Indy Rides Again

I love Harrison Ford. He’s one of those actors that always feels familiar no matter what he’s in. It’s the same whenever I watch Clint Eastwood or Tom Hanks; they just become their parts and bring their experience to any film. At one time Ford had starred in the top five box office hits of all time but I think his dramatic roles are underrated as well, like Witness and The Mosquito Coast. But of course he’ll always be remembered for Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

The Indy films are some of my favourites. They’re such fun films and I still think Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best adventure film that’s been made, mainly because of the balance between action, character and humour. I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yesterday and enjoyed it. It brought back a lot of memories of the previous films and of my childhood as well. It’s funny how you associate movies with a time in your life, isn’t it?

I saw Raiders when I was eight and loved it. At that time it was like nothing I’d seen before, particularly when the guy’s head exploded! I remember one of the things that really struck me about it was the music. At the time I had no idea it was John Williams who’d scored Star Wars as well but it seemed so light and playful, I loved it. I still get a chill when I hear The Raiders March even now.

I came across this video earlier and thought I’d post it to celebrate the release of the new film. It’s The Raiders March in all its glory, set to the artwork of Drew Struzan. Struzan’s poster artwork for the Indy films is stunning and really helped to define Indy’s style. I love his artwork for Pan’s Labyrinth as well.

So what did I think of the new film? Avoiding spoilers, I enjoyed it. It’s a fun adventure and Ford definitely doesn’t look too old for the role, which was ridiculous anyway; Indy uses his wits and knowledge to defeat his opponents, not brute strength. Karen Allen returns after 27 years and Cate Blanchett is great as a Soviet femme fatale. Shia LaBeouf offers support and some smouldering looks for the camera. The storyline has a few twists and there’s a superb jungle chase sequence that rivals anything from the earlier films.

It’s not Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade but it has the humour that Temple of Doom lacked; I liked it more than that and the last half flies by. The main problem is that it doesn’t follow the same Indy formula as the previous films. It feels much more like a 50s B-movie than a 30s serial and some people will think it’s not an “Indiana Jones” movie because of that. But I quite liked that; you can’t make the same film 19 years later, so if you change the setting to the 50s, why not change the formula too?

The biggest surprise for me was John Williams’ score. His scores have become a little repetitive in recent years but this is one of his most enjoyable scores in a long time. It’s a thrill hearing The Raiders Theme again and the Crystal Skull motif is particularly good, an eerie, three note string piece that builds to a crescendo later in the film. It brings back all those memories of listening to the Raiders score for the first time and I wasn’t expecting that at all!

Overall I thought Crystal Skull was good. It matched my expectations and if you’re a fan of Indy or Harrison Ford I’d definitely say go and see it; it’s fun and that’s what matters. Just don’t expect it to be the same kind of film as the others; it’s different, as it had to be after 19 years. I’d say it’s worth seeing just for Cate Blanchett. She steals the show! But then I might be biased. πŸ˜‰

8 thoughts on “Indy Rides Again

  1. I have not seen the other Indy movies, can you believe it? I am, however, getting dragged to see the new on either on Sunday or Monday. I guess that gives me time to see the other ones before then. Perhaps I shouldn’t go, but there’s been so much hype that I’m curious to see what it’s all about. After the latest Narnia one that already came out, I’m just waiting on “Dark Knight” to come out.

    Oh and “Shia LaBeouf offers support and some smouldering looks for the camera.” ?!?!?! Ha! I’ll believe it when I say it. And should a nice fella like you be saying those sorts of lines? πŸ˜‰

    CJ: Wow, I didn’t know there was anyone left who hadn’t seen the Indy movies! If you have time to see Raiders I’d recommend watching that first as parts of it play into the new one… having seen none of them might be a good thing, though, you might be in the best position to really enjoy it! πŸ˜‰

    Hm, I wonder what was worse, that I said that about Shia LaBeouf, or that I said I love Harrison Ford? I’m going to give people to wrong idea. Really I’m straight, honest! Not that there’s anything wrong with that… πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for your review, CJ. My husband and I plan to make every effort to get out and see this movie some time this long week end.
    I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. Can’t wait to see for myself!

    CJ: Glad you liked the review, TVB! I tried to not spoil anything so hope you enjoy it when you see it. Most of the reviews have been fairly positive but it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself! Something tells it’s going to be very popular this weekend. πŸ˜‰

  3. I was going to say that I was probably the only person in existance who’d never seen an Indiana Jones film, but apparently not! I feel culturally deprived, I’ll have to get around to seeing them. Which would you recommend starting with, Raiders of the Lost Ark or one of the others?

    CJ: Hm, maybe more people haven’t seen Indy than I thought! I’d definitely recommend watching Raiders first; the others are good but they’re not quite as important as Raiders is in establishing the mythology. The effects have dated a bit but it’s still a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy it, Bobby. πŸ™‚

  4. Hahaha!! I am a huuuuuuuuge Indy fan and this is one movie i am not gonna miss! This releases in india on May 30 and I’m going first day, first show! πŸ˜€

    CJ: Hi Nikhil, hope you enjoy it! Been a long wait, hasn’t it? I’d say to try not to hype it too much if you can help it; you might enjoy it more then. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hey CJ!
    Wow, I’m glad to hear that it is a good film. I was afraid after all this time they would go and wreck things – I think I’ll go see it soon – though knowing me, I’ll wait til it’s out on vid. Nice review.
    WC

    CJ: Thanks, WC! I was worried they’d wreck it too; I thought they might call it Indiana Jones and the Retirement Home for a while. I enjoyed it, although not everyone has; I know Simonne didn’t like it at all and I can see some of her points. I think you’d like it, though; and if you miss it, it’s only a couple of months to the DVD! You can control the volume then too. πŸ˜‰

  6. Finally saw this film, and I liked the storyline a lot. The action sequences were quite good, the music, as you said was fresh as well as giving us quotes from the first films.
    The most chilling sequence in the movie for me was the nuclear test in the Nevada desert. It was so real to me as I’ve seen footage and read reports of tests just like this. How Indie gets himself out of that situation is…interesting. All the actors were great, and the ending was a nice surprise.

    CJ: Glad you liked it, Muse! Wasn’t the music great? I was starting to wonder if Williams was past it but I loved his work here. The only small disappointment was when I bought the soundtrack; the music’s still good but they’re not the tracks I would have chosen. There’s nothing at all from the Nevada warehouse scene which was so memorable.

    The nuclear test was very chilling… I did wonder about how Indy escaped, though. Perhaps it was actually that Indy had drunk from the Holy Grail (in the third film) that saved him? It was a lot of fun, so I’m glad most people have liked it, even if it is different to the others… now the question is if there’ll be a fifth film! Indiana Jones and the Grandchildren of Doom? πŸ™‚

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