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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is a fun, Summer movie, but in no way compares the the previous three Steven Spielberg movies. I think this is in part due to the fact that it's long overdue and comes off like a "Reunion Movie" than anything else.

The movie takes place in 1957 during the Cold War and the Soviets, led by pyschic Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), are in search of a mysterious crystal skull which may be the means to a new weapon-- controlling people through thought. Indiana is immediately involved from this in the beginning, which starts at "Area 51", so we know immediately it'll have something to do with aliens (and the "Lost Ark" makes a cameo in the warehouse). Indy then barely survives an atomic bomb test and is looked at suspiciously by the FBI, who think he might be a "Red".

Soon Indy is joined by Mutt Williams, who has been sent to retrieve him by his mother, Marion. And immediately we know that Mutt is somehow related to Jones and this "revelation" is no surprise whatsoever. My biggest problem is that Shia LaBeouf is horribly miscast as Mutt and makes a poor, nerdy action hero. Of course, Harrison Ford is getting up there in years as is Karen Allen, and this age factor was a bit distracting because I kept on thinking, "Damn, they're old".

And although the majority of the effects are well-done as can be expected in a multi-zillion dollar Hollywood movie what the heck is it with those fake looking prairie dogs? Or the monkeys?

I remember reading, a decade ago, a script for INDIANA JONES AND THE SAUCER MEN and this script by David Koepp retains some of these ideas. While all the various ideas, from crystal skulls to El Dorado to psychic mind control and aliens all falls together nicely these are all elements that seem way too familiar to be all that interesting. Universal's MUMMY movies are far more like an Indiana Jones adventure than this is.

I did, however, like that they tied the movie in with the TV series THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES (1992), with the mention of his Pancho Villa adventure and that it attempted to give the character(s) a happy ending. What I don't want to see are new "Indiana Jones" movies starring Shia LaBeouf.

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