I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Thursday, and it's taken a few days for it all to sink in. I'll try my best not to spoil the plot, but if you want to go into it knowing absolutely nothing, then skip this. Overall, I'd have to say that I liked it. I'd probably give it about a B-.
Just like the Star Wars movies though, it's tough to give an objective review of this one. I remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theaters and being blown away by it. And much to my eternal embarassment, I didn't see Temple of Doom in the theaters because when I heard about the guy who got his heart ripped out of his chest, I became too afraid to see it. (Yeah, I know - how lame. Unlike a lot of boys, I avoided scary movies and gore, and looking back at it, I think that much of it was due to my sister's influence. Obviously, I've long since gotten over it.) Still, I remember seeing that one as it was the first video that my dad and I rented when we finally got a VCR (my family was always a little behind the times.) I also remember seeing The Last Crusade when I was a freshman in high school, as I got a cute girl to go along to the movie with me. So, these movies have a special place for me, and I probably wind up watching all of them at least once a year.
As I left the theater for the latest one, I remember feeling like it was just okay. Now that a few days have past, there are a lot of scenes that really stick in my mind, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again (although I'll probably wait for the DVD). I have to admit though, half the fun of the movie was simply seeing Indiana Jones again (and Marion Ravenwood too, I suppose). It was like seeing old friends, and it was good to see that things hadn't slown down for Dr. Jones. I also like the fact that it reflected what was going on in the 50s, just as the originals reflected what was going on in the 30s.
There was only one really lame part, but overall I think that the major weakness of this story involves the treasure that he was looking for. It reminded me of the sort of thing that he'd go after in the comic books - kinda interesting but without the deeper mythological weight of the Ark and the Holy Grail. And even though the Shankara Stones don't have as much resonance, they worked well as it was basically a Golden Fleece type of a treasure, as they restored a barren land to its former glory. (Interestingly enough, Indy went after the Golden Fleece in one of the better comic book stories.)
I've read that George Lucas wanted to go full-on 50s style sci-fi and have it be Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars (or something like that). While I think that would have turned off a lot of people, I almost wish that they went that far with it. Instead what this movie had was a mish-mash of 50s sci-fi with 30s treasure-hunting, and it felt like a watered down version of both. One thing that was great about all three of the original endings were how memorable they were:
"You betrayed Shiva!"
This one though, I really wasn't feeling the moral here.
Still, it was good to see Dr. Jones, and his successor, Mutt Williams, wasn't half bad. If they make a movie with him, I'll probably check it out.