May 24th, 2008

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" is what you expect..

How old is Indiana Jones?
He is older than MTV and the birth of the AIDS Virus.
Russia was called the Soviet Union and Ronald Reagan was returning to a full time schedule after his assassination attempt on March 30. As for current Presidential contenders; Barrack Obama was a college undergraduate and John McCain had recently retired from the Navy. Like John Wayne, Indiana Jones has become part of the fabric of American Culture.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" presents an older and sadder Professor Henry Jones Jr. (Harrison Ford). Despite his World War II heroics, Indiana Jones is treated as an enemy of the state by federal bureaucrats. His generation of mentors have passed on and Professor Jones looks grey and disheveled. No longer the chisel faced swashbuckler of his youth, Indiana Jones must rely his experience and wits to accomplish his goals.

In this fourth adventure on the big screen, Indiana Jones confronts the Evil Soviet Empire in a race to find the Chrystal Skull, a power relic with grand psychic potential. The chase leads to South America and involves chases in the jungle and battles killer red ants. Will Indiana Jones find the relic before the Communists do? Does one really need to ask?

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" disappoints because of the action sequences. Given the technology of this day, this new "Indiana Jones" movie lacks the danger of the previous three "Indiana Jones" movies. The action replaces thrills with chronic motion and lacks the edge of your seat tension. Compared to the truck scene of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark," the jungle chase on the mountain top lacks credibility. The foliage is obviously CGI greenscreen and one absurd sequence involves Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf) straddling two jeeps while brandishing a rapier. The gag that is set up is not worth the effort.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" is a success because of the nostalgia. Wearing his age on his sleeve during the opening sequence, Harrison Ford grows younger as the film progresses. At one point, Indiana Jones becomes a stuttering high school teenager when he sees his lost love of his life, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).

Marion Ravenwood's entrance garnered the most applause from the audience. Beyond the commercialism and promotional hype, Karen Allen return appearance projects authenticity for the "Indiana Jones" series. She is spunky, beautiful and has great onscreen chemistry with Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones-Marion Ravenwood reunion is what makes "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" a special motion picture.

Let's face it, film reviews do not matter compared to a promotional juggernaut like "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull." Yet compared to most films released in recent years, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull" is Saturday Matinee Popcorn eating fun for everybody.