Thursday, May 19, 2016

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)


“You still living a trail of human wreckage, or have you retired?”
“Why? You looking for a date?”

            I have never been interested in aliens. The subject/topic bores me. I know the argument is that the universe is gigantic that we cannot possibly be the only ones living on a planet somewhere. I get it that argument it makes total sense to me. I want to believe it but I kind of cannot. I feel the same way about ghost and the paranormal I want to believe it I do think it is fascinating but I do not really believe in it. Needless to say when a topic deals with aliens my ADHD riddled brain loves to take a hold and zone me out. Despite the main plot dealing with aliens I did give Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull the benefit of the doubt because it is an Indiana Jones movie and he is one of my absolute favorite movie characters. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gets a lot of slack for several reasons, including the fact that it is about aliens, it is a fun modern Indiana Jones adventure.
            In the middle of the desert a group of Soviet soldiers manage to infiltrate a United States military storage site. The group is led by the no nonsense Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). She has one of her men open the trunk and take the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) out. Spalko needs Indy to find a certain object that had been found and stored away in 1947 and Indy was one of the people brought to the site in 1947. Indy tries to tell Spalko that he has no idea what the object is that he and a whole bunch of scientists were taken to the site with the windows of the blacked out. He has an idea and asks for a compass and some gun powder. The magnetic hand on the compass and the gun powder immediately go in one direction. The Russians and the archaeologist rush towards the object. The object is an alien with a crystal skull. Indy sees this as an opportunity to get away especially since his friend Mac, who was also brought to the storage site, reveals he is a double agent and is now working for the Russians. Indy manages to get away. He thinks he made it into a nice quiet picturesque American neighborhood but when he discovers that all the people are mannequins he realizes he is on a test site for a nuclear bomb. He climbs into a lead lined refrigerator just in the nick of time.
Image result for kingdom of the crystal skull
            Indy is apprehended by FBI agents who believe that because of his associations with Mac is now also a Russian spy himself. He is vouched for by a General Ross who worked with Indy during WWII. The vouch is not enough for the FBI nor for the college Indy teaches at and he is put on indefinite leave. While on a train away from the college Indy is approached by a younger greaser called Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf). Mutt tells Indy that their mutual friend, the old Professor Harold Oxley (John Hurt), had gone down to Peru to search for a crystal skull and disappeared. Not long later his mother Mary Williams went looking for Oxley and was kidnapped. Indy looks around the dive they are sitting in realizes that there are men in black suits watching them. The men come over to their table, they are Russians looking to bring Indy with them. Of course Indy with Mutt’s help, gets away.
            Mutt had handed Indy a letter written by Oxley. Back at his place, Indy finds that Oxley wrote the letter in Mayan. Following the clues Indy and Mutt travel down to Peru. They find Oxley had had a mental breakdown and was thrown in a cell. He drew on the walls and Indy sees that the old man left clues to where the crystal skull can be found. In their first quest Indy and Mutt are captured by Mac and the Russians and brought to their camp site. Spalko is there and she tries to show Indy the power of the skull. She wants him to believe in it just like she does but he just is not buying it. During their stay at the camp they find Mutt’s mother is there. Indy is beyond shocked that Mutt’s mother is actually his old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Once again Indy manages to get himself and Marion and Mutt and Oxley away from the Russians. They almost get ahead of the bad guys until Indy and Marion get stuck in some quicksand. Marion confesses that Mutt is actually his son, Henry Jones III.
            Just like the original three Indiana Jones movies, Indy and his crew work and fight to outsmart the bad guys to rescue history and the save the world.
            The cast was fantastic. I nearly died and crapped my pants seeing Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood back together. They are definitely one of my top movie OTPs I love them together so much. Marion is such a feisty character. In Raiders of the Lost Ark she kept Indy on his toes and she does so again in Crystal Skull. I do not know if it is just me but in Raiders you can tell that Marion is the only one he every really truly cared about. Willie in Temple of Doom was just someone to have fun with and Elsa in Last Crusade, well, Elsa was a bad guy but he definitely had a good time with her in one scene. There never seemed to be any chemistry or tension between Willie and Elsa like there was with Marion. Marion’s introduction scene in Crystal Skull is perfect you can still she is the same Marion Ravenwood she was when she was younger. I do not know what more I can say about Harrison Ford. Even in his late sixties at the time he was still kicking ass like a boss. He is and will forever be Indiana Jones. Ford mentioned that the character is not all about the age but his resourcefulness and imagination which has always been the case from the time of Raiders. Cate Blanchett was perfection as Irina Spalko. She is such a great actress it was great seeing her be this Russian bad guy who barely broke a sweat. I am not a fan of Shia LeBeouf but he was good as Mutt he was a good choice to play Indy and Marion’s son.

            Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is definitely not the best of the Indiana Jones movies but I find it enjoyable. The story is not the greatest with the aliens and the crystal skull and the Russians. Some people still complain that the CGI was too much that it made the movie cheesy and to that I say, can you all imagine what Raiders and Temple of Doom and Last Crusade would have looked like with the CGI today? Imagine how insane Toht’s melting face and the ghosts and the snakes in Raiders would have looked like? Chill out. I liked Crystal Skull and since it is a part of the Indiana Jones canon it is absolutely worth watching.