Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review
Click here to buy posters
In Association with
While I was excited about seeing the new Indiana Jones movie, I’ll admit that I was pretty nervous at the same time. I mean, on one hand, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is one of the most talked-about movies of the summer. It’s been rumored and anticipated and scrapped and re-rumored and re-anticipated and re-scrapped for nearly two decades. How could I not be excited? But, on the other hand, there was the usual sequel anxiety: Will they be able to recreate the magic of the original? And, on top of that, there was the other big question: Will they be able to recreate the magic almost 20 years later (with a 60-something Harrison Ford)? Fortunately, though, I had little to worry about.

The fourth movie chronicling the adventures of famed archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) starts with a bang. Indy and his friend, Mac (Ray Winstone), are captured during an expedition in Mexico and brought to a warehouse in Area 51, where Indy is forced to find one particular crate. Since the movie takes place in 1958, it isn’t the Nazis that Indy has to worry about this time around; it’s the Russians. And they’re led by one tough communist chick—Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett)—who doesn’t have a compassionate bone in her body.

At first, Crystal Skull is rather difficult to watch. After all, Harrison Ford isn’t a tough young buck anymore. He’s of the age where guys spend their days (and their Social Security checks) at the local diner, reading the paper, drinking coffee, and complaining about kids these days. And it’s not easy to see your childhood heroes age. So, at first, it’s tough to watch a 60-something Indy getting smacked around by tough young Russian soldiers. But, fortunately, Ford is far from feeble—and he soon proves that an older Indy can still hold his own.

After he manages to escape the Russians, though, things get even worse for Indy. The Red-fearing government suspects him of being a communist, and he loses his job at the university. Just as he’s leaving town in search of the Russians—to try to salvage his reputation—he’s stopped by a tough young greaser named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Indy’s old friend, Professor Oxley (John Hurt), has gotten into some trouble involving a crystal skull and the lost City of Gold, and Mutt’s been sent to get Indy’s help. So together, the two of them (along with Mutt’s beloved Harley) rush to Peru to find Ox—and the City of Gold.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull stays surprisingly true to the original Indy trilogy—and to its low-budget B-movie action roots. It has the same cheesy one-liners, the same corny, over-the-top moments, and the same non-stop action as its predecessors—and, for the most part, it still has that same low-budget feel (despite its $125 million budget). Indy is still the same easy-going, snake-hating, perfectly imperfect adventure hero—and he’s once again surrounded by a spectacular supporting cast. Along the way, you’ll find a handful of old favorites (best of all…Karen Allen’s spunky Marion Ravenwood), as well as a few new characters (like LaBeouf’s tough yet comic Mutt), who manage to fit right in.

Really, the only area where Indy 4 falls somewhat short is in its story. While the first three films always had a supernatural side to them, the fourth throws a sci-fi curveball that just doesn’t fit. And while I was able to play along throughout most of the movie, there were about 10 minutes just before the movie’s end that I definitely could have done without. The story goes even more over-the-top than before, and it takes a wandering step that makes the story too big and a little too out there.

Set those 10 minutes aside, though, and you’ve got yourself a fun action-adventure flick. It may not be the best movie in the series, but it definitely holds its own. It’s a fun new adventure, but it also ties up a few old stories—and the last couple of minutes are just perfect. So for Indy fans, there’s no doubt about it—Crystal Skull is the must-see adventure of the summer.

Ed. Note: Looking for more on the Indiana Jones series? Check out our reviews of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Submissions Contributors Advertise About Us Contact Us Disclaimer Privacy Links Awards Request Review Contributor Login
© Copyright 2002 - 2018 All rights reserved.