Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) - Steven Spielberg


What with all the hooha surrounding the production and eventual release of this film, I found myself not being too bothered one way or the other about seeing it. So I let it slide past me at the cinema, and later found myself shaking my head at the on line reviews that screamed bad things about ALIENS, and CGI monkeys and all the rest of it. It all sounded about as much fun as being hit round the face with a used nappy.

Of course the world has turned several revolutions since we last saw that hat or heard that music, we're now in the fifties, both the decade and Indy's age (well give or take ten years). Nazi's are long forgotten and we're well into the Reds under the bed era. The story is some old gubbins about crystal skulls (you worked that out already from the title didn't you?), lost South American cities and UFO's, oh and (cough cough) Indy's son. Of course all of that is just an excuse for huge set pieces involving everybody's favourite whip slinging, wise cracking OAP archaeologist. It follows the same structure as the films that have gone before it, James Bond style opening action, then onto the school where all the exposition is gotten out of the way before Indy heads off on his globe trotting adventure. It's worked in all the previous films, so why change it? Likewise the pacing in this installment is superfast, it nips along at great speed, never giving the viewer time to pick holes in the plot. So when the dodgy CGI monkeys do turn up, they are gone before they have time to ruin the film.

In fact it's the use of CGI that I'd gripe on about most after a few Guinnesses down the pub I imagine. But that's because I love the old matte paintings and models of the original trilogy. But times change and so do film techniques, and let's face it the kids that this is aimed at aren't going to get all excited by claymation are they? So updating the look is fair enough. I really do wonder why people didn't enjoy this more though, maybe they expect too much while I expect too little from a film like this. It's true that neither Spielberg or Ford are at the top of their game anymore, but they can both knock out stuff like this easily enough. The rest of the cast is secondary to the action, so you may well have Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone and John Hurt but none of them do anything more than what is required. To be honest how could they do any more than that in this sort of film?

There are plenty of things I didn't like about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull such as the sub plot with his son, those monkeys or the opening Paramount logo dissolve. Then there are moments where belief has to be asked to step outside while the scene plays out, such as when Indy manages to survive an atomic explosion by climbing into a fridge. Still none of the above was able to dampen the film for me, and let's face it if you want realism watch Nil By Mouth, if you want heroes who are as good with the quips as they are with their fists then you could do much worse than this. So much worse.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...