Despite enjoying the original trilogy, I was never all that excited for the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I'm not sure exactly why not; maybe because it was talked about for so many years that I simply moved on.
Had this movie been released ten years ago, I certainly would have been more excited. Maybe it's because two out of the three principle figures in the creation of the film (George Lucas and Harrison Ford) haven't done anything that has interested me in a very long time. Maybe it's because I can't think of a franchise that has managed to stay creatively viable over the course of four movies. Maybe it was simply the involvement of Shia LaBeouf.
But I figured I'd give it an honest shot, both because huge blockbusters like it are practically pop cultural obligations and because I have faith in Steven Spielberg. Of course, the last time Spielberg did a movie mostly for obligation was The Lost World, which was also the last Spielberg movie that I saw and did not enjoy. And while it's true that none of the members of this trio are in a particular need of more money, Lucas and Ford, and to a lesser extent Spielberg, could all use a new box office success to improve their cachet.
Add to that the fact that the screenplay for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by David Koepp is a pieced-together effort from rejected Indiana Jones 4 scripts, and you have to question the motives for making the movie, beyond the obvious financial benefits, and the simple reason that Spielberg, Lucas, and Ford no longer have to answer the question, "When are you going to get around to making the next Indiana Jones?"
For a film that may have been less about true creative impulse and more about an attempt to regain old box office glories and to finally put an end to the Indy speculation, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn't bad. It delivers the big action set pieces one expects from the franchise, with Harrison Ford comfortably fitting into the role he made famous as a much younger man. As a nostalgia vehicle, it hits the right notes in regards to the fedora, the whip, and the iconic John Williams score, along with Ford's chemistry with returning co-star Karen Allen. All in all, its a perfectly acceptable summer blockbuster.