Monday, May 26, 2008
KPBS auction winner says Indy still packs a punch. (Paramount)
This year, KPBS offered three auction packages in which winners would have a chance to get an early look at one on the summer's blockbuster movies, and then write a review. I am pleased to present the first of our three auction winners -- Clay Bowersox with his review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Let me just say that the one thing I really enjoy about going to screenings with auction winners is that the people who win are people who are eager to see the films and there's nothing better than going to a movie with other fans. So when I met Clay for the screening I was delighted to find out that he loves Comic-Con, collects action figures, and has been keeping up with Jones over the decades. So without any further ado, here's Clay Bowersox' review.
by Clay Bowersox
Indiana Jones has finally returned after a 19-year absence, but is he worth the wait? I think so, although Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not the intrepid hero's best outing. To me, this new film was not as thrilling as Raiders of the Lost Ark or as fun as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , but it is still a worthy chapter in the Indy saga.
The key to enjoying this Indiana Jones movie is to go in with the right expectations. If you want to be entertained for a couple hours with action and adventure, this film should please you. I found that some parts dragged on a little too long, and the story was a little predictable, but it was still fun to see Harrison Ford don the fedora and leather jacket again after all these years. Now set in 1957, the Germans have been replaced by Russians as the villains. Cate Blanchett does a decent "Natasha" accent (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame), and I was pleasantly surprised to see Shia LaBeouf hold his own with Harrison Ford as a young biker (greaser wannabe) who joins him on his journey.
I see the Indiana Jones films as comfort movies. The characters are likeable (Indy always seems to find a feisty sidekick). There are always exciting chases and fistfights with bad guys (poor Indy takes a beating as usual), and there is always the hunt for a mystical object with supernatural powers. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is familiar and fresh at the same time. You know what you're what going to get, but it's still fun to it's given to you.
You probably noticed that I have not discussed the plot. Like I said, you know what you're in for, but in this case I think it's best to experience this new adventure on your own. I will say that the astute viewer will have a lot of fun with the subtle and obvious references to other Indiana Jones productions. These include a cameo by the Ark, the return of a key character from Raiders, a line of dialogue from Temple of Doom , an exchange of facial gestures from Last Crusade, and even a plot reference from one of the Young Indiana Jones episodes. These are but a handful of items that fans of Indiana Jones can hunt for themselves. There's even a classic line from the Star Wars movies that Indy utters at one point.
With plenty of action and adventure, a little romance, and a touch of science fiction, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull delivers as an entertaining summer, popcorn movie. This older Indiana Jones and his new film may be a little slower now, but both still pack a pretty good punch.