Indiana Jones 4 Review

Overall Grade: C+

I keep a private collection of movie databases and lists on my computer at home and show them to a rare few. One of those lists is titled "Movies to See" and is a running list of every movie I want to eventually see in my lifetime organized by year. Obviously this list is kept up to date as there are new films coming out all the time.

For 2008, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which from here on out will be called IJ4) was in the top five of my most anticipated films list. So to say that I had high expectations going into the film, is a bit of an understatement. I saw the film with a great group of friends on Memorial Day at the AMC Theatres, my favorite theatre in Tallahassee. The setting was just right, it was one of my most anticipated films, it had to be good right?

Well, the answer is mostly no, but a little bit of yes. It should be known that most people when they review a film take their time to convey the plot of the film and give the reader a good summary before posting their commentary. I will be up front with you, I don't like doing it, never have, and hopefully I never will. Mostly I like posting my thoughts about the film however they come out of my brain. That means, a little less cohesiveness for you, but it means that I actually get it written down. This is why I don't write and professional reviews, I can't stand the formats they require. Anyways, back to the movie.

IJ4 is clearly the runt of the Indiana Jones series. The first three Indiana Jones films were all made in the 80s and really kinda had the same feel and look. It's been twenty years since The Last Crusade and as much as I would've liked for IJ4 to look the same as the other three films, the entire look of the film felt like a blockbuster in the late 2000's; and thats not a good thing. As much as I like Janusz Kaminski (he's won a Leaman Award), he creates a new look to an Indiana Jones film that looks far too modern and more comfortable at home in a Pirates of the Caribbean film (which oddly Dead Man's Chest was an homage to in lot of ways, and its action scenes dwarf ID4's). Its the same with much of the action scenes as well.

The first three films relied heavily on practical stunts and certain moments were punctuated by special effects (like the opening of the ark). In IJ4, we get entire action scenes with green screen backdrops. Imagine if the entire truck chase scene in Raiders was done with a moving backdrop on a set, or if the bridge scene in Temple of Doom was done with a green screen, and you'll begin to see what I mean. There is an over reliance upon CGI for the backdrops, and it takes it completely out of the Indy look and feel, and places it more in the line of todays CGI blockbuster.
Are the action sequences fun? I think for the most part the answer is yes, but its a muted yes. I could tell that people in the theatre enjoyed them, but for the most part, I found myself rather bored with them. There is however a decent motorcycle chase that does its best to reach the standards the previous films have made, but its over far too quickly.

Overall, the film was quite a dissapointment for me. I didn't care for the story and thought that several storylines were cut short and unnecessary. Several ideas were too wacky and too out of place (I vote Shi Lebouf's tarzan monkey scene as this years Spider Man 3 dancing down the street Emo style scene). Of the four Jones films, this has got to be the least for me.


  1. I'm still so happy that his voice wasn't all weird that I'm oblivious to everything else. I still think the movie was decent. No Temple of Doom but pretty good none the less. The whole Tarzan/monkey scene was a bit ridiculous but they were so cute! I thought the relationship drama was a bit much at times. As for the special effects, I haven't reached your level of movie watching so that stuff doesn't bother me yet (and I kinda like it that way). However, I think that the score for all Indiana Jones movies will be able to get me excited for as long as I live. I love it. :)


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