INDY 4: magic strikes a fourth time
OK, here’s what really pisses me off: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (aka Indy 4) being trashed by punks whose first experience with the franchise was watching Last Crusade while squirming on their living room floors with a load in their diapers. In the past couple of days, I’ve heard that the script is silly, the script makes no sense, Harrison Ford is too old, Shia LaBeouf sucks, the CGI stinks, it needs Sean Connery, there’s not enough Karen Allen, there’s too much Karen Allen, there’s not enough of the old magic… Waa, waa, waa. Well, screw all of you snotty ratbastards.
There’s plenty of magic in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In fact, it oozes magic. I just saw the movie this morning. And as it settles into my brainpan over the next few days — and as I see it again and again, which I most certainly will — I’m sure I’ll find a couple of goofs and missteps. But since I’ve been afraid of disappointment ever since the film was first announced, I can report that from Indy 4’s opening scene to its closing credits, I was caught up in the same sense of wonder I felt when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark on opening night in Westwood in 1981.
There’s too much to say. So just a handful of comments for now:
First of all, anyone who is as sick as I am of the dour, grim Harrison Ford of the past two decades will be crazy about him in this film.
Second, I loved the Area 51 and Nevada Test Site scenes. Loved ’em, loved ’em, loved ’em, particularly since I toured the test site and “Doomtown” just two years ago. That stuff — and the replacement of Nazi bad guys with Commie bad guys — perfectly anchored the film in the 1950s.
Next, Shia LaBeouf does a fine and dandy job as Indy’s son. (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here. And if I have spoiled this “surprise” for you, which was telegraphed in the promotional materials a year ago, well, shame on you for being such a numbskull.) There’s chemistry between Ford and LaBeouf that can’t be denied. And the final bit, where LaBeouf has Indy’s hat in his hands, and then doesn’t, is a wonderful wink from Lucas and Spielberg: yeah, maybe LeBeouf will someday be Ford’s successor, but we all know it’ll never be quite as great.
Finally, I’m absolutely nuts over the return of Marion Ravenwood. When Ford sees Karen Allen for the first time, and yes, she's still gorgeous, he looks like a young kid getting his first bicycle for Christmas. Yes, friends, the magnetism between Indy and Marion is still there after 27 years. Every scene between them sizzles — and sure, there are too few, but let’s face it, any number of them would have been too few. Just watch Karen Allen’s face after Ford says, in a soon-to-be-famous scene, “None of them were you, honey.” Even crusty old me turned to jelly in my seat. Don’t we all wish our ladies would look at us like that? Just once? I get gooseflesh just thinking about that scene.
So go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. With this movie and the phenomenal Iron Man now under our belts, this is already a movie summer better than I ever expected. And better than a lot of cynical fans deserve.