Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back Home Again With Indiana

I was a little concerned when I heard they were making a new Indiana Jones movie. After the way Sylvester Stallone has been destroying the memories of once great film franchises, the prospect of senior citizen Harrison Ford doing whip tricks at the nursing home was disturbing to say the least.

We went to the opening of the film last night, and as it turns out, I needn't have feared. Granted, I didn't come in with particularly high expectations, but I found the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to be loads of fun and solid entertainment, which, while not matching the greatness of the first film (or even, perhaps, the third one) is a worthy entry in the Indy franchise. It's actually better than the second one. (Which brings up a movie-making corollary. Never, ever cast a family member in a film. See: Capshaw, Kate. Or Coppola, Sophia.)

The obvious issue to be dealt with is Indy's age, and it's handled winningly, which is why the film works. Indiana Jones movies have always been tongue-in-cheek, so they have a built in advantage in this department over, say, the dead-earnest "Rocky" films. It also doesn't hurt that Harrison Ford has kept himself in good shape and doesn't look like a 65 year old guy up there. It's great to see him and Karen Allen together again (and bless her for letting herself age gracefully like a normal person rather than the typical stretch-faced Hollywood star), and the kid what's-his-name adds some fun.

There is, of course, some weird, cultic spirituality on display, but that kind of thing has always been prominent in the archaeology-premised series anyway. More bothersome were a couple of gratuitous s-bombs from the kid. Still, if you're a fan of the Indiana Jones series, you'll find a lot to like in this one. And Spielberg is like a kid in a candy store, stuffing every theme and fantasy he's ever dealt with basically into one film (though now that I think of it, I didn't see a shark's fin). It's gonna make about $300 million bucks, I expect.

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