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

Anyone expecting a well written continuation of the Indiana Jones adventures was bound to be disappointed, since this long in the making sequel had countless script drafts, a number of false starts, and finally a rushed shooting schedule to put the cherry on top. All these problematic production factors reveal why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is such a mess from a screenwriting aspect (the ending is truly ludicrous). But one can’t deny the inherent visceral joy it is to see such a revered and entertaining character grace the screen after such a long layover, Harrison Ford’s Indy bringing clarity to Spielberg’s crazed and jumbled compositions with his whip, fedora, and sly grin. The film basically strings a number of well constructed action set pieces together, connecting them with lame exposition about Mayan temples and dead languages hoping the audience won’t pay too much attention while they eagerly await the next nostalgic moment (for the adults) or explosion (for the kids). Throughout the opening act, Spielberg unearths some interesting commentaries about the clash between patriotism and government fear-mongering (the film takes place during 1950’s McCarthyism), but the story quickly descends into popcorn madness, settling for broad comedic grimaces and overlong chase scenes to fill the obvious narrative void. It’s tough to watch one of your favorite movie icons taken out to pasture with such irreverent fluff, but we only have our filmmaking heroes to blame. 

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