Friday, May 23, 2008
First viewing last night and I'm happy with it. It was never going to live up to the hype but it gives it a good old fashioned try. Let me get the failings out of the way first...
(Some spoilers below).
prevalent Supernatural/superscience. In a break with tradition the Supernatural/superscience elements are present almost from the get go. The Arks power was not revealed till the raider denouement, The sankara stones only come to life at the very end, the Grail isn't seen till the last 10 minutes. Spalkos psychic powers are hinted at from the start, and by the halfway point we have seen the skull used and indeed It actively drives the plot along. Oh and there's a UFO.
Underused talent. Karen Allen is woefully underused , as is the excellent John Hurt ( reduced to a mumbling wreck for most of the movie). Ditto Jim Broadbent (although in fairness he gets as much screen time as Denholm Elliot did in Raiders).
Overused CGI. Granted its no phantom menace but there are a couple of places I think they used it where it wasn't need. I'm probably being a bit harsh here but those CGI prarie dogs didn't agree with me at all. If I can tell its CGI it shouldn't be there.
Dialogue. I though some of the dialogue was a little weak towards the end. Particularily in the aftermath of the ship 'taking off'.
Right with that out of the way, On to the Good Stuff.
Karen Allen, if nothing else for her reaction to the 'none of them were you' line, She has an amazing smile. The chemistry between them was great and the dialogue between them was nice and snappy.
Go Shia! Mutt Williams was an entirely acceptable new character to the indy universe. Yes him being Indys son looked terrifying on paper but they played it for laughs. Great to see the little references to the relationship between Indy and his dad in Crusade. The looks exchanged on the motorcycle to 'this is intolerable!'.
Great Set Pieces. The Bike chase (particularily when Indy fights his way through a car..) is really well filmed, the camerawork screams Spielberg. The Jungle chase is excellent too with lots of leaping from vehicle to vehicle and interactions going on.
Great CGI. Along with the bad there was the good, the Nuclear explosion was great, as were the ants and the fairly subtle CGI used during the Jungle chase ( I knew it was there but I couldn't see the seams) .
Indy still kicks ass , the punches still have that satisfying THWAP sound ( IIRC that was created by someone beating a pile of wet leather!) and he can still pull off the stunts convincingly. his two slugfests with the big russian (while not quite as epic as his punch outs with Pat Roach) were pretty satisfying.
All in all it checks all the boxes:
Hat Fedora and whip, creepy crawlies, Booby traps, a mystical McGuffin, Bad Guys defeated by their own greed, losing the hat and getting it back , breakneck chase scenes, fist fights, Quotable lines, A snake and a love interest.
Long live Indy!