Thursday, December 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, check. 1st one is still the best. this one has the same self-conscious manipulation as The Last Crusade, the urgency to touch all the franchise keynotes and let the plot take care of its own. the result is even more muddled than Last Crusade. I even found it visually cluttered. it looked remarkably cheesy, which is surprising given that as a film technician Spielberg aint no slouch. the movie starts with some malarkey about Russians invading Area 51 to steal, oh, you know, the Crystal Skull, or some hint to its whereabouts. the movie simply accepted that certain forces must push the plot, and dealt something to suffice. Indy is accompanied by a Brit who, it turns out, is a double agent. and a triple agent, except no one likely believed that reconciliation. but Indy gets away, and survives a nuclear bomb test by hiding in a refrigerator. I believe everything I see. there’s a brief 50s blackball theme, then Indy meets Shia LaBoeuf, who arrives looking like Brando in The Wild Ones. decent rapport exists between Ford and LaBoeuf, albeit a contrived tension, plotwise. on a vague hint, they fly to Peru, in search of that crystal skull. the Russians remain in the story, poor man’s Nazi. I did not mench Cate Blanchett being the nutsoid in charge of the Russians. she’s Stalin’s head of psychic research, or some such. which sounds more like a Hitler thing but anyway.she’s a dully campy dominatrix. is she a good actress??? her Galadriel was probably not her fault, the director forced her to look like such a bemused drag. I cannot remember what else I have seen of her. the plot was muddled beyond repair. the crystal skull attracted metal, but only when convenient to the plot. the action set pieces were lacklustre and did not seem to worry about plausibility. one accepts that Mythbusters might bust certain imaginative elements in a movie, but not that Jamie and Adam would not even bother to probe the possibilities. that is how it seemed with this movie. the movie was enjoyable enough, since I like Ford, and Spielberg’s failures are still largely competent. the crystal skull belongs, we learn, to ETs, so we end up with Richard Dreyfus’ friends with a somewhat more malign aspect. I do not know the budget of this flick but it looked cheapo. I wonder about Lucas, who has twiddled away his most interesting projects for the sake of merchandise and 2nd rate productions. I imagine that the plan was to slip River Phoenix into the Indy franchise, back in that day, and death kinda precluded that. LaBoeuf might be the next chance to move on, because Ford’s not good for many more punch outs. the movie ended smarmily, so maybe we should just tuck the baby in and say goodnight.

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