Indiana Jones and the... (2008)
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Review Date: November 21, 2008
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: David Koepp
Producers: Frank Marshall
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Shia LaBeouf as Mutt
Cate Blanchett as Irina
Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones is back and this time he’s got a side-kick who looks like Marlon Brando from THE WILD ONE, a “long-time companion” who looks nothing like his previous long-time companion Sallah, and his original love Marion Ravenwood aka Karen Allen, who (I’m sure) was more than happy to pick up the phone when the name “S. Spielberg” flashed on her caller ID. The adventure this time around isn’t as high-tempo, entertaining and fulfilling as its predecessors, but it goes through a lot of the basics, and with Harrison Ford back as the irrepressible Indiana Jones, you don’t actually need a lot more than that to be entertained for an evening. Well, at least I don’t…fanboy that I am.
It’s impossible for me to review any major “fanboy movie” without any bias whatsoever since the whole reason I started this website is because I was so passionate about films growing up, when movies like STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES were my nachos and cheese. Nowadays, there’s no way for me to watch any of the STAR WARS movies or this film, without getting nostalgic and naturally mixing that emotion with my “true feelings” toward the “new generation” follow-ups to these classics. Case in point, check out my reviews of THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH {somewhat embarrassed}. I don’t mind saying all this because, again, that’s been part of the point of our website, which isn’t necessarily to be a “journalist” and all that shit, but rather, to convey that sense of wonder, passion, excitement and anticipation toward movies targeted to us. That’s not to say that I can’t be objective, because I wouldn’t have been able to write over 1,350 reviews without basing them on some level of objectivity, but despite the appearance of a CGI gopher during this film’s opening frame, as well as a slew of CGI monkeys swinging alongside Shia LaBeouf at some point of its duration, I really could not help swelling up in my pants as soon as John Williams’ famous “Tada-dada…tadadaaaaaaaaaaa” score kicked in. I mean, talk about bringing back some great memories! (I got my first handjob during RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK…mind you, I was watching it alone, but still)

Back-story aside, I’m still able to review my likes/dislikes about this movie pretty easily, as they were quite obvious. Besides all of my points below, I think the most important element to consider when rating a movie like this is whether or not it ultimately entertained, and needless to say in this case, kudos to director Steven Spielberg for still being able to entertain us with the wonder of Indiana Jones, a 65-year old Harrison Ford and the world of the 1950s. Granted, he obviously needed to move past the “practical effects” which he utilized to perfection in the previous INDIANA JONES installments, replacing them with computer generated effects throughout, but thankfully none of them went entirely overboard (although I could easily have done without the monkeys and gopher -- reminded me of CADDYSHACK), and the action sequences were still a lot of fun, especially the opening scenes, the stuff in the jungle, as well as the closing sequences underground. The film’s plotline, on the other hand, wasn’t entirely interesting or engaging, despite the inclusion of some extra-terrestrial shit. I wasn’t ever really bored with the story, but a lot of the exposition scenes seemed to go on forever, and I’m not really a fan of “following poems” around when attempting to discover certain items (i.e. John Hurt’s character).

With films like NATIONAL TREASURE killing any greater potential for this genre, Spielberg naturally does add a lot more humor, energy and believability into his picture, but even then, it does go over-the-line in a few sequences, especially one in which LaBoeuf is doing the splits over two vehicles going over 50MPH in a dense jungle (and as if that wasn’t enough…) while fencing an adversary in the other car! Meh. I don’t remember anything that ridiculous in previous Indy flicks, but then again, maybe I was too young to give a shit. At the end of the day, the film did entertain me for most of its way though, with Ford back in the saddle along with his usual scruffy personality, LeBeouf adding a youth injection along with an obvious relation to Doc Jones, his past and perhaps even his future (and thankfully, he didn’t act like the typical LeBeouf from his modern-day movies) and Cate Blanchett continuing to prove that she can act the shit out of anyone, even as a black-haired Latvian daughter-of-a-beeyatch. She wasn’t the most memorable “bad guy” from the series, but she did a fine job, and it was fun to watch her eating up some of the scenery around her. Adding Karen Allen to the movie was also a nice touch, as was the small nod to the “ark” from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK early on. But yeah, the film still didn’t manage to live up to its previous installments, and after its initial energy-boost, slowed down quite a bit as the exposition got a little too much into bullshit nitty-gritty details that the audience didn’t really care about. And how many scenes featured Indy getting away from his captors, only to be surrounded by a handful of Russian soldiers, three minutes later?? Enough already!

But all in all, it had enough fun moments, action sequences, interesting characters to recommend to anyone looking for an entertaining evening at home, although it will likely be appreciated more if your expectations have been lowered to the “This might suck” level. I could watch any of the previous INDIANA JONES movies again in a heartbeat, but I sadly cannot say the same for this film. That said, I would surely watch this movie again one day, although it’s not an “automatic” like its predecessors and for that alone, I’m a little saddened. Then again, maybe I should get sad about “real things” in life, as opposed to moving pictures on a big screen, right?
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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