Friday, May 23, 2008
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I really wanted to like this movie, the Indiana Jones films are all great fun, and Spielberg is still a great director given the right project. So I went last night to a late showing with some friends hoping for 2 hours of cinematic fun.
It was after Harrison Ford had spoken his first few lines that I got an uneasy feeling about this film. Ford is quite simply old, now I knew he was going to look physically older but there was something missing besides that, there was no twinkle in his eye, he sounded old, his lines seemed forced, he may have been box office magic once but that magic has long since gone and there was no sign of it's return here.
Storyline aside I think the main fault with this film is there isn't a single bit of chemistry between any of the characters, even the dialogue between Indy and Marion seemed stale. The jokes fall flat, again I think a lot of this has to do with Ford's performance, there wasn't a single laugh out loud gag in the whole film. As villains go the Russians aren't a patch on the Nazi from Raiders or Last Crusade, Cate Blanchett looked the part but the villains never felt threatening once, where as Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark and his SS cronies had genuine menace.
The action sequences should have been edge of the seat stuff, but most just seemed either over the top or just plain phony, such as the vehicle chase through the jungle, what happened to Spielberg's promise of keeping as much of the stuff as real as possible, the whole sequence reeked of green screen and CG. The whole Tarzan sequence through the jungle not only looked poor it was cringe worthy on so many levels.
I'd also read that Spielberg had told Janusz Kaminski the director of photography to study Douglas Slocombe's work on the first 3 films to try and capture that look, he obviously didn't bother. The cinematography had a very flat look, especially in the FX sequences, and the bright areas really seemed to bloom with diffuse filters or post work.
Some of the FX sequences such as the ants really reminded me of The Mummy, at which point it seemed weird that I actually enjoyed that movie more for all it's faults than this film from the series of films that helped inspire The Mummy and it's sequel.
The plot seemed pretty much by the numbers, every mystery seemed to just fall into place with very little investigation, it didn't take much working out that Ray Winstone's character would double cross Indy from the off, and as for the Aliens and Flying Saucers it was all a bit too X-Files for me. For all what I'd seen and read of this movie that inspired me to think it could be fab, in the end it just didn't feel like I was watching and Indiana Jones film.
As I stood up to leave the cinema I heard a girl a few rows back say to her friend "So was that the worst movie you've ever seen ?" Well it wasn't quite the worst film I've ever seen but it'll hardly be remembered as any form of classic unlike the first 3 films. The reaction between my friends was mixed, with one or two hating or disliking it and others with mixed feelings, nobody seemed to love it that's for sure.
2 out of 10, 3 if I was being very kind. :)
Posted by Andrew Glazebrook at 10:29 AM