Monday, August 16, 2010

#55 - Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 2008

The 6th movie I chose to watch this week was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What a name huh? So this was a very highly anticipated movie when it released in 2008 because the Indiana Jones franchise is one of the most popular in all of cinema. Although many critics did not review this film positively I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was a great film. Below is my detailed review.

The cast for this film was great and of course was led by Indiana Jones himself, Harrison Ford. It reunited Ford with Karen Allen who played Marion from the original Raiders of the Lost Ark and I thought that was a pretty cool addition to this film. Then again it was necessary since Marion's son was Mutt played by the Transformer himself Shia LaBeouf. Turns out Mutt is Indy's son he never knew he had. Cate Blanchet stars as the villain in this film, Irina Spalko. Rounding out the major characters of the film were Mac played by Ray Winstone (think Edge of Darkness), Dean Charles Stanforth played by Jim Broadbent (think new Professor from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), and Professor Oxley played by John Hurt. I also saw the lead terrorist in the movie Toy Soldiers at the beginning of the film as well as one of the Soviet soldiers. Great overall cast led obviously by Ford.

The storyline is one thing that got a lot of flack from critics and audiences alike but I personally loved it. Its very possible that die hard Indy fans did not like the addition of a supernatural being in this franchise but I thought it was very cool. They tied it with the historical elements pretty well and the tombs they were in looked basically like mummy tombs. I thought the entire story was excellent and I thought that there were plenty of very cool scenes in this film and just as much action and adventure as its predecessors. The special effects were amazing and the classic Indy theme music throughout the film made it more nostalgic and seem more like the old style Indy films which I really loved. Since there was a lot to this film that I really enjoyed lets start with the amazing picturesque scenes that took place in this film.

By far my favorite scene of this film takes place when Indiana and Mutt go to Cusco, Peru and go to the grave site at night to search for the Crystal Skull. The entire set for this scene was amazing and it was by far the creepiest set and scene in the entire film. With the thunder, lightning, and wind against them Indy and Mutt entered the grave site but found unexpected tenants. These were skeleton faced masked tribesmen who literally came out and entered back in all kinds of hidden passages and holes throughout the grave site. This particular scene looked like it could be right out of a horror film and I think that is one reason I loved it so much. After getting by these crazed freaks Indy and Mutt entered into the grave site and its cave structures where they ultimately found the Crystal Skull after rummaging through some dead bodies of course. The cave scene reminded me of old time Indy films. All in all the best overall scene throughout the movie!

The other scene that was quite spectacular to watch was obviously the chase scene in Iiha Aramaca. After Indy, Mutt, and Marion takeover one of the jeeps they do battle with Irina and her hoard of bad guys in an awesome and visually stunning car chase scene through the woods. This scene included flying bullets, a unique sword battle, jeep's getting cut in half, and a race next to a steep cliff overlooking rapids below, far far below. I especially loved when Mutt got stuck in the vines up above but with the help of some monkey's decided to swing his way into the hero role. The entire back and fourth of this scene was just awesome and even when they crashed into what looked like a large mole hill the fun was not about to end. In fact it was just about to get even more crazy. After large people eating ants, yes I just said that, killed and devoured all kinds of soviet soldiers Indy, Mutt, Marion, Ox, and Mac all escaped death only to find themselves in for the flight of their life. A flight that would literally take them over three gigantic waterfalls as Ox would say "three times it drops". It was easily one of the most unrealistic scenes of the film yet one of the more picturesque ones as well.

Other very cool scenes that I liked in this film were the very beginning scene with the gopher coming out of the ant hill. The motion picture logo turns right into real life with this first scene of the film. Very creative. Although Ive seen this movie twice I never saw the huge 5 and 1 on the doors to the large hangar that opened when Irina forced Indy in to find what she was looking for. I'm assuming they were in Roswell, yeah? Again, loved the Area 51 and Alien reference. Never gets too old. The entire scene with the magnetic box and how it attracted all the metal and silver from everybody there including their weapons. Great special effects and again I loved the "Roswell" writing inside the crate. The extremely fast what I like to call Jet Cart scene was cool too but somehow I don't think Indy and that other guy would have survived like they did. Then again in easily the most unrealistic scene of the film Indy survived a test nuclear bomb attack on what was a very creepy "fake" city with "fake families, pets, houses, and yards. Reminded me partly of "Blast from the Past" and "The Hills Have Eyes". Quite odd if you ask me.

Obviously I enjoyed the scenes with Mutt as well since I am a Shia LaBeouf fan. I really liked him in Disturbia and he has a quick hot shot way about him and even though I thought the imitation Marlon Brando bike ride was corny I liked most scenes with him in it like the initial diner scene where in typical old time fashion he had to comb his hair over and over and over. Things got even funnier when Indy finds out Mutt is Marion's son and then even more hilarious when he learns he is HIS son all while he is in quick sand. Speaking of that scene it was awesome. In one of the more comical scenes of the film Indy freaks out when Mutt throws him the snake to grab onto to help save him and this is obviously a classic reference to older Indy films where he from the very beginning has a deathly fear of snakes.

Finally the end of the film takes place at Akator where the scenes are once again quite beautiful and scary at the same time. Who doesn't love a steep downward spiral staircase that disappears into the wall forcing its victims to fall below. I mean that's just good wholesome fun if you ask me. haha. I also loved the next set of creepy tribesmen who literally came out of the cave's wall structure and chased Indy and his crew. The entire chase down a ridiculously large staircase on a pyramid looking structure was another visual treat this film had to offer. It got better too. Once they reached the room with the treasure and eventually the room with the sitting aliens it was a sight to see. This is where a lot of critics I'm sure were disappointed and felt let down when it went into full alien and supernatural mode for its ending. I found it rather cool and awesome and the large ship (aka: UFO) hovering about and then Akator being run a flood with water was an awesome looking ending to me. Then again it didn't end there as we all know. The final scene is Indy and Marion getting married in a church somewhere and the wind blowing Indy's hat into the hands of Mutt. Is this a reference to Indy 5 with Mutt taking over the heroic role? I guess we will have to wait and see. Not much else to say here but I felt this film was awesome and would easily give it a strong A!

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