Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is Stale Leftovers

“Don’t you know it’s dangerous to climb into a refrigerator? Those things can be deathtraps!”


Photo courtesy of IMDB

Solomon Kenworthy

     Aliens… why’d it have to be aliens? 

     Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008, and was directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Harrsion Ford, Shia LaBeouf, and Cate Blanchett. In 1957, after being encountered by the son of a long lost lover, Indiana Jones must once again dawn the fedora and whip in order to save an old college. 

     Harrison Ford returns as the famous tenured professor of archaeology, and he is wonderful. He’s easily the best actor in the film. Shia LaBeouf as Mutt is mediocre at best. He brings very little, except poor line delivery. Cate Blanchett’s performance as the film’s villain Irina Spalko is laughably bad. Her acting is too much, and overall cringe-worthy. 

     The script has a few funny jokes. It mostly understands the character of Indiana Jones, but struggles at more than that. There are several scenes where we are supposed to feel sympathy for characters we were introduced to not 5 minutes before. For the most part, the plot makes absolutely no sense. For example, the end scene involving Irina meeting the “ancient beings.” Why would the “ancient beings,” be mad at Irina for returning the skull when that’s exactly what the “beings,” wanted? 

     Along with that, there are many times where things just happen because the script says so. For example Mac and the Russians somehow knowing where Jones and Mutt went while looking for Oxley. 

     There are various times the script seems to forget its own rules. For example, when Jones first finds the skull, he looks directly at its eyes for more than 5 seconds, but later when Irina wants him to look at it to learn it’s powers, he looks at the eyes for around a little more than 5 seconds he begins to be in a mind controlling trance.  

     Characters make flat out stupid decisions that are irrational and only happen, again because the script says so. In the case of poor character choices, it’s mainly to get them from point A to point B. There is one exception where the script points this out but it doesn’t help. 

     The script’s big reveal at the end regarding the treasure they find is ripped straight out of National Treasure

     Steven Spielberg’s directing is good for the most part. John Williams’ score is beautiful, wonderfully blending new music with the old. The perfect blend of lighting, cinematography, and music during Jones’ introduction in the film is legitimately fantastic. That scene is a great example of how there are several moments that are cool and entertaining, but they are far and few between. 

     The action is very exciting, but suffers from many match to action errors. For example, in a chase scene involving Mutt and Jones on a motorcycle, there is a bus next to Mutt that’s position consistently changes in each shot. 

     The CGI for the most part is ok, but unnecessarily used. The set and costume design manages to be good and bad at the same time. Good because they both look very good. Bad because it’s extremely obvious that when they’re on a set, and that they’re wearing costumes. They look fake, with the exception for the costume design being the attire of Indiana Jones. 

     It clearly had time and effort put into it, Harrison Ford’s performance is great, and honestly the film is very entertaining. Unfortunately, these aren’t enough to save the mediocre script.


[My grade for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a C+]