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Well, I think I was right in my initial expectations. This movie ruins the legacy of Indiana Jones. Make no mistake...it was a decent action flick...but it wasn't Inidana Jones. Even though the series is known for its over-the-top action sequences, this took it too far. Conducting a sword fight against a femme fatale with one leg on each of two speeding jeeps racing through the jungle is a bit much, even for an Indy movie. I also felt the hand of George Lucas with some of the computer-generated stuff...was there really a need to have computer-animated groundhogs in the opening scenes?

There wasn't much plot...the first half of the movie was somewhat enjoyable, because it had the beginnings of an interesting plotline, but it quickly devolved into mindless action sequences. The climax of this movie is absolutely ridiculous. It would be a fitting scene for some movies, but how did Lucas and Spielberg think that aliens who fly apaceships in interdimensional space is Indiana Jones material?

Now, the acting: Harrison Ford did about as well as he could with what he was given. Karen Allen wasn't given much to work with. She seemed more like an extra than one of Indy's old adventuring partners, and I found myself questioning why they bothered to bring her back. Shia LaBeouf wasn't bad, but I thought his character was very unnecessary. John Hurt was painful to watch...not because he did a bad job, but because his character was such a stupid idea. All he does is provide comic relief and utter things that don't make any sense.

The one thing I really enjoyed was the fact that it paid tribute to the old trilogy. I liked how the absence of Marcus Brody and Indy's father were explained by having them both be declared dead...I also enjoyed seeing the Ark of the Covenant again. I wish they had explained the absence of Salah, however.

With Star Wars already ruined, George Lucas has now completely destroyed his legacy, removing what little respect for him as a filmmaker that I had left. I hear his next project will be a sequel to American Graffiti, in which all the kids from the original get back together 40 years later to do battle with a tribe of rogue E-woks.

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It always astounds me how two people can see the same movie and have completely different reactions. I really enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Spoilers ahead....

I find it very interesting that an Objectivist would find a radio to God and a cup that brings immortal life as infinitely more plausible than aliens influencing a primitive culture. The mythology was highly appropriate for the time period (1957). The Soviets did in fact have a great interest in searching for the paranormal, particularly with psychic research and alien artifacts. The supposed crash-landing at Roswell and UFO sightings were a strong part of American culture as a reaction to Cold War hysteria. Are you seriously going to tell me that the ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark is significantly less strange? If anything, the ending to this film as an homage. I sat with my jaw on the floor for the entire scene.

As for some of your other concerns, I was happy to see Harrison Ford in his first decent role since Air Force One over 10 years ago. I loved how the film handled the first reveal of our return to his character, and I was immediately struck by how he felt exactly like the Indiana Jones of old. You are right that the plot is not strong, but has it ever been for an Indiana Jones film? The essence has always been travel, exotic adventure, and heroism; all of which were contained in this new film. In total, it's not one of the best pieces of art I've ever seen, but there were several moments that were simply stunning. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and did not let a bitter cynicism ruin my time.

I have to question your intention in posting this highly charged rant against the film, without any warnings against spoilers, or providing any decent context for your allegations. I am really sick of Objectivists being so unfairly negative about every single element of our culture, without thinking of the relative context to how something like this compares with other things that are anti-man and irrational. As I said, it's not great art, but the sense of life is highly heroic and adventurous. Perhaps you should seriously consider the flaws in the other three films, and how as a kid, you likely overlooked (or did not see) these flaws because you instead focused on the heroic and the inspiring. You should think about doing that again.

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I really enjoyed it. I just let myself experience it. It was like being involved in a great adventure or a great roller coaster. I felt like it only lasted 5 minutes. The acting was great! The message didn't seem to be too profound but there was an attempt at a profound message. I thought it was cool and worth seeing just for the fun of it.

You know that they're thinking of making Shia Leboef the next.

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Easy, tiger...it's just my opinion about a movie. I take your point about Objectivists frequently having negative, gut-level reactions at just about every movie out there (see: Nicholas Provenzo) and I've argued against these absurd reviews quite a number of times. My review of this movie isn't the same thing. I'm not nit-picking each negative thing and using it as an excuse to point out that Ayn Rand wouldn't have approved. I just didn't care for the way the movie continued the Indy legacy. As I said, it was a decent very Spielberg-style action flick. The action scenes were great, even if a little over the top. My primary criticism is how much I thought it deviated from the staples of the series as a whole.

Yes, the other Indy movies are based off of Judeo-Christian mythology. I can easily disregard the irrationality of religion for the sake of these movies, and look at them as Indy trying to stop the Nazis (or crazy Hindus) from obtaining a powerful weapon. My problem with this movie was not the irrationality of its plot, which was certainly more plausible than the other 3. My problem is that the original 3 Indy movies were dependent on ancient, near-eastern myths. It was a staple of the series. I have no problem with science fiction and tales about aliens and flying saucers, but these things do not belong in an Indiana Jones movie, for the same reason that Judeo-Christian mythology has no place in a Star Wars move.

I disagree with your statement that the other films didn't have much of a plot. Raiders and Last Crusade both had superb plots, that delved much further into themes of patriotism, evil, etc. This one paid lip service to those concepts, but it felt more shallow to me.

My intention in posting this thread? Just to give a review. I don't have some insidious ulterior motive here. I read many reviews of this film, and they have been very mixed. Most of the negative reviews sound a lot like the one I just posted. I didn't include any spoiler alerts, b/c my post didn't really contain any spoilers. And this is not bitter cynicism. Am I not allowed to dislike a movie without being accused of cynicism? I confess that I went in expecting to dislike this movie, but that isn't cynicism so much as it's the opinion I have to come to hold of George Lucas. I didn't "overlook" the flaws of the original three, because I don't think they had the flaws I have pointed out here...indeed the couldn't have had these flaws, because they are the movies that defined Indiana Jones. I thought this one was a sufficient deviation from the original themes, that it didn't fit well in the series. Then there's also the fact that much of what happened at the end seemed like a blatant ripoff of the 2 National Treasure movies.

In the end, I would prefer that the final image of Indiana Jones had been riding off victoriously into the sunset with his father and 2 best friends, after having saved the world from Nazi rule. You can disagree with my opinion if you want, but this comes down to a matter of personal taste. If you'll look at my post history, you'll see I usually defend movies where other people attack them. This is a case where I just didn't like the direction they took with the series. Disagree if you want, but don't accuse me of cynicism for the crime of not liking what I thought to be too much a deviation from the original Indy series.

You know that they're thinking of making Shia Leboef the next.

George Lucas has specifically said so. And I really wish they would just leave it alone.

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I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the sequels. I didn't know Lucas said specifically so. But it's obvious. Anyways, Shia really surprised me in Transformers, and I'm looking forward to see him mateur into the next one. He is himself turning into a man, and will bring the youth and strength that the newest Indy was naturally missing. For me it was the obvious launching of a new generation. I can't wait to see the next one ... though they may fail.

Jose.

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I second the review of Moose on the movie. He hit the nail.

{Spoilers...}

The end was definitely a serious put off. In all previous movies, Indiana Jones didn't end the adventure on his ass because he is awed by what he sees to be so much greater than himself. As Moose said, it used to end with riding into a sunset. But now it ends with Indiana staring at the UFO taking off. That's a quite a way to destroy the image of Indiana as a great man. And I agree, it's not even so much about irrationality or impossibility of UFO existing, it's about a wrong content. I was sitting there in the movies and thinking if I went to see X-files or Indiana Jones. Sheesh.

The movie was worth seeing, but it was not about the plot. The plot was weak in scope and areas traveled in the movie compared to first three. The good parts were all created by the image of Indiana Jones not backing down and even willing to raise hands in the face of commies.

I have to question your intention in posting this highly charged rant against the film, without any warnings against spoilers, or providing any decent context for your allegations.
And I have to question your intention on such a negative analysis of Moose's review. There was nothing in Moose's post to indicate such such a broad negative intention as you suggested.
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Since Moose was charged with going on a rant against this film, I'll keep this review short.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is the worst hack job, insulting, incompetent movie I've seen all year. That it ruins one of the most beloved movie franchises ever is insult to injury. I feel cheated, I feel abused, and most of all - I feel sad.

This film makes me question Steven Spielberg's integrity as an artist. I would feel sick having my name plastered on this thing.

I'd better stop before the vitriol kicks in.

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For me, Indiana Jones movies were about accepting the crazy central premise (Ark, Grail, Thuggees) and mainly enjoying the action that led up to the resolution. Unfortunately, this one's action was just too preposterous: the ants, the vines, and the fencing were ludicrous. I can suspend disbelief to enjoy a good action flick (heck, my whole love for Jackie Chan movies is testament to that ability), but there has to be some sensibility to the thing.

Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable enough. But it didn't feel like an Indiana Jones movie for large amounts of time. The Spielberg and Lucas of today aren't the same people that made the original flicks. Oh well.

Bill

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You all seem to reacting negatively to the alien theme. I saw it last night at the only remaining drive-in in my area, along with Iron Man, as a double feature. I enjoyed both. They are just movies, after all, and the fact that my 10 year old son enjoyed himself was worth the price of admission ($16 for two adults and a child for two movies, and being able to enjoy a smoke while watching was a bargin).

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I'll will say that both the National Treasure movies were better than this Indiana Jones. However, I can't really remember too well the first three, though, I remember extremely loving The Last Crusade. But the second National Treasure, which I watched last night, was so much more fulfilling than this Indian Jones movie--for me.

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I thought it was better than Temple of Doom, but I've regarded that as the worst of the bunch.

That's because it was the worst of the first three. If IV is better, then it is worth the price of admission.

Thanks.

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"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is the worst hack job, insulting, incompetent movie I've seen all year.
While my reaction was not as dramatic as yours, I did not like this movie, and the more I remember it, the less I like it. I believe the main problem was that it was too close to camp, without the directors intending it to be. I think they were going for, "We'll get the audience to accept this stuff," but I, at least, didn't buy it. All the while they maintained a high level of technical integrity (virtually every shot was interesting, or great), so perhaps mixed with the absurd story line and boring characters, the movie might have had an off-putting effect.

At any rate, I sat through the entire thing thinking, "...whhhaat... is...? ...what..?" It was pretty ridiculous.

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That's because it was the worst of the first three. If IV is better, then it is worth the price of admission.

Thanks.

Actually I thought "Crystal Skull" was significantly worse than "Temple of Doom." I stromgly suggest (if you feel you must see it) to wait until it comes out on DVD. Don't waste your money like I did.

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  • 4 months later...

I tried watching this on DVD the other day. I almost ended up walking out of my own house :D when Indy started running around in that warehouse, that's how bad that scene was.

Anyway, I realized I could just turn it off, and ended up watching a South Park episode on the subject instead. I highly recommend it, it sums up the movie quite well in a brief 20 minutes ( they even manage to add in some of the most outrageously racist stuff ever, on an unrelated topic --- so it's not for the humorously challenged):

South Park - The China Problem

If you're offended, read the disclaimer: "All characters and events in this show --even those based on real people-- are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated ... poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone."

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I thought it was fun, but nothing special. I really wish they'd gotten someone whose Russian accent wasn't so patently fake instead of Cate Blanchett.

I fail to see how it was worse than Temple of Doom. Have you all forgotten Short Round and that ditzy blonde? Then again, I didn't watch the originals until I was 18 or so and I remember the stupid parts quite well.

That being said, it wasn't as clever or spontaneous as the original films. A lot of it came off as Trying Too Hard, but that's almost always what happens when you make a conscious effort to be like something else.

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I thought it was interesting that Spielberg said he made this Indiana Jones "for the fans," whereas the previous ones, as with all of his movies, he made because he wanted to. Usually with his films, he gets interested and develops a vision, not anyone else. I think Speilberg is a great filmaker, but this movie was just so awful, and perhaps it was because he broke his creative integrity.

Edited by JASKN
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I thought it was a fun and entertaining flick. Not high Romantic Realism by any stretch of the imagination, of course. But then the Indiana Jones movies never were. They were always Heroism Lite. Maybe it has been too long since I saw the earlier movies in the series, but I thought there was the expected amount of swashbuckling adventure. Although I seem to remember Indy drawing (and firing) his pistol much more often in Raiders of the Lost Ark than he did in Crystal Skull.

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