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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Return of Indiana Jones

The wait is over, we have our Indy back!

My wife and I went to see the new movie, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" on Friday, the day after it opened. The wait was excruciating and I read every article I could find to "keep up with the Joneses". The premiere date was announced and I watched the calendar slowly crawl to the date with the excitement pouring out of me, usually met with my wife's rolling eyes.

The original trilogy of Indiana Jones is my favorite collection of action/adventure movies ever made and the idea of getting another one after such a long passing of time is like getting a lifetime of Christmas presents all at once. I kept up with every step of the process, starting with the first introduction of an idea for the fourth film. That came when George Lucas was visiting Harrison Ford when he was going to do a cameo on "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." Once Harrison agreed to go forward on the project, they were waiting on a script to get started and that's what caused a lot of the delay. George declined several scripts, including one from M. Night Shyamalan (Signs, The Sixth Sense) and Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption). He was very specific about what he wanted the film to be and would not be involved if he didn't have his way.

Lucas and director Spielberg went to great lengths to have the new cinematographer capture the same "feel" of the original films on this new installment, but after 19 years of improvements in technology the film looks as though it's the first in a new series without any resemblance of originals. As much as I love Indiana Jones and am very glad that he has returned to bring us a new adventure, I have to wonder if this new installment is worthy of the trilogy that made Indy the franchise that he is. The storyline revolves around a crystal skull, which is rumored to be engineered by aliens, and the person who returns it to a mythical location controls the world. Instead of a greedy Nazi, Russian agent Spalko (played miserably by Cate Blanchett) is on the quest for ultimate power.

Overall, it's a good movie with plenty of action and the fans love having Marion back in the mix. Harrison is still Indy just as we remember him, despite a lackluster script to work with. I think Shia was a good addition to the film and it's already being said that he may continue the legacy. Personally, I feel that if this movie is the springboard for two more Indy films, the current formula of Harrison as Indy needs to stay in place and Shia be the sidekick a la Marcus Brody and Sallah. Furthermore, Spielberg as the director needs to be the one calling the shots on scripts because I'm betting there was a better one for this movie that got passed up due to the stubborn nature of Lucas.

This may be the Indy film we've all been waiting for, but it's not the one we expected to see.

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