Indy, I Liked You Better in the 40′s

Well, several hours ago I walked out of the Hamilton 16 Movie Complex, having seen the new Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was not what I had expected. So here is my spoiler-free review: it was an average film – closer to NATIONAL TREASURE 3 than an INDIANA JONES movie – but was most disheartening was how far off the beaten path Speilberg and Lucas went to deliver the story line – what made Indy truly great was not just the adventure, but the folklore, the history, and the spiritual element that made every adventure – and every legend – potentially real. Believable. And that’s where the idea for this film took a wrong turn. It was more about Indy living in the 1950′s than about the adventure itself – which is what we all care about most. Now to my spoiler review….


Now back to my point about the 1950′s – it was the start of the Cold War. The Nazis had been replaced by the Reds as the “military villain of choice.” I kind of like seeing the Ruskies back in action – it was a throwback to my early adolescent years and classic Cold War movies like RED DAWN – (“That hate’ll burn you up kid.” “Keeps me warm.”) But the 1950′s also saw the explosion of classic drive-in sci-fi movies – movies that no doubt fascinated Lucas and Spielberg. And since the Jones character was a tribute to another old film genre that they loved (the adventure serials) it might have made sense that bringing Indy in to the 50′s also meant taking him into B-movie science fiction. And the world of science in general.

Sure – it might make sense, but it doesn’t work.

Yes, Indy encounters aliens in this new adventure. The movie even starts at Area 51. And I think this, more than anything else, kills this from being a great Indiana Jones film. It has sapped the life-blood of an Indiana Jones adventure, which is believing in the legend. Believing in the magic. Seeing Jones look for flying saucers just isn’t something that I can believe in, and in the end it makes the hole adventure kind of pointless. As much as I wanted to love this film, I just had trouble doing it. Thankfully, 1940′s Indy can live on in my DVD player – with no Aliens or atomic bombs. Just good ol’ Nazis and the wrath of God.

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