Indiana Jones 4

6 07 2010

Seeing as this is my last entry before I leave for the rest of the month, I’ll do something a little different this time. I’m gonna do a sort of review/my take on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It should go without saying now that this is going to have spoilers, so if you don’t want to find out about things, you know the drill.

Believe it or not, it's actually good.

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the “twist” in this movie: there’s an alien in it. Critics, fans and everyone in between has reacted incredibly negatively to this, saying aliens have no place in an Indiana Jones movie, saying it’s too silly and out-there to be any good. Anyone who claims they can’t enjoy a movie simply because it isn’t 100% realistic and accurate is dumb. Plain and simple. Movies are, by their very nature, an escape. Movies were created as entertainment, for a way for people to escape their real lives and enjoy action, romance, adventure, whatever. People watch movies to be entertained. I wish I could understand why people can’t enjoy a movie just because it doesn’t take itself 100% seriously.

With that said, yeah, the movie isn’t the most realistic out there, and people far and wide have yelled and screamed at the movie. One of the most infamous scenes is in the beginning, where Indy hides in a lead-lined fridge to survive a nuclear explosion. They all say how that couldn’t happen in real life, how silly and insane it is. This IS the same series where a box was opened that melted and exploded people’s faces, right? The same series where a knight was sitting in a cave for a thousand years, waiting for someone to drink the right cup? The same series where voodoo dolls are used and beating hearts are pulled from a person’s chest? Yeah, Indiana Jones was never about realism. The sooner people can embrace that fact, the sooner we can move on.

When the movie first came out, I didn’t see it in theaters, I didn’t even see it until just this very day; July 6, 2010. Like everyone else, I heard countless people who were fans of the original series say how horrible this movie was. I’ll admit I too thought it was silly, the idea of surviving a nuclear explosion in a fridge or there being aliens and science fiction in the series. However, I waited to see it. I listened to other peoples’ takes on the movie, and waited. The Indiana Jones movies are constant┬áhomages┬áto the past, particularly the pulp action films of the 1930’s. Why do you think the films were set in that time period? Adventure films were incredibly popular for their action, romance and larger-than-life events. They gave people who were suffering from the Great Depression a much-needed sense of escape to a world of fantasy and fun. Raiders of the Lost Ark was billed as “The return of the great adventure” and wore its nostalgia and homages on its sleeve. The two movies that followed built on that and were fun in their own rights. They dealt with known artifacts and mythologies (the first and third especially) and gave us our main villains in the always-fun-to-hate Nazis.

Crystal Skull, on the other hand, is set in the 1950’s. 1957 to be exact. People that know their film history know that the 50’s were a haven for sci-fi and alien movies, with countless stories of aliens and flying saucers attacking the planet. Knowing this, what better plot device for an Indiana Jones movie set in 1957 is there than aliens and flying saucers? Once more, the series is paying homage to the films of its time, and it does it incredibly well. The villains are even changed to Russians, which is very fitting given the Red Scare of the 50’s and 60’s.

On top of that, the alien mythology is, in my opinion, really fun. I mentioned in my entries on Assassin’s Creed that I’m a total sucker for the idea of aliens or advanced non-human races coming before us, being worshiped as Gods and then disappearing. The titular Crystal Skull is the skull of an alien that was worshiped by past societies, that helped them to create their temples and gave them the gift of knowledge before passing on. It’s a story that’s been told many times before, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fun idea (to me, anyway) and I love seeing it in movies and games.

Beyond the silliness, it’s an Indiana Jones movie through and through. Harrison Ford has aged, and so has Indy. Despite this, he’s the same wise-cracking professor by day, hard-punching archeologist by night we knew and loved. Sure, he’s matured some, but who wouldn’t in 20 years? Also, I’ll come right out and admit that I fucking hate Shia Lebouf. I think he’s incredibly annoying, he’s a bad actor and every time he speaks I just want to punch his smug face. Guess what? He does a good job in the movie. I still hated that he was Indy’s son, but I never let it ruin the movie for me, just like I never let the over-the-top sequences ruin the movie for me. There’s also enough twists, jokes and awesome fight scenes to keep you excited for the duration of the movie.

When it comes to reviews and critiques on movies, people are often far too reliant on others’ for opinions. The best thing you can do is decide for yourself about these things. I went in to this movie expecting to hate it and I ended up having a really good time. When you let someone else form your opinion for you, it’s hard to overcome it. Reviews are there as a guide, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t YOUR opinion. I just hope the next time something you’re excited about gets panned by fans and critics, you don’t let that stop you from at least trying to enjoy it. You may be surprised.