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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Reviewed by Steven Shon
Film Reviews
The Adirondack Review
It seems that many other reviewers of this film have forgotten that it is an Indiana Jones flick. As such, it is immune to the usual standards of logic and coherence, all of which pale beside the dominating “holy cow” factor. Holy cow, as in:

“Holy cow; they just went over three waterfalls!”

“Holy cow, those are flesh-eating ants!”

Holy cow, here is every adventure cliché you ever knew and loved when you were a kid, reminding you why those things became cliché in the first place. Viewers are treated to a full quota of booby-trapped temples, faceplant-through-the-windshield action sequences, and snakes. Oh, yes, the snakes.

As for logic and plot…well, the movie doesn’t always do so well with those. Thematically, it’s confused: knowledge is treasure, but too much can destroy; fear of the Reds became as dangerous as the Reds themselves, but, well, the Russians really are everywhere here. As far as pacing goes, the movie is great once it gets kicking, but it trips over its own exposition for the first half-hour. Heart? There’s heart here, especially when Indy is reunited with Marion, but nothing to match the father-son dynamic of The Last Crusade.
But remember that there are flesh-eating ants! How awesome is that? Steven Spielberg directs as if he knows that this kind of goofy fun is what actually counts. His actors know it, too. Harrison Ford is older, which the script acknowledges; but damn, he’s spry. Karen Allen is back as my personal favorite Jones Girlfriend, and she manages to steal the scenes with some action of her own—and a couple of great fights with Indy. Cate Blanchett is the cheesy but fearsome femme fatale. And Shia LeBouef pulls off a backbreaking car-to-car sword fight and some real poignancy when he’s reunited with...well, it’s a mystery. You see, all these people run and dodge and wave weapons at each other, and then they take a breath and turn to the camera and wink: “Yeah, this is goofy. Yeah, this could never happen in real life. Isn’t it great?

This film’s not perfect, but it’s got the sort of old-Hollywood insanity everyone loved in the originals. So watch, laugh at the jokes, and hold on to your hat.