May 26, 2008

REVIEW: Indy 4... holy cow!

INDIANA JONES: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Dreamworks SKG
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf

Wow, now here's a title that definitely has "Most Anticipated Sequel of 2008" smothered all over it.

And because it indeed is arguably the most anticipated sequel of the year, I'm probably gonna make this review a little more unique as I present three views of different kinds of parties: 1) the new generation; 2) the Indiana lovers of the past and; 3) mine. But before that, here's the synopsis I formulated.

10 years later after "The Last Crusade", Indy is still teaching archeology in the college and the Cold War is taking place. But before they even cut to the school part, they show some rising action in the start instead as the Russian Communists have taken over a secret military warehouse in Nevada (and when you watch this part, notice the warehouse doors -wink-, you'll be able to predict how the movie will pan out somewhat) and they have taken Indy and some Australian colleague called Mac as hostage. This Russian army is led by psychic scientist Irina "I-honestly-forgot-her-name-because-it's-Russian" Spalko and she plans to use telepathy via the powerful Crystal Skull to rule the world. There is going to be a lot of action, traps, nostalgia and humor along the way as Indy whips his way through the mystical rainforests of the Amazon in search for El Dorado- Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Review (in the perspective of today's generation):
As a teen in today's generation, I find it pretty easy to appreciate this kind of movie because first of all, it's the golden example of edge-of-your-seat entertainment this year so far, and two, because the last part actually looks pretty cool. I mean, I don't mind the critics being so critical about the alien twist at the end because the movie as a whole is definitely great to watch especially since it mixes fun, humor and adventure perfectly- but then again, it's a Steven Spielberg, what more can you expect?

Basically, the 4th adventure in the franchise is pretty much a great and slightly scary for younger audiences introduction of America's favorite fedora-wearing, whip-bashing archaeologist.

Review (in the perspective of past Indy lovers):
It's been a long wait since Last Crusade and I just can't believe that the series is taking a bit of a misstep or two because of that ending. God, that ending! It's like George Lucas is missing Star Wars, and Spielberg missing E.T., because, well, E.T. is sort of a like a guest star in the new installation, and I'm not talking about the kind one. What's next for the Indy series? A Star Wars crossover?! Sheesh... If you wanted to put sci-fi in an Indy series, it'd be kind of out of wack, right?

And CGI?! Boy! The past Indy relied lightly on CGI, yes, but most of the other parts were made with stunts! I mean, I guess I should acknowledge Ford's age, though, but still, heavy CGI?!

But wait, I'm emphasizing too much on the worst part of the story, let me tell you about the good ones. Most of what you'd expect from an Indy sequel is still here: the humor, the action, the thrills, the legends and the hairy escapes. Of course, there's also nostalgia: Karen Allen, a picture of Sir Sean Connery (the writers killed him off because he's obviously enjoying retirement) and... Ox.

There's a few new characters along for the ride though: Irina Spalko played deliciously evilly by the excellent Cate Blanchett, and Indy's son played by rising Dreamworks' star (and obviously Spielberg's favorite for now,) Shia LeBeouf.

Overall, I'd still call this a step above Temple of Doom, but nowhere near the others. This deserves a viewing, but by the newbies, so they can appreciate what we've been enjoying for the past 20 or so years. It's still great escapist fare, yes, but I'm not exactly sure if other fans would react the same as my first paragraph, so I'm not raising a sign for past Indy fans to necessarily watch this one.

Personally, I loved it because it's essentially an Indy made for the new century. Surely, you'd expect that all summer movies would have heavy CGI effects nowadays, and this one's no exception. And actually, I don't really mind that bordering on generic sci-fi twist at the ending because the entirety of the movie has Indiana Jones splattered all over it. It's even got nostalgia for the fans!

I love Cate Blanchett, and I like Shia LeBeouf. Harrison Ford, although he's pretty old, still retains that spunky attitude, yet he seems to be visibly having lots of fun while doing the movie. Yeah, his whip isn't really used as much as I expected him to, but whatever. If you're looking for some great escapist and edge-of-your-seat entertainment, look no where else. Iron Man, step aside for some of that old-fashioned treasure hunting. I mean, basically, it's National Treasure on steroids- huge, huge Steven Spielberg-George Lucas-David Koepp (did I spell that right?) home-brewed steroids.

It's not exactly forgettable, but not enough to reach the Raiders standard of classic either. Still, this is the summer's best movie right now, and you should watch it with the family. I mean, I definitely had an uproarious time watching this, and you probably would too. But for now, I'm just gonna wait for Narnia to come out. (Yay, Narnia!)

And oh, before I forget, look out for Shia LeBeouf's new lead role in Eagle Eye whose trailer starts right before the movie. That's all. :D

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