Some giant crystal skull sized SPOILERS ahead...toss me the idol and run away!!
Things I dug. I dug the kid...Shia is rather charismatic and I thought he worked great. The interaction between him and Indy felt good and not a retread of the Ford-Connery team up in Crusade. Great seeing Marion again, although they introduced her so late in the movie (or so it felt to me) I had almost forgotten she was in the thing. Then of course there's Indy. Ford is obviously older, but I think he looked great as Indy and was just as fun to watch as in the old films. In fact I didn't want the movie to end because I was enjoying hanging out with the "ol gang" so much.
I was a bit skeptical, as it was becoming more apparent, that the aliens were going to be real. When we got a good look at one in the body bag I became a little uneasy as to where the movie was going. But then I thought "hell its the 50s...aliens, A- bombs, Elvis and communism..its reflecting the times". Plus if you can buy off on a box filled with killer ghosts and that a guy can get his heart ripped out and lives...if you can talk to a knight that is 100s of years old and drink from a healing chalice....why not aliens influencing early man? And it plays off the idea that aliens built the pyramids and that monkeys hate Russians...wait..what? more on that later..
Some fun references to other films. Indy mutters "I have a bad feeling about this" a nod to Han Solo. We get a glimpse of the Ark, albeit unnecessarily. Nice hat tips to Marcus Brody. And the one I was proud to figure out right away...when Indy is telling Mutt about riding with Pancho Villa, that was actually an episode of the Young Indiana Jone Chronicles. Indiana Jones NERD right here people..
At the very end, I loved how the hat blew to Mutt and as he picked it up, the cries of a million fanboys yelled out in horror and then were silenced....when Indy yanked it away. Nice. Honestly I could see a Mutt Jones spin off, .although hopefully he will change his name to Dakota or something. I feel that they need at least 1 more film with Indy headlining before they can truly hand the baton off. If they indeed do a Indy 5 (and the buzz I have heard is that it is a possibility) the Jones family could go on another adventure, Mutt, who is now calling himself Dakota has been back in school and learning the ropes from Dad, thereby making a better spring board for a spin off.........Lucas, call me.
Now it wasn't a total Indy 4 love fest 2008. The things I didn't like are great and small...lets start with the small..
This film felt smaller and more contained, like Temple of Doom. Raiders and Crusade felt more exotic with far more globe trotting. KOTCS felt like it was all in the jungle and in caves...like it was an episode of LOST.
While it was great seeing Marion again, there wasn't much for her to do. The reason I liked her so much in Raiders and why her and Indy are such a good match, is that she goes toe to toe with him. She's a very strong character. But, since she shows up so late, she doesn't do much other than drive... a lot.
At the end of the film I didn't feel that Indy had much to do...he seemed to easily get into the chamber...then there is a lot of standing around, bad feelings are had, things go awry and they run away. I wanted Indy more involved somehow. Of course this may have been a choice by the filmmakers to make the ending more like Raiders where Indy and Marion stand there tied up the whole time, and less like Crusade where there is stuff breaking, people falling, ground opening....chaos.
Which brings us to the silliness. My chief complaint with Last Crusade is that its too jokey. Brody somehow turned into a complete boob. Sallah is a wacky sidekick. And gags happen. Like a flaming plane passing Indy and Dad in a tunnel. Hey road runner...where's the coyote?
So I was expecting goofiness in Indy 4. Surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge..ok...get propelled in said fridge and surviving...well...he would be dead from the impact if nothing else....but ok.. exciting fridge and seeing CG prairie dogs....why?..is this needed....ah lordy we're getting cutesy now. But I enjoyed him running around the test site and even thought "how in the hell will he get out of this one"...so I bought it all.
But during the jungle chase...when Mutt is up in the trees..swinging with the monkeys, my eyes rolled a lot. My suspension of disbelief turned into complete disbelief. He's freakin Tarzan all of sudden....really? My buddy Ernesto pointed out that it wouldn't have been so bad, it could have even worked, if he was awkward doing the swinging...like Parker when he first became Spiderman. No no Mutt is apparently a natural at this. Ok whatever...maybe you could swing from those vines...I wouldn't have put it in MY version of the movie..but ok.
Oh we're not done though, because once Mutt, Lord of the Jungle, exits the forest with his army of monkeys, he apparently commands them to attack the Soviets. Honestly this moment bothered me more than the swinging. On the humor/gag/silly meter it comes in under Crusade...but before Temple of Doom. Why has silliness been injected into the franchise? Raiders is the stand out film....straight action adventure..no gags no silliness...just greatness.
Over the weekend when I thought about the movie there was a lot that I really liked about it. The good and the great out weigh the silly moment or two. Bottom line: It was great fun hanging out with Indy..it was like watching your Dad kick ass again. If they do try to make a go at Indy 5 (originally there was to be 5 films total in the series) here's hoping they don't wait 20 more years.