventually devolves into hit in the nuts jokes.

    There’s a scene involving giant ants eating people that involves not one drop of blood? ALL of the Indy movies had gross scenes. It was part of their pulpy charm. Now everything has to be toned down and family friendly.

    There’s just three infuriating things off the top of my head and I haven’t seen this piece of shit since opening weekend. George Lucas really should have his rights to his own properties legally stripped away.

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