The Ark of the Covenant (which we get to see again) melted peoples faces off, Mola Ram of the Thugee could barehanded-ly rip people’s hearts out, and the trap filled journey to the the Grail blew my then 7 year old mind! This one failed to deliver in the completely awesome, and plausible, department (more on why later). This time, viewers don’t have to over-analyse or predict anything, because there isn’t anything to figure out. There is a problem when Indiana Jones is out Indy-ed by other recent films like National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
This story didn’t really didn’t tread anywhere new, and frankly rips off the other three films, including the twist in the opening sequence. The places where it did tread didn’t quite feel right. Like going to grandma’s house and instead of getting sweet, delicious cookies that are expected, she serves crab cakes (don’t let the cake name fool anyone, these aren’t cakes, not at all). With the left turns this movie makes, a hair metal band attacking Indy and Co. wouldn’t have been out of the question.
There were some characters that have been there in other movies that were missed. Some of the actors passed away, Denholm Elliott who played Dr. Marcus Brody, or retired, Sean Connery who played Indy’s father. Although they wanted Connery back for a short cameo, it looks like he wouldn’t come out of retirement. There is a touching scene in the movie that explains that these two characters passed away. Having these character would have added some of the depth back, seeing as they were part of what made the other movie(s) great. Another character, that can be seen previously and in the Disneyland ride, Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), could have added some nostalgia to the movie as well. Although where would they have fit him in? Maybe a cameo somewhere would have been nice.
There was a reason they rode into the sunset at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Emphasis on LAST. At the end of this one, in a typical Hollywood style ending, Indiana Jones has a son, a wife, and new job. Hooray! But was this necessary? Can we have do-overs and remember Last Crusade’s ending instead? Please, let this be the last movie! George “Let’s drive ‘er into the ground” Lucas has already expressed interest in using Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams character in a sequel/spin-off. After seeing Crystal Skull, I’d say that this new movie’s going to be named either “Mutt Williams and the Moderately Dangerous Adventure” or “Mutt Williams: Not the Hair! Not the HAIR!” Seriously Lucus, stop ruining my favorite movie franchises to line your pocketbook!
I liked that the other films were set in the 30s. Yes, it’s been nearly 20 years since Last Crusade and Harrison Ford can’t look and move 20 years younger, even with modern movie makeup and computer imagery. So, the only logical place to go was the 50's. The atomic era, complete with showing an atomic bomb going off. Although I think that sequence was in the film because ILM was dying to make it (I know I would be). Seeing Indiana standing in front of a mushroom cloud was pretty cool. Never the less, the aesthetic of the 30's is a lot more fantastical than that of the 50's.
Also, since this movie is set in the 50's, we no longer have those band of bastards we love to hate, the Nazis. What we get instead are Soviet Russians, Commies. Which are arguably as easy to not cheer for, as evident in almost any James Bond film. Although, it seems when Lucas et. al. wrote this, they wanted these Russians to be Nazis. Badly. The character act exactly like the villains in the previous films and telepathy is more of a thing that Hitler would have been researching, but whatever. The Nazis are gone.
Aliens!?! in an Indiana Jone Film? WTF Lucas? Seriously, W.T.F.? Lucas, you have a whole other series that focuses on space and aliens! Why drag aliens into the favorite serial treasure hunter series of millions? Don’t think I’m leaving Spielberg out of this, because I know he loves aliens too. He took Kubric’s A.I. and needlessly added aliens (robots?) to the end of it. I’ve never seen a captive audience give such a confused look in unison. Seeing the UFO hovering near our heroes near the end of the film brought everyone out of the “that was completely awesome, and plausible!” state of mind that the other three movies typically brought to the party. The creators of Crystal Skull couldn’t have gotten a more confused reaction if the sequence was replaced by the Rick Astley video. Yeah, that one. That’s right, being “Rick Rolld” couldn’t have confused us more. Way to go!
And there you have it!
Let me know if I’m completely off base with this one . . .