May 22, 2008

you brought a knife to a gun fight

Posted in movies tagged , at 3:11 am by placeinthestars

L. and I had a fabulous late dinner at a new restaurant in the neighborhood (omg the dessert menu! choosing just one was TORTURE), and then we went to a midnight show of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.

My non-spoilery review is that I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was pretty hilarious, and a good evocation of 1950s B movies, which is what I think they were going for.

Was it a good movie? I dunno. Maybe? It’s pretty entertaining, even if I’m pretty sure it breaks most of the laws of physics at one point or another. Possibly I am just seduced by the theme music, which never fails to make me grin like a loon. There are a couple of facepalmy moments with scary savage natives, but those are mostly kept to a minimum, and the plot barrels along at breakneck speed, which is all to the good, because if it slowed down, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t make much sense.

I was surprised they were showing it in two theatres, because the auditorium we were in wasn’t packed. It had a decent-sized crowd, but not like the one for RotK.

So it pretty much takes 1950s sci-fi movies as its base, with Roswell and nuclear terror and fear and loathing of communism/the Soviet Union, plus a soupcon of teenage greaser style for Mutt, Indy and Marion’s son. Which, okay, Indy/Marion is like an ur-OTP for me, so I was thrilled to see them together again, but sad that they’d spent twenty years apart. I thought Shia did a nice job as Mutt – I believed him both as a 1950s greaser and as Indy’s son, and I adored his swordfight with Cate Blanchett on the moving vehicles. Marion is love, as always. I missed Sallah and was happy to see Marcus and Henry Sr. mentioned.

I liked that Oxley spoke in Miltonic verse, and I thought some of the set pieces were hilarious. The overall plot… aliens! With elongated heads! Were here 7000 years ago! There should totally be a story were Mulder meets Indy at a seminar early in his (Mulder’s, I mean) academic career. Or possibly where the thirteen aliens are actually the original Cylons or the original Lords of Kobol. Or something. Man.

As always in these movies, greed (for power, for treasure, even, apparently, for knowledge, though I suppose Cate Blanchett’s character wanted the power that went with the knowledge, rather than the knowledge for its own sake?) is punished.

I really like how they acknowledged and used Indy’s age in the film, that he’s not as young as he used to be, though he’s pretty spry for an old guy.

I thought the direction was interesting – Indy staring at the mushroom cloud at the beginning, as the potemkin village was nuked, and then Indy staring into the valley as the spaceship (dimensional ship. oh, whatever) spun itself away and “swept the footprints clean.” (Very end of the X-Files movie, with the ship rising out of the ice, yeah?). I liked all the silhouettes of Indy in his hat. I liked that it ended with a wedding. I could have done without the killer ants, and covered my eyes for that portion of the program.

All in all, I enjoyed it, as I said, but if I were going to shell out $11.25 (sigh) to see a movie a second time this summer, it would be Iron Man.

***

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