Indiana Jones and the...huh?!?

Less free time means fewer movies seen and shorter reviews, but I finally saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and I wasn't missing much.

Given the pedigree and talent of the cast and crew, along with the massive familiarity of the audience with the series, making an awful Indiana Jones movie would be difficult. But Steven Spielberg and company nearly accomplish the task, relying solely on past magic to carry the picture.

The first hour of the movie is decent, with the introduction of a couple marginally interesting characters, played well enough by Cate Blanchett and Shia LeBeouf, and the usual series of globe-trotting adventures. But as a microcosm of the entire movie's problems (aliens?), the centerpiece action sequence starts well before taking a couple bizarrely ill-fitting turns (monkeys?!?) that overshadow the little quality that is present in the movie.

The primary thing that makes the movie worth watching is the familiarity with the title character, and the ease with which Harrison Ford returns to the role. Indiana Jones is an all-time great cinematic character, and Ford nails the part again. Even at his age, he is a joy to watch in this flick.

If the last act of this movie were in a Indy-knockoff like National Treasure or Tomb Raider, it would have been laughed out of the theater. In this setting, it doesn't fit either, but the established familiarity grants the movie enough leeway to make it worth a rental.

Bottom Line: 2 of 5 for quality, 3 of 5 for enjoyability. 5 of 10 for a mediocre move that lives on past accomplishments.

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