Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

by May 28, 2008

By Omar Mazariego

For the past bullet there’s been much hype surrounding the latest Indiana Jones flick, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of Crystal Skull. And I must say I fed into the hype because I was an Indy fan growing up. I even watched the Young Indiana Jones series on NBC (And I thought watching Full House was a waste of my childhood). Needless to say I was excited and couldn’t wait for this weekend to come so that I could watch Dr. Jones in his latest adventure. But then I got a text on Thursday night from Khalid, warning me. “Do not see Indiana Jones. It was horrible.” We text back and forth for a few and I just found him hard to believe. All the reviews for the past few weeks had been giving this movie more hype than The Carter III’s been receiving (Album is trash too). Critics have this movie bringing back that old Hollywood magic to the silver screen. The big summer blockbuster that was to kill the rest of the summer. The film that would convince Hilary Clinton to abandon her presidential run and co-sign Barack Obama. This was supposed to be IT, youknowwhati’msaying? But Kha hated it the same way he hates pork. But I had to see it with my own two windows to my soul before I too was to pass judgment.

Well, I’m sure George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are gonna wish I heeded Kha’s warning because ladies and gentlemen, looks like I’m going to be the first reviewer to ROAST Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull.

First let me start off by saying that I really did appreciate the vintage look that the movie gave off. It actually seemed like a movie that was recorded with film equipment from the 80’s. That was a good look.

Now as for the story, I felt that it had more potential than Glen Robinson when he was drafted 1st in ’94. But just like Glen Robinson did to Milwaukee, the movie left me wondering “So where’s the big payoff?”

As the title gave away, the movie is about a crystal skull, and as the commercials gave away, the crystal skull was “Not made by human hands.” So given Steven Spielberg’s and George Lucas’ film history, you should automatically know this movie is going to include some kind of extraterrestrial element in the plot. I knew this going in and I wasn’t mad because I happen to believe in aliens and their influence in ancient culture. I love that kind of stuff. So I was excited by the possibilities.

Everything goes down in the 1950’s. Indiana Jones is kidnapped by KGB terrorists led by a weird yet attractive looking Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchette) and is forced to find an alien body recovered from the infamous Roswell crash of 1948 for reasons unknown. He’s taken to the same place where the Ark of the Covenant was stashed which just so happens to be the infamous Dreamland a.k.a. Area 51. So far I’m loving where the movie was going.

Then Mr. Jones (No relation to Nasir or Jim) escapes by punching out a few soldiers who had absolutely NO aim; swung on his whip, crash landed in a truck and whupped two soldiers’ asses; ended up in a fake town that was set to get nuked as part of a government experiment and then survived a nuclear blast by finding refuge in a lead lined refrigerator which was sent flying hundreds of yards away be the power of the blast.

Now this is the kind of logic defying stuff that Kha be telling me he hates about movies. And I’m always telling him the point of going to the movies is to escape reality for a while and enjoy a world of wonders that we’d never experience because of the laws of gravity and the natural laws of physics.

But this sh*t right here was OD, dunn. Indy must’ve had thee only Bruce Lee/Jackie Chan/Jet-Li/Kimbo Slice Kung-fu grip to hold that fridge door closed while the pressure of the nuclear blast lifted the fridge off the floor, flung it like Cloverfield flung that Statue of Liberty head and then hit the ground with a force that Yoda couldn’t comprehend.

After this sequence the movie went into the old Indiana Jones formula that we’ve seen before where he goes back to school teach his college students; someone walks in and informs him of whatever; he then travels half way round the world (Peru this time around) to look for some artifact (A crystal skull) and help this kid (Mutt) find his mother, Marion Ravenwood (Indy’s shorty from Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Indy’s old homie, Ox, who’s gone missing; gets to Peru and finds the artifact in question only to be taken hostage by the villains literally a minute later and has the object taken from him; soon he’ll escape, retrieve the artifact, go and finish the quest at hand but not before the villains catch up with him to steal the spoils of his work. Y’all get all that?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull should’ve been named Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Clear Predicatbleness (Sometimes you just have to make up your own words for situations like this).

One of the few things I appreciated about the movie was how the writers were able to incorporate the Nazca Lines of Peru into the script and build a story around the old Incan civilization (The movie suggests they were Mayan. Jackasses) and how they were ahead of their time and in a lot of ways, ahead of ours (Latinos stand up!).

What I hated was how when Indy and his crew show up to Peru and found the ancient ruins, they were attacked by a bunch of barbarian Indian Latinos chasing them around the ruins with darts and rocks like a bunch of uncivilized jungle dwellers (Latinos sit down!).

Too bad we don’t have a Spanish Spike Lee to speak up about how Latino’s are portrayed in film.

While Indy was being chased around these ruins by the “Mayans” my cousin, Fel, joked, “Mel Gibson must’ve directed this part of the movie.” I responded, “Nah, he would’ve gave our people a little more dignity than these two birds (Spielberg & Lucas).” With the way indigenous people were depicted in this movie, I’m surprised members of Russia’s Communist party are offended and calling for a boycott of the film and we’re not. In Crystal Skull the Commies were a bunch of Mr. Belvederes compared to us, man.

I mean – SPOILER – the Communists ended up murdering all the Indians with their guns. To this my cousin sucked his teeth and commented, “Are you telling me the rocks didn’t work [against the Commies]?” I couldn’t stop laughing at that. Gotta love sarcasm. So really, Latinos as a whole got sh*tted on twice in this movie. At least the Commies came out looking triumphant in some aspect. We were straight up and down inferior to everyone in this joint.

What else I hated? Again, back to being predictable. When you escape the clutches of your enemies and find yourself on the run but end up trapped in quick sand, what do you expect to happen when you send the mentally challenged dude to get help in the middle of nowhere with the enemy right on your ass? Do you expect him to come back with the fire department? No, he’s gonna come back with a gak to get a penny laugh from the audience. Did no one see that coming? And when Jones learned that Mutt Williams (Shia Lebeouf) was his son, you knew the father-son jokes weren’t too far off. Aside from them being corny as hell, they were extremely outdated. “You’re not my father!” Oh yeah. Real original.

What made things worse was the OD aspect of the flick. Now Shia Lebeouf was an OK addition to the movie, but once he started swinging on the jungle vines with more expertise than Tarzan, I was done with the movie. They lost me right then and there. Are we sure that Indiana Jones is his father because George of the Jungle could very well be a strong candidate. And for God sakes, man eating ants? Only in South America I guess.

Anyway, after Indy saved the day (did I spoil that for y’all?) I gave this movie 2 and a half Gangstas.

I didn’t hate the movie like Khalid did, but I wasn’t thrilled at all. The film was average. The plot was interesting, but fell apart. The acting wasn’t as inspired as I had hoped for (Ford playing Jones in this installment was similar to Snipes playing Blade in Blade Trinity), and the script was somewhat poorly written. Half of the dialogue was “eh” and the other half conventional. The action sequences were fun to watch but were really too hard to swallow (sword fights on top of jeeps and cars?). At least in the old Indiana Jones you could believe a man could be in a mining car and jump rails given the man in control is at a ripe age and is in tip-top shape. Now they want us to believe a man that’s clearly over the hill and is one Ring Ding away from being a Goober can fly. The man was jumping out of cars and onto motorcycles with ease for God’s sake! I guess having him do something realistic like jump from a Walker to another Walker would’ve been offensive to old people… which he is, isn’t he? And don’t get me started on the comedic aspect of the movie. Talk about lame. The old man references got tired real quick. Maybe in the 80’s the jokes would’ve hit hard, but it’s O-8 and the only thing hit hard was my pocket. And I’m saving every penny for the new Olympic Jordan VI’s. So you know I’m tight.