THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
It's been a while since I cared enough about a film to catch it on its opening night, and let it be said I did not care enough about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to do so. And yet, the night before last, the curious creature that occasionally steals my sofa appeared at the door and demanded we pay a visit to the new Vue cinema that's opened up in the back end of beyond we call home. My pleas to see Neil Marshall's Doomsday or Iron Man instead went unheard. The continuing adventures of an increasingly decrepit Dr Henry Jones it was, then.
A few days after the fact, I remain pleasantly surprised by almost the whole affair. Of course there's a but - I have a but for everything these days - but Indy 4 wasn’t the sordid grave-robbing I presumed it would be. I don't know that there's anyone around who sat through all three instalments of George Lucas's wholesale rape of the Star Wars saga who still clings to the hope he won't anti-Midas anything he touches in the future into crap. Thankfully, though, it seems Steven Spielberg held tight to the directorial reins of The Crystal Skull -- at least until the film's last hokey act.
Whatever the suggestion of heroism and adventure his name implies, Harrison Ford has rarely come across as a particularly accomplished actor. He's easy enough on the eyes and charismatic at times; he can remember lines and remains a master of at least three reasonably convincing expressions (bemused, amused, and neither amused nor bemused). But the role of Indiana Jones doesn't really call for much more than that - I don't know that it ever did. In The Crystal Skull, he performs as expected. Of course he's old, but as boisterous as his character was in some of the set-pieces of the first three films, Indy was never a very youthful hero. He's an archaeologist, after all; more than treasure, he hungers for knowledge, for history, and Ford slips into the role as if it were a long-lost sock of old. It doesn’t always seems as if he’s having fun, but he inhabits his character with the same bumbling camp as ever, and holds the film together well enough.