Indiana Jones

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 0:25 | Filed in Reviews

I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this weekend, and took the two kiddies, who as usual wanted to sit right at the front of the cinema so they could lean forward in their seats, utterly enthralled at the film unfolding before it, even though they would probably have struggled to follow the admittedly flimsy plot.

Ah, yes, the flimsy plot. Well, let’s put it this way: the plot could have been written on the back of a cornflakes box, and still have left room for the ingredients and the serving instructions (no, I don’t know either. Anyone who can’t work out how to eat cornflakes is unlikely to gain benefit from ‘writing’ on the side of the box).

So the film is basically just a series of action sequences — running, jumping, and, obviously fighting — with a very thin veneer of plot plastered over the top. But don’t go getting the impression I mean that in a bad way.

The problem with Indiana Jones is the same problem that the Star Wars movies faced when new ones were released. We watched them as kids, and remembered them as some of the most superb films we’d ever seem and they’d always been viewed since through those same rose-tinted glasses. What we’d not taken account of was that our tastes in film had changed: we like meaningful dialogue, we like convoluted plots and intrigue.

So when we watch those sorts of films again, they don’t appeal the same way. But that’s not because they’ve changed. It’s because we have.

And if you watch Indiana Jones in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and do it the same justice you would have done The Temple of Doom as a kid, by not trying to argue over historical inaccuracies and interpretations, and just watch it as an action film, then you’ll enjoy it.

As an escapist action ‘family’ flick, it’s a success. It’s fast-paced and frenetic, there’s an awful lot of action, some nice bits of dialogue and one moment with Indiana’s hat at the end where the film convinced me it was going to lay down some heavy symbolic reference and then bodyswerved at the last moment to change the reference entirely.

The stunts were enjoyable, and although the film wasn’t so CGI intensive as to detract from the film, I think I would have preferred more of the old-style small-scale special effects.

What I found interesting was the film’s rating as 12A. Suitable for 12 years and over, although younger children may be taken at the responsibility of the accompanying adult. And my wife and I took a 2 year old and a 4 year old. Was there any chance that the film was maybe too violent, too gory?

Not really. The direction of the film was done sensitively: mass slaughter happened off-screen, with for the most part the most violent parts on-screen being the fist fights Indiana Jones seems fated to get into… Gory at times, certainly, but I don’t think anything that would give kids nightmares. I always enjoyed being scared as a kid: Doctor Who and Indiana Jones were two of my staples, and it seems that they have both been reinvigorated for my children to enjoy.

As a family action flick, it’s an entertaining romp, full of fun, and worth going to see. I was a little surprised that the cinema seemed so empty, but then again that’s probably the advantage of going to see the showing at 10:50am…

As a final note, I’ve got to mention Shia LaBeouf, who takes on the role of ‘Mutt’ Jones, Indiana’s son (and incidentally, apparently continuing the tradition of taking the name of a dog…!). I’d seen him before in the rather excellent film Holes, so I was interested to see how he’d cope here.

And he did well. Although to be honest, I can’t help but feel he would be somewhat wasted if he just appeared in the likes of Transformers and the Indiana Jones franchise. I’d like to see him play a role that had a bit more depth, required a bit more emotion and so on. After his performance in Holes, I’d be confident he could take on that sort of role and open himself up to a wider range of parts than those offered by the simple ‘young action hero’ role.

As for the film itself: well, I’ve never been one of those people who likes to pigeon hole things by giving them a mark out of ten. So instead I’ll give it 8 out of 11 instead… :-)

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2 Comments to Indiana Jones

  1. Collegue Man says:

    May 29th, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Agree a good film to relax to and not take seriously.

  2. JackP says:

    May 29th, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Shouldn’t you be ex-colleague man?

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