It’s really unclear why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gets such a bad rap. It has all the makings of a classic Indiana Jones film. Iconic scenes, fun action, a good mystery, and Harrison Ford.
Ford fits the title role just as good as ever. Never seeming like he’s trying to keep up. Balancing him out well is the new character, Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf. The two actors compliment each other and LaBeouf, like always, makes the film a lot more affable.
Taking place in 1957, Mutt seeks the help of Jones to find the legendary Crystal Skull of Akator–an alien artifact containing telepathic powers.
It takes place only 19 years after the events of the previous trilogy, but it feels like more. Things changed dramatically from the late-’30s to the late-’50s. The original Indiana Jones films act as an homage to the serials of the ’30s. We’re past that here. Pop culture is in full swing and mass media is just beginning. It’s fun finally seeing Indy in a new era.
Amidst the Cold War and Americans truly feeling like they were lost and in the dark, the ’50s is often depicted as a more innocent time. Perhaps the last purely “innocent” decade. Yet the dichotomy between innocence and fear is captured nicely here.
Director Steven Spielberg gives us an intentional ’80s aesthetic in order to match the quality of the original. But perhaps he underestimated that quality. The original movies looked great for that time. I’d be interested to see what this film would’ve looked like with a more 2008 look.
It utilizes the comical aspects of the 3rd film, but takes it even further to some people’s dismay. The humor borders on campy a couple of times, but so it does in The Last Crusade, and I’m not so sure people were complaining back then. In a series where all three of the original films had completely different tones, Crystal Skull is no different. This one is another welcome change. That disparity helps to round out our main character. Showing him in different ways helps give him depth.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has a great story and takes us on an amazing adventure. When people think of Indiana Jones, they think of the type of things that happen in this film. People love to romanticize Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the truth is that movie is dated. Crystal Skull gives us an Indy to fit in with modern times without making it feel too modern.