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It has been nearly 20 years since Indiana Jones graced our screens in “The Last Crusade.” After many years of speculation and numerous rewrites of the screenplay, Steven Spielberg has once again teamed up with the all- star cast of Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and now Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett to tell a new story of the famous archeologist and his quest for hidden treasure.
In this latest film, Indiana races against a group of Russian KGB to try and obtain the mythical crystal skull from an ancient South American kingdom.
Harrison Ford is in top shape for this film, both in terms of acting and physical abilities. Apparently, Harrison insisted on handling all of his stunt work, claiming that his character shouldn’t be doing anything that he could not do himself. Harrison’s age brings an older and wiser perspective to the film, which plays a principle role in the plot and is a nice contrast to the persona of his sidekick, Mutt. Mutt, played by LeBeuf, is a teenage recluse on a mission to find his foster father, Harold Oxley, but learns from Indy that it takes more than a youth and passion to make it through the dangers they encounter.
There is an interesting play between the fantasy world of Indiana Jones and some major events in world history that took place in the 1950s. One scene that is particularly interesting takes place at the Nevada Test Site in 1957 when above-ground tests are still being conducted. This element is not only interesting to watch from the perspective of plotline, but ironically also ties in nicely with some of Los Alamos’ core history.
At times, despite Spielberg’s insistence on using old fashioned filming and special-effects techniques, the computer generated effects become a little tiring.
There is something to be said about the original films in how they were able to tell a great story and utilize a moderate amount of effects to compliment the movie. Today, grandiose effects are so frequently used and so easy to come by that directors think they have to go all out and dazzle audiences in ways never imagined. The parts of this movie that did not rely on CG were its strongest.
For many, “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” will never match up to the originality of the first three films, which have become classics. While this may be true, this film was a lot of fun to watch and stayed true to the original energy of the Indiana Jones stories.
It was a pleasure to see Harrison Ford in this role again, as charismatic as ever, and to watch him on this wild journey through history. Toward the end of the movie, there are a few hints that this saga may not be over. I will be waiting eagerly to see what Indy does next.
My score: 4/5 kernels