INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. 2008. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER- GEORGE LUCAS. DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG. MUSIC BY JOHN WILLIAMS. STARRING HARRISON FORD, KAREN ALLEN, SHIA LABEOUF, CATE BLANCHETT, RAY WINSTONE, JOHN HURT AND JIM BROADBENT. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
The year is 1957, a mere twelve years after the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan put an end to the Second World War. Indiana Jones is busting his hump trying to get from Nevada to Peru to locate a telepathic crystal skull, which is believed by pursuing Soviet agents to belong to an alien life form. (After nearly twenty years since the last Indy movie, Harrison Ford is looking much greyer on top but he’s still trim and just about fit enough to crack that famous bullwhip of his.)
It is also believed by these same Russian agents that, if there’s more of these crystal skulls where that one came from, they will give whoever finds them the advantage in a psychic war. Now, I’m not sure why anyone would want to go to all that trouble for the advantage in a psychic war (what is that, even?) but hey, I’m just a humble viewer. In any case, the Russians are using Indy to lead them to the skulls and the race to find them is about as frantic as you might expect.
Cate Blanchett plays Irina Spalko, the lead Soviet agent. Stick-thin and as mopey-faced as always, the grey uniform she wears and the severe black bob she sports don’t do her any favours. No, I don’t like her, okay? She moped about something fierce as Galadriel in THE LORD OF THE RINGS and she just always seems to have a big puss on her. There’s zero sexual chemistry between her and Harrison Ford so it’s obvious that the film-makers didn’t intend her for Indy’s love-interest in this one. Humph. It’s just as well. There’s nothing there at all. Nothing.
Anyhow, Indy doesn’t need mopey old Cate Blanchett to snuggle up to. Karen Allen, aka Marion Ravenwood from INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, has turned up and I think most people will agree that she and Indy were made for each other. Indy and Marion certainly feel the love again right off the bat and to complete this perfect little family, Baby Makes Three.
By which I mean, Marion has a weedy little greaser son (well, it is the ‘Fifties, after all) called Henry ‘Mutt’ Jones the Third, played by Shia Le Beouf, who just so happens to be Indy’s son too. Well, strike me up a gumtree…! Indy adapts to the news that he’s a daddy remarkably quickly and he and the kid seem to get on okay together, so whatevs. All’s well that ends well and all that kind of thing.
Ray Winstone, complete with thick Cockney accent, co-stars as Indy’s supposed friend Mac who turns traitor for the Russians. John THE ELEPHANT MAN Hurt plays Indy’s doddery chum Harold ‘Ox’ Oxley, who’s mired in this ‘crystal skull’ business up to his eyeballs. Kindly old Jim Broadbent has a small role as the dean of Indy’s college, where Indy usually lectures at least once per film, haha.
Touching references are made to Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Indy’s Pops (Sean Connery) having passed away in the intervening years since THE LAST CRUSADE.
I don’t much care for Shia Le Beouf but the bit where he’s swinging through the trees with the monkeys is kind of sweet. The scene with the the three massive waterfalls and the amphibious boat is probably the only really breath-taking moment in the whole film.
The ancient temple with the freaky crystal skeletons is terrific and I liked the ending, although I kept noticing similarities to Stephen Sommers’s 1999/2001 films THE MUMMY and THE MUMMY RETURNS during the whole second half of the film, which incidentally is the better half, in my humble opinion.
The fire-ants do exactly what the scarabs did, Ray Winstone is the ‘Benny’ character who pays the ultimate price for his greed and the temple being swallowed up at the end and the main characters barely escaping with their lives…? The two MUMMY films did it first.
Still, I liked THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL well enough and I don’t think it deserves its poor reputation. Oh, and the ‘test’ village in Nevada at the beginning was pretty cool. Will there be a fifth instalment in the franchise? Maybe, if they set it in a nice cosy retirement home. Enjoy your retirement, Indy my dear. You’ve certainly earned it.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY