Written by Hombre Divertido
Considering the amount of times this project stalled due to a poor script, you would think the final product would have been better. At its core this outing is simply too convoluted and unbelievable. Yes, it may be difficult to say that the three previous films were believable, yet they contained a quality that is sorely lacking here.
It is not the performances for the most part, though Harrison Ford gives an awkward portrayal of our hero, but it appears to be more related to what he has to say than how he says it. Cate Blanchett is quite fun as Irina Spalko, the leader of the Russian squad out to possess the power of the Crystal Skull, and it is enjoyable seeing Indy reunite with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), though much more could have been done with said reunion. John Hurt, like Ford, is saddled with awkward writing that gives him little to do. He also may have been disturbed by the similarities between the Crystal Skull and that of his previous alien nemesis. Shia LaBeouf and Ray Winstone are along for the ride, but their characters are simply too under developed, as are most of the relationships in this film.
The major problem here is that as we watch Indy and friends attempt to track down the Crystal Skull and the legendary Lost City of Gold before the Russians get to it, we are not drawn in by the outlandish CGI-inundated perilous situations. The line that separates what we are willing to accept as possible and plausible was certainly pushed to the edge in the three previous outings, but in most cases there was simplicity to the situations that allowed us to accept and enjoy the ride. We are so far over the line in this film, that it exceeds laughable and hits disappointing.
Gone are the days of Indy and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) being trapped in a spiked-filled shrinking room reliant on Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) to free them while dealing with every creepy crawly creature known to man in the previously worst film of the series, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. With the Crystal Skull, we get no situations that draw the audience into the film.
Considering the legendary talent associated with this film, it simply should have looked better. We know we are in trouble in the first minutes of the film when we see our hero and his Russian captors standing outside the government warehouse where we last saw the raided Lost Ark. The soundstage on which this was shot is so poorly decorated, that you can literally see where the horizon backdrop meets the ground. Throughout the film, the CGI effects are distracting and disappointing.
Recommendation: This film lacks energy, integrity, and the essentials to engage an audience. Poor character, relationship, and story development, leave the audience on the outside looking in. There are a few laughs to be had, but the biggest one comes from the ridiculousness of the climax. The Last Crusade should have been just that, so rent it and Raiders rather than spending your money on this.