May 25th, 2008


Indiana Jones And The Satisfactory Franchise Installment

Saw Indiana Jones and the Voyage to the Land of the Jungle of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull of Terrifying Monster Town today, and I am gratified to report that I pegged the expectations game exactly.

I'd read enough of the ambivalent reviews to come in just slightly lowballing what turned out to be a fine, if not unblemished, installment of the series, somewhat below Last Crusade but well above Temple of Doom. (Or at least above my memory of Temple -- I haven't watched that movie past the bailout point since I saw it in the theater. Perhaps I am being unjust.) The biggest surprise was a dual one: that LeBeef actually contributed something, and that his part was not written solely to make me miss Short Round. The whole Indy-Marion-Mutt dynamic actually worked, and (thanks in no small part to Karen Allen) was more fun to watch than the last round of somewhat exhausting chase sequences.

I shall not belabor the movie's flaws, save to aver that the McCarthyism that has Indy's Dean so Broadbent out of shape a) was a spent force by 1957 in our history, but b) turns out, on the merits, to be completely justified, given the number of Soviet agents running amuck in America in the movie's history.

And its virtues? Soviet Psychic Warfare Machinery! Crystal Freakin' Skulls! Army Ants! Evil Commie Bastards! Ray Winstone! Quotes From Milton! Swordfightin' Cate Freakin' Blanchett! And last but not least, Indy outs himself as a Republican!