Tag Archives: Karen Allen

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) Review

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Medium Level Violence
Cast:
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko
Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
Ray Winstone as George “Mac” McHale
John Hurt as Harold “Ox” Oxley
Jim Broadbent as Dean Charles Stanforth
Shia LaBeouf as Mutt Williams
Director: Steven Spielberg

In 1957, archaeologist and adventurer Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) is called back into action and becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls.

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Despite the original trilogy being received very well, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull got a lot of hate when it was released, especially from audiences. I always remembered liking it across the few times I had watched it, but I hadn’t seen it all that much, and it was just under a decade since I last saw it. With my recent rewatches of the other movies, I knew I needed to get back to the fourth one, and I’m glad to say that I still like it quite a lot, despite its very present issues.

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Storywise, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wasn’t as strong as Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade but I was still interested in the adventure and was entertained from beginning to end. To a degree it plays things rather safe, it doesn’t do too much differently and it could’ve tried to stand out more among the other films. With that being said, it is the only Indiana Jones movie to features aliens. Some people don’t like the movie ultimately being about aliens, as you quickly find out. While I can certainly understand why plenty of people aren’t so that into that, thinking about it, I don’t really have that much of a problem with it. I do like the new setting, it’s a couple of decades later after the last movie, and so it’s during the Cold War, with Russians being the main source of conflict. With this being an Indiana Jones movie, it does have its silly moments as to be expected. Although there is the scene where Shia LaBeouf is swinging on vines with monkeys, the biggest one where Indiana Jones survives a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge. This scene is beyond infamous, even many long time Indiana Jones fans hate on it. Honestly though, I found it absolutely hilarious and kind of enjoyed it. Considering this is the same series where Indiana Jones and two others flew off a plane in a inflatable raft onto a mountain, sliding off it and falling onto rapids without sustaining any injury, I think this isn’t that unexpected. With that said there are some parts that they could’ve toned down, as in some scenes (especially towards the end) there were certain things I would’ve preferred them not showing.

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Harrison Ford reprises his role from the last time since 1989. Some say that he wasn’t up at the level that he was in the other movies, mainly that he was too old for the role, but I thought that added to his performance quite well. At the same time, in his performance here I still saw an older Indiana Jones and not just older Harrison Ford (especially after seeing the other movies more recently). The line delivery, the comedy, the energy, all of it was here. Some people really didn’t like Shia LaBeouf in his role of Mutt Williams here, but I actually thought he was pretty good on his part. Considering what his role sounded like on paper, it could’ve been way worse. I do have a feeling that much of the dislike of the character might’ve come from the fact that it was LaBeouf playing him at that time. Karen Allen returns to reprise her role of Marion Ravenwood, and while she and Ford don’t have quite as strong of a dynamic as they did back in Raiders of the Lost Ark, they still had some great chemistry and it was still nice seeing them back on screen together. Ray Winstone and John Hurt also worked quite well in supporting roles. Cate Blanchett is the villain, and is actually probably the most memorable of the Indiana Jones villians, albeit being a bit cartoonish. However she works because of the dedicated and reliable performance from Blanchett, campy and entertaining, yet threatening enough as an antagonist.

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Steven Spielberg returns to directs this, and I still think he did a pretty good job. On a technical side it all works, it’s a great looking movie too. The action is pretty good on the whole, with some entertaining sequences that aren’t quite as memorable as the action in the rest of the series. There was a fight scene with Indiana Jones and a Russian later on which was sort of weak, but most of it is fine. The use of CGI has been criticised quite a lot, honestly most of it isn’t so bad, the biggest problem is the overuse of it (you can really feel George Lucas’s hand on that part). Even a gopher is created using CGI early in the movie for some random reason. Some of the action scenes do have this weird CGI feel to it, as if some parts of the background had digital effects thrown in for some reason. The third act without spoiling anything has some CGI which doesn’t look the best and in fact looks very goofy. I do agree that they should’ve had more practical effects, generally the use of CGI was unnecessary. With that said, when it came to the practical effects and production design it was all handled very well. The score by John Williams is good, there aren’t many distinct or memorable themes compared with the other movies, but the score as it is was worked. It’s always satisfying hearing these iconic themes in a movie again.

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As a return to the series almost 2 decades after the last film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is just a little bit disappointing. Nonetheless, on its own, I can’t deny that enjoyed it a lot. It has plenty of silly moments, it used a lot of CGI unnecessarily, and did play things a bit safe. However it was entertaining from beginning to end, the cast was great, and I enjoyed being on the adventure. I’m glad that it exists and I have problem placing it alongside the original Indiana Jones trilogy.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
Paul Freeman as Rene Belloq
Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht
John Rhys-Davies as Sallah
Denholm Elliot as Satipo
Director: Steven Spielberg

Archaeologist professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired to find the Ark of the Covenant when two agents from US Army intelligence tell him of Nazi German activities in archaeology, including a gigantic excavation site in Egypt – a site that an intercepted cable indicates to Indy is the location of the, the powerful chest bearing the Ten Commandments, that the Nazis can use to obliterate any enemy.

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Every adventure movie ever made owes it to this movie. With great characters, a sense of adventure, many thrills and well filmed action scenes; it is easy to see it reflected in many adventure movies released after it. It held up 33 years ago and it holds up today, as it continues to entertain today.

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This film always has something entertaining going on and always has your curiosity and attention. The reason why it is so loved was because as a film, it gets everything right. For a simple premise, the film takes advantage of it and really makes it as entertaining as possible. The film also has many genres combined into it: action, adventure, romance, comedy, fantasy – and all of these genres are extremely well balanced. There aren’t that many flaws with this movie (despite Indy near the end of the movie knowing what to do despite not learning about it prior to the event), and most of the time you don’t even notice them as you are wrapped up in the adventure.

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Indiana Jones is now an iconic character thanks to Harrison Ford’s performance. He doesn’t just rehash his performance from Star Wars as Han Solo; he really brings this character to life. He is like John McClane from Die Hard; he felt relatable and vulnerable like other human beings who seemed like he could die at any moment, where a lot of action characters are always capable. Karen Allen also does a good job at being Marion Ravenwood who is Indy’s love interest throughout the movie. One of the best things about her is that unlike most female characters in action movies (who usually spend most of their time being rescued from danger), she can hold her own and handle herself in any situation All the other side characters that are in this movie are memorable, especially Davies, Elliott and Lacey who are effective as the antagonists in the movie.

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The action scenes in this movie are done incredibly well. The film is also perfectly edited, as is the cinematography shot. I know it goes without saying but the stunt work is incredible; there are a lot of them, unlike most movies of today which often use CGI for the big action scenes. That chase scene in the last act with the horses stands out most to me whenever I think about this movie; it so well shot and overall is the best car chase scene I’ve seen in a movie. The set pieces for each location are designed very well. Also the film uses a lot of practical effects that actually feel real, a perfect example is the boulder near the beginning of the movie. John William’s score is a triumph all the way through; it fits so well with the action scenes, the discovery scenes and many others.

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This film is a fun adventure, simple as that. It takes you on a ride. The film balances the action scenes, dialogue and mystery moments. If for some strange reason you haven’t seen this movie, see it now and see what you have been missing out on for years. Raiders of the Lost Ark are a special movie to action films and to films in general. Steven Spielberg perfectly captured the adventurous spirit with this movie.