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*** Official Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review Thread


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#1 of 55 OFFLINE   Shawn.F

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Posted May 18 2008 - 08:26 AM

Well, I saw it this afternoon at the press screening in Boston. I would give it three out of four stars. Without going into details (because I hate spoilers as much as the next guy), I'll just mention the good, the bad and the overall.

The Good: the cast, how the film handles Indy's age, the interplay between Allen and Ford, the jungle chase, the opening, the many references to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Not-So-Good: the big set piece at the end of the film, a midsection that is slightly on the talky side, villains that don't have much character depth (a problem that has plagued ToD and Last Crusade as well).

Overall: part nostalgia trip and part roller-coaster ride, the film held my interest more than Last Crusade did. Like Lucas said, don't expect the Second Coming. Just sit back for 122 minutes and enjoy the ride. Posted Image

#2 of 55 OFFLINE   Shad R

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Posted May 20 2008 - 08:40 PM

Just got back from a screening. I work in the projection booth, and part of my "perks" is I get to watch movies before they come out to check prints for sound/picture/framing issues.
So, my quick review.
I will warn you, I don't know what you all consider spoilers, so I will try to be careful, but if you don't want to know ANYTHING, skip this post.

The movie is well paced and moves from scene to scene smoothly. Actually, it didn't feel like a 2+ hour movie at all.
The good: Harrison Ford is great. He still has that certain amount of humor, butt-kicking, and coolness of the first three.
Spielberg's directing. What can I say, he knows how to keep a persons attention.
The special effects, a good mix of practical, mechanical and CGI blended well together.
The creepy crawly scene in this movie is as good as any other Indy creepy crawly scene. Those are some bugs I would not want to run into. Ouch.
The chase scene near the end. If you've seen the previews, you have an idea, but it is SOOOO much cooler than I thought it would be. Best part of the movie by far.
Indy stumbling into a nuclear test site. Won't ruin it, but no one responds when he is evading bad guys in the house. What comes next is a Speilberg moment that is just so funny and inventive. Great scene.
The baddies. Cate Blanchet was really fun to watch.

The bad: Shai. Sorry, he ruined the movie for me. There's a part during the chase scene with Shai hanging out with monkeys that made me literally slap my forehead and go "What?"
The supernatural element in this movie is just plain wierd. This is definately out in the left field, even for an Indy movie.
Digital gophers. You heard me right. Three times, and for no reason, we get shots of digital gophers. Was Lucas testing a new fur program at ILM or what?

Overall, entertaining, but wierd. Not quite up to the first three, but better than most of the crap I've seen lately.

#3 of 55 OFFLINE   Colton

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Posted May 21 2008 - 06:46 AM

Watched a sneak preview last night to a packed theater. A big applause when the "Lucas Films" logo came up. You can feel the anticipation building. It starts off good and the pacing is fine, but at some point the whole "crystal skull" becomes ... well, dull. It just doesn't have that same magic that "Lost Ark" and "Last Crusade" have. I have to admit that it would be hard to top the motherlode of all treasures: the ark of the covenant, but it goes from historical artifacts to crazy science fiction.

What was I watching? The X Files?

Sure, there were tombs to explore and traps to dodge, but it wasn't the same sense of danger that was felt in the other movies. At no point did I feel that Indy was in trouble ... he practically walks in - knows what to do - walks out. That's adventure?

One scene that I liked was where Indy stumbles across a make-shift town that is about to be tested with an atomic bomb. His method of escape is very over the top. Still it was fun to watch.

I loved the tip of the hat to Raiders of the Lost Ark at the beginning where Indy just happens to be in the same location where the Ark of the Convenant has been sealed away since the first movie. That was a nice touch.

Overall, it didn't satisfy. I didn't feel the same adrenaline as the other films. Forget about Temple of Doom. That was just plain horrible in my book. So, in order of greatness:

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. The Last Crusade
3. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
4. Temple of Doom

A good popcorn flick, but don't expect it to measure up.

- Colton

#4 of 55 OFFLINE   Dale MA

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Posted May 21 2008 - 02:27 PM

I'm just back from the midnight screening of Indy 4. It's past 3am here so bare with me...

I really liked the film however I feel it is going to get a LOT of hate. I think the majority of viewers are going to simply miss what the film is trying to do.

Major spoilers. Please don't read unless you've seen the film:

By this I mean the fact that because it's a 50s movie it features a very sci-fi "B movie" plot.

People just won't get why Indy is suddenly dealing with aliens. It's a HUGE shift in the series and one that is going to split viewers. Personally, I view this as a brave choice... Lucas and Spielberg showed major courage going in this direction.

Personally, I thought it worked - it recalled the "golden age" of Spielberg and Lucas.

Once the screening was over I overheard some audience members exclaim "What where they thinking!?" and "They should have made this ten years ago", I think the former is going to be the major complaint that the majority of people are going to have. If you go into this film with the knowledge that this film strays into certain B movie
territories and you're okay with that, then I think you will enjoy the film.

I say that kids who see this film now will be saying "what's the problem" with the alien theme in fifteen years from now, it's because the older fans have grown used to the previous trilogy and the "religious relic hunter" Indy, I think that's where the problem is going to lie.

Shia does a great job in his part as Indy's son, he really captured that "Rebel without a Cause" teenager, I'd love to see Indy V - not just with Mutt but with both Indy and Mutt working together again, there was a nice chemistry there.

On a personal level, I loved the fact that the film is set in the fifties, there's a real "American Graffiti" vibe about some of those early scenes, I love fifties America in films. Also, I've always thought of the Indy trilogy as a series of hundreds of films of which we the audience only get to see three (now four) of, the rest are, I don't know... lost in the sands of time - I like the feel that there's adventures that Indy has been on that we haven't seen and that message is definitely given during parts of Indy 4 - it feels like there's been a few films between Crusade and Skull.

Skull manages to capture both the interesting characterizations of Last Crusade and the thrilling action sequences of Doom - however I never felt like we were treading over old ground, each Indy movie is quite tonally different from the next and this continues here - the film shot over and I was not bored for a second of it. Great pacing. However, if you hate The Last Crusade you will REALLY hate Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - it's got a lot of that films humour.

My major complaints would be that there was not enough blood during the fist fights - by the end of the film Indy didn't look much worse off than at the start and that I would have liked to of seen more of Cate Blanchetts character - a little bit more development would be nice.

Over all, it's a great edition to the Indy series and a film that will get replayed a LOT when I purchase the Blu-ray later this year.

#5 of 55 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted May 21 2008 - 06:25 PM

I just saw it and I really enjoyed it and, while it's very premature, I'd rank it right next to The Last Crusade and above The Temple Of Doom. Alot of fun gags and a few good callbacks. While I wasn't looking for lots of "I'm getting too old for this crap" jokes, I actually wish they had one or two more age jokes in the movie. It was nice to see them shake it up and have Indy looking for an artifact with no religious significance.

I'm sure people will debate and eventually nitpick the movie to death but, like I said, I really dug it.

#6 of 55 OFFLINE   Chris Will

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Posted May 21 2008 - 06:54 PM

Loved it!!!!

My audience gave a decent applause at the end but, as I was walking out I heard many, many people mention how much they hated it. My friend, who I saw it with, said he was bummed by the movie. I think those who have read some spoilers will be able to enjoy it more then those going in blind. The shock of the MacGuffin may ruin the movie for some but, I've had months to get use to the idea. Although, my friend said it wasn't the MacGuffin but, all the close calls and escape by Indy. He said they seemed way too over the top for even an Indy movie. I feel bad for him. He loves the Indy movies so much and wanted to love this but left bummed.

I, on the other hand, love every minute of it (except the 2 were I had to pee because it was hurting to hold it anymore). Can't wait to see it again.

Oh, the gophers weren't that bad but, I could have done without the monkeys (although there scene was quick and not too bad).


Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
To me, that's its biggest asset. It wasn't the same thing again.
I agree. If I wanted to see the same old, same old... I'll throw in the DVDs.

#7 of 55 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted May 21 2008 - 10:40 PM

Flat, uninspired, and at times outright unforgivable (vine swinging).

I actually liked Lucas' "McGuffin" in this one, though by the end the details of it are uninteresting. Not bad, just bland.

All the bad set-ups, boring action set-pieces, and frankly incoherent narrative at times were too much to overcome.

The character of Marion is a waste in this film, which is absurd when you look back on Raider of the Lost Ark.

I really wanted to like it. I truly did. I just didn't. And by the time Shia was swinging in for the rescue the film completely lost me.

I lay most of the blame at Spielberg's feet. It had all the same sins as The Lost World, IMO.

4/10

(For the record:

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 10/10
Temple of Doom - 6/10
The Last Crusade - 7/10

10 - Excellent
9 - Great
8 - Very good
7 - Good
6 - Okay
5 -Mediocre
4 - Poor
3 - Bad
2 - Terrible
1 - There is no God)

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#8 of 55 OFFLINE   Harpozep

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Posted May 22 2008 - 01:34 AM

Saw Indy IV last night . 12:01 AM showing.
Saw the original Raiders 17 time in the theater! A record I'll never break, frankly!Posted Image

Skull has its merits, but left me very wanting. I did not leave the theater exhilarated or even warmly happy. Perhaps it was the midnight show on a weeknight. Dunno...Posted Image
I will go once more since I am coming down with a cold and it has no doubt tainted my responses.

Sure it has thrills and a great cast, but something is not there. Perhaps I
want our heroes youthful once more........

Marion's scenes needed more of the vigor of the younger Karen Allen. Some spark was missing in the chemistry between her and the other characters.

Our main villianess just stayed inside her one dimensional character. No Elsa ( Indy III )like depth.

Written well enough, but a few scenes like holding the skull so its shadow
fills a painting seem unnecessarily contrived. I guess I'm being picky over the
progeny of Old Republic serials. I had to remind myself of that to keep smiling
at times.

Oh, and there are monkeys....

There are two definite video game sections in it. You know, the parts of a game where you, the hero have to run some gauntlets and take out the bad guys.

The Plot?....
Erich von Däniken should be proud.....'nuff said!

It is reasonable end to a fun franchise. Much better than some of the Indy knock offs like Tomb Raider, but....

We just watched the Mummy ( Kevin Fasier ) a few nights back. Much tighter with all the same archetypes. That was a splendid Indy film.

Mummy II, let's not go there...., ever. That's a mess for a different threadPosted Image
Best,
Robert

#9 of 55 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 22 2008 - 04:16 AM

It didn't try to be another Raiders of the Lost Ark. That film is perfect and it's better off that this film didn't try to aspire to it. That makes it much closer to Temple of Doom than Last Crusade, which was a very happy development for me.
I loved everything from the first gag after the Lucasfilm logo (how great was it that they used the 80's Paramount mountain?) through the motorcycle race across Marshall College. That sequence stands out particularly because it's the only set piece that was shot real and on location. It gave it a gravity and tension many of the later set pieces do not.
My only problem with the villains is that they don't have very much real menace to them after the first set piece because Indy always escapes so easily. If there was a way to make the Soviets more dangerous -- by killing Oxley, for instance -- it would have upped the stakes considerably. I never felt that Indy was in danger of being tortured.
And yet, this is definitely 1980's Spielberg who I really, really missed having around. This is a film completely without pretension. The set pieces move like an Indiana Jones film, with a twinkle in the eye and a half smile out of the corner of everyone's mouth. It's a very light PG-13, but I'm still glad they took the PG-13 because it feels no less watered down on language etc. that its predecessors, particularly Last Crusade.
So I'm happy. There are definitely problems with it, but it's so much fun that it'll get regular play moving forward. And, except for the Tarzan sequence, I loved all of the riddiculousness.

#10 of 55 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

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Posted May 22 2008 - 05:49 AM

Hated it!!!
It didn't feel like an Indiana Jones movie.
Harrison didn't feel like Indiana Jones.
Marion didn't seem in character except in very brief moments.
It didn't even seem like a Steven Spielberg movie.

What happened to Janus pouring over the previous three films so that he could duplicate the look of those films. I thought I was watching Minority Report or War of the Worlds with all the bleach bypass treatment and whites blown out and pasty-looking skin. Right from the beginning, I was disappointed. They didn't want to rely to heavily on CGI, but we have CGI Shia legs straddling two cars, or CGI Shia swinging from vines like Tarzan . . . and even more than one visit with CGI Prairie Dogs!???!!!!!!!!

Too much talking. Too much exposition. And all about that things that once they unfold, you're left thinking, "Meh. OK." I guess it would have been an OK "National Treasure" movie, or "Jewel of the Nile," or "King's Solomon's Mines" . . . but it's not an Indiana Jones movie. The series that everyone else copies has now become a copy of the copies. Very sad.

I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine not liking this movie, and yet I don't like it at all. Some have said they need to see it again before they really know how they feel about it. After seeing each of the previous three films dozens of times, I can't imagine ever watching this one again. I didn't miss anything in the first showing that will make a second showing any better. I actually wish they had not made the movie at all and just left me with my memories.

#11 of 55 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted May 22 2008 - 07:58 AM

Not sure what to make of the new film. It was strange watching another Indiana Jones film. There were some great moments but equally there were some really bad moments. Ford was great and Shia was surprisingly good as well. Story was fine for me (didn't mind the MacGuffin and thought it was appropriate to the film) and there were some great action sequences.

Yet something just didnt feel right about it when I was watching it. It sort of felt like an attempt to pull elements from all previous films into one. Having said that it was much better than Last Crusade (which I watched recently for the first time in a while and didnt like it nearly as much as I remember). Still prefer Temple of Doom (which was my first Indy film in the cinema).

At the moment, I'd give it a tentative 7/10. Will probably catch it again though in a couple of weeks.

#12 of 55 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted May 22 2008 - 08:39 AM

I saw this film with my father this afternoon. He rarely goes to the movies(the last two before this were L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST when they were released), but the return of Indy was enough to get his ass into a theater seat. He had a big grin on his face at the end, and so did I. Is it ridiculous? Yes. But it was also the most fun I've had at the movies since at least the summer of '05. I have to really think long and hard about how it compares to the other films in the series, and need to see it a few more times. But I'm very happy that Spielberg, Lucas and Ford made this movie.

#13 of 55 OFFLINE   Cory S.

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Posted May 22 2008 - 09:10 AM

As a weird Indiana Jones fan, this film easily ranks as my second favorite behind Temple of Doom.

Yeah, I'm the kind of fan that likes Raiders and Crusade a hell of a lot, but those two films don't compare to Temple of Doom. Maybe because I watched that film first or not, but I love Temple of Doom without question. To me, it's Indy at his best and the action set pieces are second to none.

With Crystal Skull, I'm quite happy with the switch in genres, while keeping it relatively the same in style as the other films. I just liked the energy and the McGuffin of this film, compared to Raiders and Crusade.

I can understand the criticism to some aspects of it but I also think fans are overblowing it, especially in the effects department. I'm sorry but there are fake looking shots all over the place in the previous films, especially Crusade. Just because someone does a hand-drawn matte painting compared to digital matte painting doesn't make one more real than the other. And to be honest, I'm willing to be that some of the shots were intially made to look fake just for kicks. Not all of them, but some.

Seeing it a second time this afternoon with the wife but I don't think my opinion of this film will changed.

I liked it a hell of a lot and it is a worthy sequel to the original three.
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#14 of 55 OFFLINE   dannyboy104

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Posted May 22 2008 - 09:11 AM

My take on the movie having seen it this morning:
The first 70 mins or so were more or less what i was hoping for and the rest of it was what i was dreading.This last section was bad,and in some places really bad CGI,wooden acting,poor script and a general mess.
It's like the first section was directed by Spielberg,(he then goes off on holiday)and Lucas finish's the movie off as only he could.

#15 of 55 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted May 22 2008 - 12:51 PM

I saw the movie earlier today. I can't say that I loved it, but I did really enjoy it. I knew the film wasn't going to be "second coming" as Lucas has put it. After all, how could it be? I grew up on the Indy movies. Raiders is my second favorite film of all time (behind Casablanca). And for all their flaws, I love every moment of Temple of Doom and Last Crusade. To me, they're as classic as any movie out there, perhaps moreso considering how familiar I am with them. I don't know if Crystal Skull will ever get there for me, but I don't find that problematic at all.

In the end, the film was a blast. It was fun watching Harrison Ford on screen and back as Indy. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by some of it, so maybe a second viewing won't hurt. But regardless, I think it was a solid entry in the series. It's more of a fun filled reunion that something that's trying to reinvent the wheel.

I'll probably need another viewing just to digest everything. As I said, I've seen the other films so many times, that this one just seems so new to me. It still hasn't quite registered with me that Indy got married! But I must admit that I wasn't really bothered too much by the use of CGI in the movie. Was it excessive? Probably. I had hoped they would've done it in a bit more old-fashioned manner, but CGI is so overused these days, that even when it's bad I can usually tune it out and get to the heart of what's going on without being too distracted by it.

Oh, and the look of the movie. Doubtful that anyone remembers, but a few times throughout the anticipation/pre-production of the film, I expressed my concern (as more of a rant) that Janusz Kaminski wouldn't be able to reproduce the look of the Indy films. Unfortunately, he didn't really seem to try. But oh well. The film did look pretty, but it does stick out. At least I'm generally over it. Posted Image
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#16 of 55 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted May 22 2008 - 01:47 PM

Just got back from my first viewing. I enjoyed the film and put it above TOD and close to Last Crusade. Raiders will always be above the others in my book.

I liked the wink to Star Wars when Indy said "I have a bad feeling about this." Posted Image

As for the complaints about the CGI looking fake. I wouldn't have it any other way for an Indy film. The films in this series were always meant to have that low budget feel. The effects in Raiders, TOD, and Last Crusade had their share of "fake looking" effects too. Crystal Skull fits the mold.

I enjoyed it.

Posted Image Posted Image

I am looking forward to viewing it at home, though. I just can't get comfortable in theater seats anymore.

#17 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 22 2008 - 02:20 PM

I really enjoyed it. Last Crusade was very much the template for this one. That said, I liked it better than TLC but not anywhere near as much as the first two.

First hour or so was almost pitch perfect the way it played on the 50s B movies along with the McCarthyism, dawning of the nuclear age, etc and the MacGuffin and commies fit in perfectly:
Irene Spalko is a Russian Psychic who want to use the Crystal Skulls to exert mind control and turn capitalists into communists? That's awesome! The way the film moves right in with Area 51 and Roswell, secret jet experiments, nuclear testing grounds, black lists, greaser culture all added up to exactly what I wanted to see in an Indiana Jones movie set in the late 50s.


Things start to stumble a bit when Marion is introduced though. I just don't think the script had her character right- it didn't feel like the Marion from Raiders. Also that's where the really broad Last Crusade style humor comes to the fore. While it's effective and it made me laugh, it was a bit over the top at times.

The truck chase was generally good but I think they bit off more than they could chew in setting it in a jungle environment. Sometimes I start thinking we can do anything with CGI but seeing ILM really struggle to integrate this section in a believable manner reminded me that there are still some pretty harsh limits. Kind of reminded me of the dino-chase that so many complained about in King Kong so maybe it's a bitch to do good compositing in jungles.

Last section went on a bit long with too much tomb raiding. Should have cut right to the MacGuffin reveal the way that raiders did after the truck chase.

Ford was fantastic. Easily his best performance in years. 99% of the movie he was Indy and that one percent he wasn't was only where the script let him down.

Oddly enough I think my favorite scene was:

where Indy was accused of being a communist sympathizer. Really well played by Ford.


Along with that scene, I agree with the others that really enjoyed smaller scenes in the diner, at his home, etc. Another reason the first half of the movie was so great.

Despite my misgivings I think it was better than I had hoped when this was announced and I had a big grin on my face almost the entire movie. While Last Crusade has really aged poorly in my opinion, I still think it's an accomplishment that an Indy movie twenty years later can top it.

#18 of 55 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted May 22 2008 - 02:28 PM

Just came Back from the 7:35pm showing, theater was'nt very full, I'll see it again but my reaction initially is I did'nt Love it, I did'nt Hate it it was just kinda there. It seemed a bit by the numbers and just did'nt seem to have alot of vigor, that's not saying it was'nt entertaining, I figured out the kid's origin pretty quick and kinda wish they had'nt gone there. lots of cute fun moments with Karen Allen, she and Ford still Have great chemistry. A few Roll your eyes moments like Lebouf's Tarzan Bit and the waterfalls, but not bad. I still Enjoyed Iron Man alot more. The Audiences reaction seem to be similar to mine. A Good, Competant film I would put this one squarely third before Doom pulling up the rear.
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#19 of 55 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted May 22 2008 - 03:51 PM

Just got back from a 7:30 showing and my initial reaction is... blah. While I did very much enjoy the homages to 1950 sci-fi movies the overall film never really captured me. I didn't hate it but it never felt like an Indiana Jones movie or even a Spielberg movie. I never got that sense of wonder that the other films hold. I still plan to give it another viewing before the summer's out and I'll see how that effects my perspective.
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#20 of 55 OFFLINE   Ron68

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Posted May 22 2008 - 03:58 PM

I saw this at 10:30 this morning, the theater was almost completely packed and I really enjoyed it. The audience around me seemed to also, I could hear them laughing throughout the movie. A lot of the humour worked, especially the dry mud quicksand and when Indy was getting cleaned up after surviving the Atomic Blast.

I liked the opening sequence and the motor cycle chase but I didn't really get into the movie until Indy and Mutt headed south. There was just something about this section of the movie seemed off. Once they hit the Jungles, the movie really kicked into gear for me. I liked the nod to TOD in the Tomb sequence where Indy reached his hand into the hole to pull the lever to open the door, then tells Mutt not to touch anything. The jungle chase was exciting, really well done (Mutt straddling the two vehicles as they sped along reminded me of the mine car sequence in TOD, where Short Round is be pulled between the two cars). I loved the Ant scene and the mud pit part, that was very funny.

I didn't mind the Tarzan swing at all. I was expecting Shia to be doing the Tarzan yell as he was swinging, like Chewbacca did in ROTJ. The sword fight was really cool. I like Shia a lot more in IJATKOTCS than in Transformers, his character in that movie gets on my nerves. I also liked Cate Blanchett's performance as Irina Spalko but the villains overall weren't that interesting. Nazis make better villains. Ford was spot on perfect as Indy, it was like he was having a blast playing the character again and it was great to see Karen Allen as Marion again, she looked like she was enjoying herself too.

Crystal has the weakest ending of all the Indiana Jones movies. It was a bit confusing as to why things happened the way they did but I liked Indy's explanation afterwards, it helped the ending make more sense. The wedding was great and the hat scene was a nice touch. The scene where Mac is taking artifacts out of the Temple reminded me of the Mummy remake, that was kind of distracting. I think all of the parts that bothered me will make more sense on a second viewing.

I'd rank Crystal as tied with TOD for third place in the series, Temple had a better story but CS was more fun to watch. Raiders will always be my favourite. The one thing this movie made me do was wish that there had been more Indy films between this and Last Crusade.