Indiana Jones IV Movie Review

I'm not a huge Indy fan myself. I think the "Original Trilogy" is enjoyable, but I don't assign it the legendary status that many fans seem to give it. I'm also not a big fan of Harrison Ford (I can't even remember the last movie of his that I liked outside of his 80s flicks), and after the SW prequel trilogy, George Lucas has really been on my s-list. But I really dig Steven Speilberg, not so much for his highly lauded work like ET, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, but for his smaller, slicker movies like Minority Report and War of the Worlds. If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is good, it's likely because of him.

There are plenty of spoilers in this review, so if you haven't seen this movie yet (and care about it), you might want to wait before you read this.


If Adventure Has a Name...

Crystal Skull has plenty of great stuff to offer Indy fans, most notably...

Indy in 50's America: This movie played up the 50's America themes, with references to McCarthyism and "Greasers", and Commies replacing Nazis as villians. The atomic bomb sequence in particular was fun; it was kind of like Indy meets Back to the Future.

Close Encounters: The alien visitor theme was a departure from the norm and hard-core Indy fans might not like it (I myself had my reservations), but I actually enjoyed the alien-centric storyline more than the supernatural themes of the other movies. I know that's because I dig sci-fi more than mystical stuff, but it was neat to see an Indy movie featuring "Men from Mars". And the crystal skeletons were friggin' awesome! Where are the action figures of those?

Indy/Mutt Relationship: The Indy/Mutt relationship was similar to the Indy/Henry Jones Sr. relationship in Last Crusade, and like that movie, it worked really well. And this movie definitely needs a young-un, as "Dr. Jones" is looking pretty geriatric.

An Action-Packed Romp:In press interviews, George down-played the action in this movie, but it actually was pretty awesome. The movie is basically one long, insanely varied chase sequence, with bike chases, car chases, native chases, ant chases, and even monkey chases. And any movie with monkey chases is a-okay in my book.

Dr. Juan Itor: That's right, this movie features the Janitor from Scrubs as an FBI agent! He doesn't really add much to the movie, but fans of Scrubs will get a kick out of seeing him on the big screen.




I've Got a Bad Feeling About This

Unfortunately, Indy actually said this tired old phrase in this movie. It was cute the first few times, but it's been totally overplayed and now it's trite. It's like the Wilhelm scream... enough with it already. But there were other aspects that I disliked...

Fun with Telepathy: The film was pretty predictable. Maybe it was because they followed many of the formulas established by the previous movies, but as the movie progresses you'll know exactly what will happen.

Almond-Eyed Freaks:I just finished praising the aliens above, but there's one MAJOR flaw with the aliens that must be noted. The "living" aliens at the end are the same, boring-ass almond-eyed aliens that you see in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE. Gone are the interesting, imaginative alien designs of yesteryear (like the three-eyed weirdos in the original War of the Worlds) in favor of the same old rehashed crap alien. Really, this is the best that they can do? I wish they just stayed in skeletal form.

Indiana Jones and the Neverending Movie: This movie feels long. Too long. It's just over 2 hours in length, but it feels like it could lose 15-30 minutes and be perfect. But you know the trend for "blockbuster" movies these days... make them as "epic" (read: long and bloated) as possible.

S-FX: The CGI in this movie was okay relative to other movies, but you could definitely tell that it was fake. Not to go off on a side tangent, but when is this CGI stuff going to start looking real? Jurassic Park was made over 15 years ago, but it doesn't seem like CGI has progressed very much at all. Sure, you can do more (it's hard to imagine movies like 300 without it) but when you put the effects with the actors, the end result just doesn't look like it fits together well. The CG armies in the LOTR movies don't look even remotely realistic compared to the real "cast of thousands" in movies like Ben Hur. Revenge of the Sith was touted as a huge advance in CG effects, but in the end, it looked like a cartoon. What's the deal with CGI?

I'm not exactly sure, but I suspect it might have something to do with a difference in resolution between film and CG. Film has very high resolution, higher than most computers. If the resolution of the special effects doesn't match that of the film, it makes the effects look less detailed and fake. Or, maybe the animators aren't catching realistic movements. Regardless, it seems like they still have a long way to go.


See you tomorrow, Indiana Jones.

Overall, there was nothing too deep or amazing about Indy IV, but you'll likely have a good time watching it. The action was great, the nostalgia was cute, and the characters developed in interesting ways. If I were to rank the Indy movies, I'd say (favorite to least): Last Crusade, Raiders, Crystal Skull, and Temple of Doom. I give Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 3.5 out of 5 Fedoras.

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.