Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(Minor Spoilers) The Indiana Jones character has been left rotting in writer George Lucas's colon for almost 20 years of creative constipation. Now, thanks to a heavy laxative, he was able to spew some cinematic diarrhea all over the big screen to help kick off the summer movie season. The laxative, of course, being big, fat sacks of cash money.
You wouldn't think that Lucas would have anything rancid left over in his ass after the three Star Wars prequels, but here I am: wading knee-deep in more of his shit.
It seems Lucas suspected this was going to be a particularly putrid batch, and so "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has several scenes that attempt to build a bridge back to "Raiders of the Lost Ark", just in case we forgot this movie was about the same Indiana Jones. These are done with all the subtlety of a glow-in-the-dark condom. Case in point: Within the first 20 minutes, we actually see the physical Ark of the Covenant. I fully expected Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) to look straight at the camera and wink at the audience.
But this movie is not another "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and you realize this quickly thanks to the lazy plotting and yawn-inducing action scenes. Imagine, for a moment, that in "Raiders", Indiana and his friends found the Ark of the Covenant early in the film. And then imagine that Indiana used the Ark to solve every single problem he came across.
Big guy with a sword in his way? Just open the Ark and blast him with some God-Lightning.
Nazi submarine? Sink it with some God-Lightning.
Got a boo-boo on his elbow? God-Lightning.
Just trade out the Ark of the Covenant with an oblong crystal skull and God-Lightning with "Inanimate but Ominous Stare", and you have an idea of how boring this movie was.
The rest of the action was about as fun and unpredictable as looking at my watch, which I did repeatedly during this movie. We've seen it all before. And if Indiana Jones can survive a nuclear detonation at ground zero by hiding in a 1950's era refrigerator, like he does at the beginning of this film, then we can assume he'll survive any other contrived situation George Lucas can plunk him in.
But this is nothing compared to the action surrounding Indiana's new sidekick, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Towards the beginning of the film, Mutt makes an offhand remark about his mother requiring him to take fencing lessons, trying really hard to make it seem offhand. Gee, I wonder if he's going to get to show off his fancy skills later?
When the inevitable sword fight comes, the movie then abandons all pretense of reality and therefore all pretense of excitement. Mutt is engrossed in his clash while straddling between two moving vehicles that are side-by-side, when a bush rushes by at 15-20 MPH and nails him in the groin. Mutt then makes a noise of moderate pain and surprise, and doesn't miss a beat in his exciting fight sequence. This happens 3 or 4 more times, and each time Mutt brushes off the crushing blow as if it's a fly that landed in his soup.
This is not the way a human male reacts when his genitals are pummeled, or there is even one iota of risk of them being pummeled. Recall the torture scene from Casino Royale where Bond's hanging ballsack is struck repeatedly with a heavy rope, and each time Bond screams like a girl. Every single male in the audience was squirming and moving to protect their package at the mere thought of that happening to them. Tears were even shed. Tears that no man would fault another man for shedding.
So how is it that Mutt Williams can sustain such repeated abuse without so much as a grimace? There are three possible things that could explain this impossibility:
- Mutt has literal balls of steel.
- Mutt has no balls.
- Mutt is simply tougher than James Bond.
Before you decide, first realize that he doesn't have balls of steel, and that there is no fucking way he is tougher than James Bond.
The rest of the plot is standard fare. Indiana Jones must find the magical artifact before the villain does. Villain then seems to win at the end, but their hubris and misunderstanding of the artifact leads to their downfall. In this case, the villain who gets this predictable comeuppance is Soviet officer Col. Dr. Irina Spalko(Cate Blanchett), the Nazis of previous films being downgraded to Commies.
Bottom line: the movie would have been more exciting if it took place 25 years later, and Indiana Jones's main struggle was trying not to break his hip on the way to bingo night.
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