Thursday, June 5, 2008

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (Steven Spielberg, 2008, USA) This brings together Spielberg and Lucas The Hutt for a hollow and uninspired action flick that is idiotically written, poorly acted, and above all just downright boring. We need not only suspend our disbelief in our love for Indiana Jones…we must execute it! As a film lover, the only miniscule compliment I’ll give Spielberg is that it is exceptionally filmed; his camerawork and framing is masterful, as usual. Everything else is a bomb. As in atomic bomb…like the one Indy survives in a lead-lined refrigerator. No, I can’t make this crap up. This movie is AMERICAN GRAFFITI meets APOCALYPTO as written by Erich von Däniken. We could forgive some fantastic stunts in the first film (did you truly believe the submarine never submerged in RAIDERS?) because they were at least possible and we cheered for Indy in taking the risks, but each film became more fantastic and hard to swallow. This one gets stuck in your throat. Swinging on vines, monkeys, waterfalls, carnivorous ants, driving in the Amazon jungle (did I mention it’s a freaking jungle?), ET, Mayan and Russian stereotypes, and the temporary suspension of all three physical laws of motion makes this adventure seem more like an arcade game…just reset and start again, no risk! Karen Allen as Marion is relegated to a shrill and annoying love-interest: she and Ford share absolutely no chemistry and their banter brings on a migraine. Ford seems to struggle with his lines and LaBeouf isn’t terrible…he’s just written that way. Cate Blanchett is laughable though she is the only one to deliver her absurd lines with any conviction. The special effects aren’t so special and look unfinished or hurried, especially the Crystal Skull: it actually looks plastic! Writing this makes my skull hurt (no, it’s not plastic) or more precisely my brain…which is what our Dynamic Duo wants us to turn off while they shovel this manure. Maybe future critics will interpret this film as a post-modern masterpiece that abolishes typical narrative conventions in order to create a narcissistically self-parodying mode of internal logic. On second thought, probably not…they’ll just say it sucked. (F)

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