Close Encounter With The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
As the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull sweeps world theaters, it was exciting to see a new installment to the Spielberg/Lucas treasure trove of classics which will stand the test of time as the Smithsonian Institute becomes the recipient of the fedora and whip.
Harrison Ford freely portrays his advancing age with aplomb, as the story begins its action sequence in the same airplane hanger in Roswell New Mexico that holds the Lost Ark, hidden among vast troves of treasures, as an ode to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Cate Blanchett, an actress of note, is a worthy adversary as she embodies the Communist Russia Era psychic researcher and scientist Irina Spalko with the temperament and accent of Natasha from Rocky And Bullwinkle cartoon fame.
Karen Allen reprises her role as Marion Ravenwood, now the mother of a rebellious teenage son (Shia LaBeouf) with a do wop hairstyle inspired by Grease. Her portrayal, although welcomed, was not as involved as the Marion from Raiders. Nevertheless, she provides the same, although time worn, chemistry that made the first film so memorable. LaBeouf is excellent as Mutt Williams in the action sequences and humor, reminiscent of a young Indiana Jones, while providing a good addition to the legendary series.
When the Crystal Skull is first unveiled, its elongated structure and facial bones evoked the image of Alien, the creature that gestates in its human host and has acid for blood, in one of the most chilling and unforgettable death scenes ever filmed in cinematic history, emerging from John Hurt’s sternum in a blood splattering, rib cracking horror of screaming. In Crystal Skull, Hurt holds the artifact as a demented Archaeologist possessing the key to the secret location of the Kingdom.
The film’s action and Peruvian backdrop were not as engaging as the earlier films, but the Ant sequence was well done. The landscape, cinematography and stunts were not as elaborate or original as they could have been, seeming to be nothing more than a weak homage to the stunts of the previous films.
The final revelations of the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull seemed more based on some lost footage from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, or ET, as the film never attains the same engaging pull inherent in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom or Last Crusade. The script could have been better, the action more visceral, the enemy more evil.
Directed by Stephen Spielberg, with George Lucas as executive producer, the film is a shadow of its predecessors. Out of a potential 13 Crystal Skulls, I give it 7. It’s still very good to see an old friend.
For a full list of the cast, see the movie database below.