Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Let’s face it. If you’re reading this site, you’re probably going to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – and love it.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Never mind that Indy’s archaeological methods are questionable at best – at least the Nazis took measurements at Raiders of the Lost Ark; never mind that Indy has never had an adventure in Southeast Asia or that whips are not standard field equipment. Never mind that archaeologists like Indy don’t exist, at least not any more.

Without giving away any spoilers, Indiana Jones has aged in real time, fast-forwarding the clock to the mid-1950s where the Nazi threat has been replaced by the Soviets. The spectre of Cold War brings Indy to South America on the trail of a legendary crystal skull and the promise of lost treasure.

Sounds formulaic? Almost. But that’s not really the point. Indiana Jones is all about the whip-cracking thrills, mysterious legends and exotic locations. “To be a good archaeologist, you’ve got to spend more time outside the library!” Indy proclaims, zooming out on a bike, escaping certain death, discovering the hidden and sacred relics and ultimately beating off the bad guy. There’s a real sense of old-school storytelling – keeping CGI to a minimal, if pivotal, few scenes – that makes Indy 4 familiar and altogether new again.

Even after 19 years, the gang looks good. The years on Harrison Ford shows, but make no mistake – this isn’t a story about the changing of the old guard. Sidekick Shia LeBeouf stays firmly on the side, while Cate Blanchett’s Irina Spalko, the ice queen commie scientist is true to the spirit of Indy villains: memorable, but not overshadowing. *cough Batman, James Bond cough*

Seeing Indy in action many years later is like reminiscing with an old friend. You’ll be delighted with the numerous visual and verbal references to previous movies… including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to one from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Have you seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? What’s your take on Indy’s latest adventure?

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

  1. The film was out of this world! I loved it… You are totally right Indiana Jones is all about the whip-cracking thrills… Cate Blanchett was absolutely amazing and Harrison Ford proved at 65 he could still do it… and well!

  2. The New Indy was great, it is rivaling to the last crusade, and many will love it. Just dont get too worked up about it when you find out its not as good as raiders.

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