May 24, 2008 — It's been almost two decades since Indy last cracked his whip across the silver screen, and 27 years since he first became a part of celluloid culture. And, at 65 years, Harrison Ford, fedora intact, is reported to be just as much fun, if a little more seasoned in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
Vanity Fair says, "Between them, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have made 13 of the 100 top-grossing movies of all time. Yet they struggled for more than a decade with the upcoming fourth installment of their billion-dollar Indiana Jones franchise."
And you can get in the act: Vanity Fair is offering handsome prizes
for a (hypothetical at this stage) title and scenario, should Lucas and Spielberg go for a fifth installment. However, you don't have a decade to mull over your idea. Information must be submitted online before May 30.
From most reports, the Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford triumvirate has lost none of its charismatic appeal. Spielberg directed, but Lucas' hand is also at work, according to the critics.
What's it about? Most critics don't bother with a narrative description. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times dismisses the plot, including the part where everybody travels up the Amazon in search of the skull, as "too labyrinthine to describe."
It's 1957 and those pesky Russians are at it again, complete with villainous Soviet agent Irinia (Cate Blanchett) whose accent one critic likened to Natasha Fatalle of "Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" fame. Indy returns to a cavernous warehouse to seek out a crate he saw there years ago. The crate leads to another continent, giant ants, chases enough to satisfy the most die-hard action junkie, and, just for fun, another dimension. Yes, a parallel world.
Ty Burr in the Boston Globe says, "No, its not as good as 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' Dont be silly. Lightning cant be bottled twice, no matter how skilled the vintners.
"Instead," he says, "the movie is merely grand old-school fun a rollicking class reunion that stands as the second best entry in the venerable series. The new movie is leagues better than 1984s nasty 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,' and blessed with more snap and heart more fun than 1989s pro forma 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.' All that's lacking is a genuine sense of surprise. It's very possible that was left out on purpose."
Perhaps. Another voice, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, says, "Sitting through Steven Spielberg's slog down memory lane means waiting for surprise, waiting for delight, waiting for daylight after turgid trudges through Peruvian caves, and waiting for an abstract story to coalesce."
Jennie Yabroff in Newsweek, takes a philosophical view. "That there is an outer-space theme to "The Crystal Skull" seems fitting," she says, "as the movie confirms the idea that Indiana Jones exists in its own, alternate universe, impervious to the passage of time or box office trends, with its own unique logic and rules. Indy World is a place you can visit again and again, where nothing ever really changes."
According to Roger Ebert, "I can say that if you liked the other Indiana Jones movies, you will like this one, and that if you did not, there is no talking to you."
Keeping Indy company is his sidekick Mac McHale (Ray Winstone), a young biker named Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf), Professor Oxley (John Hurt) who takes care of the scholarly details, and Indy's old girlfriend from his first film, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).
It runs two hours four minutes and is rated PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images.
It is playing at Market Square East and Sunny Isle Theaters.
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