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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull

  | March 07, 2014 09:48 IST
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull
  • Genre:
  • Cast:
    Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia Lebouff
  • Director:
    Steven Spielberg
  • Writer:
I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at its world premiere at the Cannes film festival. Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas sat a few seats away. I was giddy with anticipation, excitement and nostalgia. Raiders of the Lost Ark released 27 years ago but I still recalled the exhilaration of seeing the world's coolest whip-wielding archeologist. After the film, the Cannes audience gave the cast and crew a five-minute ovation but I suspect it was more for the collective body of work of Lucas, Spielberg and Ford. Because Indiana Jones and the King of the Crystal Skull simply wasn't as good as it should have been. Admittedly this was a tough act to pull off. The last Indy Jones movie released 19 years ago. An entire generation of movie-goers have no goodwill or nostalgia for the adventure hero simply because they've never seen him. Director Spielberg and co-writer and producer Lucas had to make Indy relevant to new fans and satisfy old ones. The Crystal Skull is set in 1957 at the height of the Cold War. The Nazi villains have been replaced by menacing Soviet agents, particularly the ball-breaking Irina Spalko, played by Cate Blanchett. Indy, joined by a young, rebellious man named Mutt, and trailed by the Soviets set out in search of a fabled crystal skull of Akator, which must be returned to the legendary El Dorado or city of Gold. On the way, of course our hero must deal with the nasty Russians, man-eating ants, one snake and his fiery ex-girlfriend Marion, whom he still carries a torch for. Crystal Skull begins with a kick-ass action sequence but half-hour into the film, the proceedings start to feel dangerously laden. There are some nice car chases, some clever comic lines and of course there's Harrison Ford who at 65 can whip up more charm in single frame than poor Shia Lebouff who plays Mutt manages in the entire film. But Crystal Skull is soaked in déjà vu. There isn't a moment that seems fresh or new. I don't expect summer blockbusters to have depth but the characters here are too cardboard to be convincing even in this comic book universe. The wondrous Cate Blanchett is saddled with a villainy that has no teeth or one memorable line. Crystal Skull isn't as horrific as the second movie, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, in which the late Amrish Puri was reduced to ripping out people's hearts. Crystal Skull is efficient entertainment but it isn't dazzling or delightful. Despite my disappointment, I recommend that you see the film. If only for old times' sake. Just set your bar low and focus on Ford.
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