Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Indiana Jones IV: Review

This review is late coming as I saw this opening night ... but I've been busy with a move and I'm just now finding the time to get this out.

I'll start off by saying:

Even if you are a die hard Indiana Jones or Harrison Ford fan wait for this one on DVD.


***
(3 out of 5 stars)


I wouldn't consider myself a die hard Indy fan - but I have enjoyed the three previous movies thoroughly. This time Indiana Jones feels more like Forrest Gump than a "coincidental archaeologist". Some parts of the movie were boring and some characters were downright idiotic - such as John Hurt playing Professor Oxley.

Previous Indiana Jones movie story lines seemed at least, in part, based on reality ... The Ark Of The Covenant, an Indian Slavery Cult, and The Holy Grail. There are at least books documenting factual portions of these three story lines. The fourth installment however, almost seems to try a secular approach to a religious archaeologist - making a leap by saying we derived from an ancient alien culture - with the whole plot drawing solely from made up people, places, and events.

I thought Karen Allen looked old and puffy and someone highly unlikely for Jones to "renew the hots for".

Shia LaBeuof plays his typical I'm not a cool kid trying to be a cool kid role. He's entertaining ... but his character is the same in every role he plays.

This will not be a very memorable movie to you - but might be entertaining on a Sunday afternoon once it comes to DVD or HBO.

3 comments:

buzmania said...

While I would agree that this is not the best Indy and is probably actually the least favorite of the series, it is not at all a bad movie. It is actually quite a good and entertaining movie.

It is very difficult to reproduce the success of a first run movie and the longer the series goes on, the tougher it gets to keep upping the ante. There were new story lines and angles that HAD to be developed to keep this from being formulaic.

New Angle #1: Indiana Jones has a son. Shia LeBeouf is an excellent actor and plays his role really well. It is a mistake to say that he plays the same character in every movie.

New Angle #2: The return of an unexpected original character. Who knew that Karen Allen would return and shake up the series? The comment about her looks is really unnecessary. She's fifty-freaking seven for crying out loud, she's not competing with actresses in their late 20's (like she was in the original). She is one of the few actresses that has left her face alone, so she looks just fine for her age.

New Angle #3: A different kind of faith. The first three movies dealt primarily with stories pulled from religion and/or the Bible. I personally am a big fan of that as that is where my faith lies. That said, those stories depend on the faith that people devoted to those beliefs place in those stories. There is also no Biblical evidence that the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail would still retain any of the powers that they may have originally had. This angle treats a faith of a different kind; there are large numbers of people that have some level of belief in extra-terrestrials and that such beings had a hand in our early history and crash-landed in the infamous Area 51. I think that this is a great departure from the first three episodes and matches up very well with the theme of the series.

New Angle #4: Events in America. Whereas Indy had to travel to exotic lands for things to start happening, several of the events in the movie occur right here in the homeland.

New Angle #5: Cate Blanchett is amazing. She is possibly one of the most underrated actresses of our time. I didn't see that coming until the credits.

Bottom line: this is a very entertaining movie that you will really enjoy unless you are expecting it to be better than the first three. Its not better; its different and still good. The end was a little weak but that was really my only big criticism.

The movie is well-cast, the storyline is interesting, the shooting and sets retain the integrity of the period and the look and feel of the old serials. One finaly word: you will never stand on a fireant hill again.

buzmania said...

A couple more things: first of all, most theatre-goers and critics will sharply disagree with you.

The Tomatometer is nearly 80% positive for this movie (77% right now) so the critics clearly disagree.

Box office totals for this movie are already exceeding total take for the last Indy movie and its only been out for two weeks. Of course, that was nearly 20 years ago and obviously prices have gone up and production budgets are higher (nearly 4x) but it is still telling after only two weeks of release.

fixyourthinking said...

Buzmania ...

Did you stand on fireant hills before this movie?

In transformers ... LaBluff was always flexing his muscles in a joking way , in Constantine he was always bragging about how awesome he was ... Yeah he showed a lot of versatility in this movie.