INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
*** (three stars)
SPOILER ALERT: This movie was an amazingly joyous retreat from a cockroach filled film office. I put my 12-year-old kid glasses on and held on for the ride. It delivered everything I needed. The opening "American Graffiti" homage was nice yet starkly different from an Indy opening. The title sequence seemed rather requisite and it took a while for the "Oh shit, something's going down" plot to happen. The Atom Bomb, Area 51, and Indy running around a 50s town full of bomb test mannequins felt out of place, but strangely perfect. The warehouse sequence was good yet the script seemed to be chaotic and meandering. And this set up the rest of the film.
With my adult glasses on, Koepp's screenplay was lazy, unfocused and all over the place with no real building of gripping tension or the suspense of something at stake. It had a "Lost" and "Spiderman 3" problem also. Way too many main characters vying for screen time and one-liners. I really would have liked to see what Frank Darabont had come up with.
But anyways, to be truthfully positive, the film was exciting, funny, and nostalgic. And I loved it. Sure all the CGI in the end felt very un-Indy and VERY Phantom Menace. Sure, Tarzan Mutt was ridiculous. Sure, the re-incarnation of Lucas' Ewoks was head-slappingly dumb. And the CGI alien in the end? Didn't it look almost exactly like the aliens in "Close Encounters"? Hell, why didn't they just CG Richard Dreyfuss in there to retrieve the skull? Well, if I had to sum up the only problem with the movie it would be this: George Lucas. It reminded me of the Star Wars prequels. Often good, mostly OK, but always just missing greatness.