If you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, do not read this. Unless you like having movies be ruined before you see them, as opposed to, I don’t know, while you see them. Though if you haven’t heard that the folks behind this monstrosity killed my childhood (specifically, mine) and exactly how they did it before now, you’ve been living under a rock.
SPOILER SPACE FOLLOWS
And one more la….
One word: aliens.
Two more words: nuclear bomb.
All of the ingredients were there for a spectacular movie, which is what made me suspicious and wary. I mean, more Indy after so long away from him. Karen Allen is back as Marion and probably the mother of Indy’s love child played by the spectacular actor Shia LaBoeuf and then the villain is an awesome Cate Blanchett. Soooo much goodness. My now adult suspicions warned me that you have to pay a price for that kind of goodness. I was right to be suspicious. It WAS too good to be true, much to my chagrin.
Whoever’s fault it is, the story sucked. I don’t even mind that obviousness of Mutt being Indy’s son. I’m cool with that. I went into the movie willing to forgive a lot because I was so excited to see Indy and Marion and this world again. And honestly, hate to say it, but Mutt (aka Shia LaBoeuf) was the thing that felt most “Indiana Jones” to me in this movie. I’m there. I’m loving that Karen Allen is back, that she’s the mama of Indy’s love child. But WHY is Karen Allen pretty much wasted throughout the movie (yeah, she does some cool driving, but that’s essentially it and otherwise, she just looks up adoringly at Indy, grinning like a hollow shell of her former spectacular cheeky self)? WHY? I was even willing to go along with the “this is the 50s, not the 3os anymore,” that difference in atmosphere. But they lost me when Indiana Jones escapes his Russian captors and wanders…yes, WANDERS into an eerie fake town built as a test for a nuclear explosion. WTF? And then he hops into a lead-lined fridge, is thrown who knows how far out of the town and STEPS OUT OF THE FRIDGE WITH THE MUSHROOM CLOUD STILL BLOSSOMING BEHIND HIM. And survives.
It’s not even that this is completely improbable. That annoys me, but only after the fact. The reason I was screaming no, no, no, no, no in the movie theater and am still screaming is because this was entirely gratuitous. There was NO POINT to this that makes any kind of movie sense. It’s been suggested to me that it was to show the era. This is where, were I more technologically savvy than I am, I would insert a video clip of me giving you the, “I’m gonna kill you for being so unnecessarily stupid” look. You do not set the mood or indicate the era by making a character improbably survive a nuclear bomb. This was done perfectly well in later scenes. We get it, it’s the 50s. We hate the Russians, they hate us. Everyone’s paranoid. We get it. We would have gotten it perfectly well without the enormous jackhammer of a freaking nuclear bomb. Who thought this was a good idea? Who? I wanna go back in time and pants the person responsible while he’s a vulnerable teenager. “THIS is for what you will do to Indiana Jones in 2008, suckah!”
Because one of the elements I liked about this Indiana Jones was the fact that he’s now older, a bit more frail, losing family and friends like flies and still saves the day, despite it all. It was freaking scary for me to see Indiana Jones all tired and saggy, but it was an amazing chance film-wise. And they ruined it all. If he can escape a nuclear blast after wandering in the desert all night by jumping in and then out (while the mushroom cloud’s still freaking there!) of a lead-lined fridge, there’s no room to doubt him or worry about him. As any of my screenwriting teachers would ask – what’s at stake? Yes, indeedy, what IS at stake? Yes, he’s freaking Indiana Jones, but he’s also a frailer Indiana Jones, out of his element in a paranoid era.
But instead, he’s posing and preening throughout the movie. His lady-love is grinning maniacally and adoringly at him. They tried to re-create that delicious cheese and corniness that the best of Indiana Jones has but they really, really, really failed.
At the end of the movie, when Indy and Marion have gotten married and are walking out of the church, Mutt picks up a hat that blows in from outside. WHERE does this come from? Whose hat is it (it’s not the same one Indy’s been wearing throughout the movie). He picks it up and puts it on and Indy takes it from him, puts it on and swaggers out of the church with his bride. This made me sad. First of all, what’s wrong with Indy wearing his hat at his wedding? That is something he would do. Why have a random hat blow in on a wind from outside the church? And if you’re going to end on this kind of symbolism, you have to be fearless and make a statement. As it stands, it’s sort of, “Mutt’s going to inherit the whip, no he’s not, Daddy’s still around to take the hat.” It would have been entirely appropriate for Mutt to take the hat and put it on. Period. PERIOD.
I can’t even talk about the aliens. I just can’t. It’s too stupid to discuss.