Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

22 May 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, dir. Steven Spielberg (2008)

NIKKI says:
Well, this was a surprise. I did not think I'd like it as much as I did. Truth be told, I didn't think I'd get it. I was expecting much talk about arks and covenants and I envisioned myself just missing the point and just waiting for the climax.

How wrong I was. I was with the movie all the way through, and I loved how it was all about aliens and Area 51. There were a few things I didn't get, like why Oxley took the head in the first place, but I'm sure Google can answer that for me. Otherwise, I followed things quite well.

The action scenes were good. I loved the dual car fighting, when Shia and Cate Blanchett were back-and-forthing over two jeeps, and she has the head, then he has the head, then she lands on another car altogether, and then Shia is swinging through the jungle with the monkeys. Somehow, I never questioned the realism of that -- see, I finally got what it was like to be wrapped up in an Indiana Jones adventure. Very cool.

And the ants! The other thing I worried about with this was that it would play too much to the kiddie crowd, but it really doesn't. The ants were the main evidence of that. Gory!

Overall, I enjoyed it. It's currently my favourite of the series.


STEVE says:
George Lucas has spent the last few weeks promoting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by telling all and sundry, basically, "Don't get your hopes up." He reckons that high expectations, not his own mediocre script and tepid direction, are what killed The Phantom Menace, and wants to make damn sure that doesn't happen here.

The difference, of course, is that Crystal Skull has the double advantage of having a good writer in David Koepp, and a great director in Spielberg, so there's no way, really, that expectations could possibly kill it. Right?


Well, it's like this. I liked Crystal Skull. I didn't love it, but I liked it, and I don't think that has anything to do with the altitude of my expectations (which were both high and exceeded, by the way, Mr. Lucas). There is simply no way that this movie was going to be better than Raiders - apologies to Nikki - but it certainly had every chance in the world of being better than the previous two sequels. My expectations were based solely on how it compared to the original adventure, and not how it fit into the series, or whether it "beat" the last one, which is how these things are usually judged. Each sequel has to be "better, stronger, faster" than the one that came before it, raising not only the expectations of the audience, but the responsibility of the filmmakers to the point of absurdity, so that after ten movies Jason somehow ends up in space.

David Koepp seems to understand this, and has written not just "another movie" in the Indiana Jones franchise, but a direct sequel (or at least a companion) to Raiders. And in this way, it was better than Temple of Doom and Last Crusade. It beat them without trying to beat them, but by ignoring them completely.

Hats off to you, Mr. Koepp.


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