I finally took some time to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Apparently some people really dislike this movie or something? I can safely say those people are nuts.
See? Elderly Indy is not amused by your antics.
I don’t feel particularly compelled to write up a full review on this one, because honestly, what’s the point? It was exactly what an Indiana Jones movie should be: A straightforward, unpretentious, all-ages-friendly action movie whose lightweight script is carried largely by the brisk pacing, the character interplay and perfectly-timed delivery of dialogue. It is neither as spot-on brilliant as Raiders of the Lost Ark nor as funny as The Last Crusade, but it was fun. Entertaining. This is a series patterned after 15-minute Saturday morning serials — High Art is is not. It is low art, and a very effective example at that. As it should be!
It was also admirably light on cheeky self-referentialism. I think the creators realized that the franchise is a deeply-ingrained part of American pop culture by now, to the point where glib references to the original trilogy have been beaten into submission by bottom-feeders like Family Guy. Of course, certain motifs are repeated, like the opening fade from the Paramount logo into a similar live shot, but those are traditions. Rather than beat viewers over the head with endless jokes about the older movies, Kingdom affirms its connection to its roots by looking like an Indiana Jones movie. It lacks the glossy, computer-rendered sheen of modern Hollywood, using CG sparingly, and generally only for elements that would have looked just as fake with old-fashioned optical effects. (Let’s be honest — Belloq’s exploding head looked dumb even back then.) The colors, the lighting, the cinematography, even foley effects like the distinct gunshot crack of a punch to the jaw — all pitch-perfect. It’s a pleasant diversion of a movie that works even outside the context of the franchise, but is all the more enjoyable for respecting its history in defiance of contemporary action-flick standards.
In other words, it was the opposite of the Star Wars prequels. And blissfully so! Anyone who expected something more clearly doesn’t understand what Indiana Jones is about.
Edit: Apparently this post has made people very angry, and I feel awful for turning Indiana Jones into something divisive. It should be a uniter! A reason for mankind to come together in love and happiness. Oh well.