Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Its been nearly 20 years since we last saw him, but Indiana Jones is still getting into trouble.

World War II is history.  Now America is entrenched in the McCarthy-era mania of the cold war.  Professor Jones, once again played by Harrison Ford, is kidnapped by Communists and then escapes.  Shia Lebouf is the rebel with a cause; he's a young man who needs Indy to help rescue his mom who is Marion Ravenwood, played once again by Karen Allen (Indy's love from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”).  Indy and his sidekick head to the amazon in search of El Dorado, a mystical skull, that promises powers to its holder.  And Cate Blanchett, with the Tupperware cut, plays the Red enforcer who wants to get her hands on the skull for its psychic abilities.

It's nice to see Harrison Ford back in the leather jacket and iconic fedora, but its too bad the film never quite inspires the awe and joy of the earlier films.  There are exciting moments early on as the movie announces its arrival in the nuclear age, and the opening sequence pays nice tribute to the earlier movies.  But somewhere between the hour and two hour mark, the film begins to disappoint.  Harrison Ford's older, wiser and grumpier Indy is likable, but too often the script does little more than put him through the motions.

The script  is passable when Jones is digging into history and plunging down mines into lost worlds, not so much when it tries to explain the mystery behind this chapter.  Viewers may get the feeling that Steven Speilberg and George Lucas based plot points on leftover props they had from the stars wars movies and close encounters of the third kind.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is unfortunately the weakest in the series.  It offers some early thrills, but not much more, earning 2 ½ out of 4 stars.

Copyright 2008 by Young Broadcasting, Inc.

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