Indy is back and how! Watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull I was made aware of how much I missed Indy and how much Indy is Indy and irreplaceable even though the world has been introduced to Tomb Raider and National Treasure in these intervening non-Indy years. The movie is an absolute romp and sheer nonstop fun right from the word go. The story is typical Indiana Jones with our Professor/Academician/Archaeologist/Treasure Hunter traversing all over the world in search of hidden secret treasures, artifacts, lost kingdoms, etc. It was all this coupled with spectacular action and the Indiana Jones wit, humor, the cracking whip and the fedora hat that made this franchise so popular in the early 1980s right through to 1989 when The Last Crusade was made. All of this is very much evident in The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, though the cracking whip while present is not used as much, and the famous Indiana Jones fedora hat gets more prominence, but all in all a great time at the movies and a must see for all Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones fans.
The story is set in the 1950s a time when the cold war was at its height and Russia was the USSR. Events start off in the Nevada dessert at a deserted United States Military Base that is deemed off limits to everyone, but the Russians come uninvited to the desert party and they have as their hostages Indiana Jones and his friend on many adventures Ray Winstone and they are after the contents of a mysterious box that Indiana Jones had procured in the 1940s at the insistence of the United States Army, but its contents have remained a mystery till date. The Russians it seems are having some insider information about the mysterious box and its contents and are out to get it for themselves led by Cate Blanchett who is excellent in her portrayal of a paranormal scientist out to learn about the paranormal power residing in the mysterious box so the Russians will end up with the ultimate power. Indy however does not want the Russians to get this mysterious paranormal power and manages to outwit the Russians at the Nevada Army Base until he finds out that Ray Winstone is in cahoots with the Russians and has been a stooge all along. Indy escapes only to land at an atomic test facility where he sets off an explosion the effects of which he manages to escape by hiding in a refrigerator. The shot of the refrigerator flying through the air with Indy in it is pure nostalgic fun.
This sets the tone for the rest of the movie with Indy and Cate Blanchett out to outwit each other at every turn, and out to procure the contents of the mysterious box and its contents leading to a city of gold, the mystical El Dorado, in the Amazon jungle that legend says was built by superior intelligent beings. Thrown in is a crystal skull that leads to the city of gold and joining in on the adventure are Shia LaBeouf, his mother Karen Allen and Indy’s old professor friend John Hurt who has visited the city of gold, but since then is found in a constant state of trance. The reasons for this are explained as the story unravels and also it is learnt that Shia LaBeouf is Indy’s son about whom Indy was not aware. The sparring between the father and son duo are great especially over the issue of Shia LaBeouf being a school dropout with Indy insisting his son finish school.
The action in the movie is fast, furious and truly spectacular in most instances. Most noteworthy is the sword duel between Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett on two different moving vehicles on dangerous mountainous terrain and adjacent to the beautiful Iguazu Waterfalls. The action during this sequence is pure Indian Jones adrenaline rush and great fun to watch. Despite it being nearly 20 years since Indy was last seen in action, Indy has aged well and is none the worse for the period of inactivity. For fans of the franchise The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull delivers on all counts and ditto for action movie fans, but if you don’t know much about Indiana Jones come along for the ride for you will enjoy the ride and discover one of the all-time great action heroes in Indiana Jones.