I just got back from the European pre-premiere of "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"... I want to write my review right now, while the cheerful childish smile is still on my face and the theme is still echoing in my ears.
To write my review, but how? I am just... speechless!
George, Steven, Harrison, thank you guys! Once again - you did it!
I am totally not giving out any plot details or whatever information connected with the story - I think it's a sin to spoil this experience for you. Because it's not just a movie, it's an experience. As a hardcore Indy fan I was waiting for this movie ever since there were rumors for a new sequel. The waiting, the revealing of the first teaser poster, the trailer, getting my ticket weeks before the date... But let's get to the point :)
The movie's opening shot is an instant classic - the Paramount logo, usually fading to a mountain on the horizon a second before The Man With The Hat gets on the screen, this time is being minimized to a molehill and this sets right away the sense of self-parody.
The first scene... Just beautiful! A nod to George Lucas' "American Graffiti", retro, vintage, like a post-card from the 50s. There hasn't been more entertaining and fun movie set in the 50s since Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future" and Brad Bird's "Iron Giant". The only disadvantage of this time period - I admit, I really miss the Nazis. I know, Indy is punching commies now, but still...
The directing - the name Steven Spielber for me is more than enough to guarantee a great time in the cinema (at least). And for those of you who have been disappointed by "War of the Worlds" for example (I was not, but I know some of you were), for those of you who think that he has lost his touch or something - just wait and see! The camera-work - Janusz Kaminski's work is recognizable and typical (which by no means is bad!), though I read on the net that he studied and tried to imitate the style of Douglas Slocombe from the previous three installments. By the way, I watched the movie for the first time in Poland, Janusz Kaminski's native country :)
The special effects - is there any reason to talk about them? I'm sure you're perfectly aware of what the guys at ILM are capable of - they are simply the best. You won't see something absolutely new and groundbreaking here, though everything is masterfully animated.
And the soundtrack, oh the soundtrack... And I don't mean John Williams (who is, of course, brilliant as usual), but the classic Rock'n'Roll tracks, featured in the film... OK, I told you no spoilers, but I just can't help it! The movie opens with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog"!
And of course, the actors... I don't want to get boring with another paragraph full of superlatives. The cast is amazing. All of the actors are just perfect. Unfortunately Denholm Elliott is not among the living anymore, he died more than 15 years ago, but they didn't forget him and the movie pays tribute to his character, Dr. Marcus Brody. And if you have been disappointed by Sean Connery's rejection to return at least for a cameo appearance - they didn't forget him as well. You'll get a lot of fan service from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, I assure you! And for sure you won't miss the father and son relationship, the new generation is here in the face of Shia LaBeouf, who steps into the boots of Mutt Williams. Karen Allen IS Marion Ravenwood, and Cate Blanchett is indeed a chilling villain.
But I guess you want to know about Harrison Ford's performance. "Isn't he too old?", "Shouldn't he use a walking stick instead of a whip?"... Are you kidding me?! Geez, Mr.Ford is alive and kicking, and he kicks hard! Harder than ever actually.
Yes, Indy is older and we know it. But what's more important - he knows it as well and he's not afraid to admit it. You've already seen the "Damn, I Thought That Was Closer!" moment in the trailer, and believe me this is only a vague glimpse of the humor you're in for! Honestly, this movie is packed to the top with in-jokes and one-liners. Harrison Ford even has his trademark Han Solo style "I have a bad feeling about this" (repeated in every episode of Star Wars).
And by the way there are references to the old movies (which I'm not going to give out) and to the TV-series as well - at one of the scenes Indy tells Mutt about his encounter with Panco Villa years ago :)
This movie has everything that you loved in the previous episodes - it's action-packed, emotionally-charged, mystery-filled, thrilling and entertaining to the max! It's a wild ride I wouldn't miss for the world. And the best in it are the characters' relationships - they are so much fun and at the same time sincere and human, it makes you both laugh at and identify with the characters. They still have that spark that we all love in the old three parts.
What can I say? The Adventure is back AGAIN, it has a Name and you know it!
Welcome back, Dr. Jones! We all missed you!