Monday, July 07, 2008

"...For an Old Man You ain't Bad in a Fight."

"This ain't going to be easy."
"Not as easy as it used to be."
Thus begins "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".
For the next two hours I sat and caught up with old friends. I left my belief suspended by the door and just went along for the ride. And what a ride. Indiana Jones has weathered well since the "Last Crusade". He can still lay a solid right hook on the bad guys and use his bullwhip to escape trouble when he needs it most. After 10 minutes of viewing the film I lost sight of the character's age and just watched Indy in action.
And there is action.
Lots of it.
Some believable; most not so much.
As I said earlier, you really need to suspend your belief to make it through this movie. It is very far-fetched. To analyze it with any type of logic would cause this film to fly apart at the seams. If you allow yourself to just sit back, relax and go along for the ride then you'll be okay.
However, for all of the action in this movie, I feel that this is a character-driven piece.
Indiana Jones is older, maybe wiser and certainly sardonic. This all comes across beautifully in the hands of Harrison Ford, who has turned irascible into an art form. From references to Marcus Brody, Henry Jones Sr., the Ark of the Covenant and Marion Ravenwood, character moments abound throughout the movie. While this movies works for the uninitiated it is better appreciated by those who have seen the previous three movies. Unlike its predecessors, this movie is not as much of a travelogue as it is a family album. Here we are given the rare opportunity to see our hero (and those he loves) in action one more time. Lines like this kept me glued to the screen:
Marion Ravenwood: I'm sure I wasn't the only one to go on with my life. There must have been plenty of women for you over the years.
Indiana Jones: There were a few. But they all had the same problem.
Marion Ravenwood: Yeah, what's that?
Indiana Jones: They weren't you, honey.
Naysayers be damned, this was a fine film. Could this have been a better film? Absolutely. Is it another "Raiders"? No. No film will ever be as good as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" which is perfect in every aspect. It is the "Perfect Storm" of movie making in that all of the separate parts came together to make a brilliant whole. So, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" falls somewhere between the sequels, told in the style of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." To me, this means that it is at least as good as the latter and it is better than the former. And I was okay with that.
Again, for me, this film was about the characters and it is full of them. Mostly, it is filled with the larger-than-life presence of Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr.
Twenty seven years ago Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and (most of all) Harrison Ford created a hero that is iconic. With their attempt to make an homage to adventure serials of their childhoods they created their own legend; a legend that lives on from my own childhood. This film was directly targeted to those of us who first discovered Indiana Jones on the big screen in 1981. Last Friday, 27 years later, I spent a joyful two hours with one of my childhood heroes.


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

Bravo friend. I knew you would feel exactly like this...which is why I didn't want to share my opinion with you before you saw it. Glad you had a good time.

9:28 AM, July 07, 2008  

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