In the days, weeks, and months leading up to the return of Indiana Jones, I did my best to avoid any potential spoilers for this new film. This was hard, especially over the past few days. You see, I had subscribed to a thread related to the film over at the Home Theater Forum where pre-release discussion/speculation was going on. However, no sooner was the film out, the discussion became spoiler-filled, and I inadvertently saw a plot point or two before I could hit delete.
So I went to an early morning screening (to avoid the afternoon/evening crowds) and found out just how those spoiler bits fit inside the film's puzzle. Now, does it all work? No, not really, but the movie is still very entertaining, if uneven. Should you see it? If you enjoyed any of the three prior films, you are sure to get some sort of entertainment value out of it.
After seeing the film, I did read a review where the movie was compared to seeing a reunion tour of an old band. You sort of hope for something new, but all you really want is a set of the old classics played in their current state. That is, more or less, what you get from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There is some new mythology to play with, ponder, and argue about, but there are also plenty of cues, bits, and references to the prior three films. The way these elements are blended offer up enough entertainment that you are never bored, even when the energy seems to lag a bit.
Beyond all of the hype and the excitement surrounding a new Indy adventure, I have to admit it I was stil skeptical of revisiting this old franchise. I guess it is better than a studio mounting a remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is still an idea that took a little getting used to. I mean it has been a while since we last saw Harrison Ford brandishing a whip while wearing a leather jacket and fedora, and he is not getting any younger. Now having experienced the film, my worries about Ford have been extinguished, it is like he never took the costume off. His performance is like catching up with an old friend.
As the movie opens, a convoy of trucks approaches a secret military base in the middle of the desert. Among those in the trucks is a captive Indiana Jones and his partner, Mac (Ray Winstone). Their captors are Russian military led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), who needs Indy to find a particular artifact in the vast warehouse. Upon locating the right crate, Indy makes a daring escape, and hurries back to teach archaeology without missing a beat. Of course, his latest exploits have gotten the government's attention and Indy is forced into a leave of absence. Before skipping town, Indy meets a young greaser named Mutt who needs help finding Professor Oxley (John Hurt). Before you know it, Indy is off to South America, reunited with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), crossing swords with Irina, and searching for another mythical item.