Well, I’ve just returned from the press screening of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Here are my first impressions – first because I’m planning to see the movie again, this time with my friends. I tried to cut down spoilers to the minimum.
I simply loved the first part of the movie! I think I was grinning non-stop throughout the first half an hour or so. Beginning has everything Indiana Jones sequel should have: cool location, fast-paced action, whole bunch of nods towards earlier movies (and even the TV series) and that slightly self-mocking humor I always enjoyed.
Ever since I heard that “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” takes place 20 years after the “Last Crusade” I was pleased because this meant that makers at least tried not to cheat their way out of making Indiana older. The Man is definitely older now but he still packs a punch. On the other hand, movie starts almost as a catalog of 1950es clichés that, again, I found irresistible – I was reminded on the first “Back to the Future” movie.
With Cold War and everything, Soviets have – obviously – replaced Nazis. Their crackpot/dominatrix leader played by Kate Blanchett is a villain in the best Indiana Jones tradition. Her character seemed rather underused though, but I admit I’m a bit biased here: Comrade Colonel Spalko can be my new commissar anyday, bay-bee! FNARR! FNARRR!
As for the bad parts… Well, around the middle movie starts to sag and action – just like Indy – winds down. Movie, IMO, becomes unnecessarily cluttered with… stuff. You’ll see. Things are not helped by the Basil Exposition-esque dialogs where characters explain you the things you can already see on the screen. In general, second half of the movie could have used trimming: it would have kept the fast tempo of the first part going. As for the whole nature of the MacGuffin in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” I think it was a great idea – again, very 1950es – but it might have been handled a bit more subtly.
All in all, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull” was fun. IMO, not as good as the “Raiders” or “Last Crusade” but definitely warmer and more charming than the “Temple of Doom” . But then again, these are just my first impressions. I’m totally hoping people will like this movie. Indy deserves it.