2.5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I know this was directed by Steven Spielberg, that George Lucas worked on its story, and that it stars Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, and Shia LaBeouf. But Kingdom of the Crystal Skull feels less like a real Indiana Jones movie, and more like a decent-budget fan film that has all of the elements, but is nevertheless missing that essential spark that makes an Indiana Jones film so special. Maybe it’s the sci-fi aspects, or the decision to swap out Nazis for Communists, or the choice to use some surprisingly dodgy CGI instead of practical effects. In any case, nothing in this film feels as visceral as the face melting in Raiders or the mine cart chase in Temple of Doom, and I miss Indy’s wrestling with skepticism and belief when confronted with holy relics like the Grail. I actually do like the basic storyline of tracking down ancient aliens and a mythical city in the Amazon jungle. Throw in some stuff about Area 51 and Cold War-era psychic research, and I’m even more intrigued. Just not in an Indiana Jones movie.