I have reviewed the Indiana Jones trilogy and called them perfection. Since I am a completionist, and into sadomasochism, I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as well. Here’s my review.

The Story

You know the story, Indiana has to find a crystal skull and return it to where it was once found. He’s being chased by the Russians this time, and he stumbles across Marion again and learns he has a son.

I haven’t seen this in a while, and I had just watched the other three, but Crystal Skull felt very much more disjointed and clunky. I know it has the same basic premise as the others; need this, go here, fight them, go here, get this, etc. but it just doesn’t feel the same.

Now I know that Indiana Jones isn’t real and I know that about 90% of the stuff he does isn’t real, but in Crystal Skull, they really took an ‘Amber Heard’ in the bed with the fridge sequence. The build-up to that scene was good, Indy is in a ghost town, populated with dummies (or Americans as they are known, HEY OHHH!) and a nuclear bomb is about to go off. How is he going to get out of this? Just jump inside a lead-lined fridge and you’ll be fine. OK, so this starts to work, but as the bomb goes off, the fridge is thrown about 2 miles, crashes, bangs, and eventually comes to a stop and Indy is fine. It was just beyond all belief. There are more problems with the overall story, just read on.


Ahhh, sunburn!

Ahhh, sunburn!


In the movie, Blanchett’s character refers to Oppenheimer and the nuclear bomb. I really hope Christopher Nolan addresses this in his new movie and explains how, when a nuclear bomb goes off, you’re fine inside a fridge.

The Cast

You also have issues with the cast. Firstly, Harrison Ford is great as Indy, no issues there. However, in a nutshell, Crystal Skull didn’t need Ray Winstone, John Hurt, or (and I’m going to say it) Karen Allen. Winstone’s character, Mac, could be cut from the movie and it would lose nothing. He spends most of his time shouting ‘Jonesy!’.

Hurt mumbles rubbish for about 95% of the movie until he comes back to normal at the end. And there is really no need for Marion to be there at all. OK, so we know from Raiders, she can hold her own, but there was no point in her being there. Then you have Shia LaBeouf as Henry Jones Junior Junior. After the inspired casting of Sean Connery, you got all the way to the other end of acting pool with LaBeouf. I have seen him in movies and liked him, but here, he’s just the “angry 20 something”. Again, there’s kind of no reason for him to be here, other than to get the ‘memberberries throbbing for Marion.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Indiana’s wife and son at the start of Dial of Destiny.

This brings me to Cate Blanchett. An amazing actress, but here, as someone on the talkback said, she’s phoning it in. Her character is the main antagonist, but she’s just not very threatening or scary. Mola Ram from Temple of Doom was going to literally rip out Indiana’s heart. Spalko was just kind of there and doing a Russian accent.


'Got your nose!'

‘Got your nose!’

The Effects

This is one of the things that I think killed Indiana Jones. Yes, there are effects at the end of Raiders, but 95% of the movie is practical. There are a lot of practical effects in Temple of Doom, but here and there are special effects, you really see them. Last Crusade mostly goes back to old school and sticks to practical, apart from the odd shot that really stands out.

Crystal Skull has a lot of special effects in it, and a lot more CG. You can really see it. It just doesn’t feel the same. Even the motorbike chase looked mostly CG. One of the great things about the original trilogy was the practical effects and the stunts, the more CG they add, the less it feels like Indiana Jones.

The chase sequence, in the jungle, is just as bad as you remember it. Honestly, it looks terrible. Bad CG, green screen, obvious studio work, and laughable in places. This takes you right out of the movie for a good 10 minutes.

This brings me to the ending of Crystal Skull. Firstly, as I have said, the original movies are not real, but they feel reel. At the end of Raiders, yes, ghosts and demons come out of the Ark, but you can imagine there is a warehouse somewhere full of forbidden objects just like that.

At the end of Last Crusade, you could actually believe there was a 700-year-old knight still protecting the holy grail. When the grail breaks the seal, as it was all practical even if set-bound, you could believe in the ending.

The entire beheaded alien and flying saucer are just a bit too much. I know how stupid I sound, but you can believe in the trilogy as a true story. The alien thing is just a bit too over the top. Also, at the end of the movie, Hurt’s character says they are inter-dimensional beings who create a tunnel to their own dimension. So why did they need the giant flying saucer?


That's a big Frisbee!

That’s a big Frisbee!

The Music

Now don’t get me wrong, John William is a legend! However, in Crystal Skull his music is very lackluster. Apart from the main theme, none of the music in this movie is very rememberable. In the opening sequence of Last Crusade, I could hum that all day, but honestly, in this one, there’s nothing that sticks out. Maybe Williams didn’t feel all that inspired for this one?


If you took Indiana Jones out of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it’s still not that great a movie. It’s clunky and has characters that are just not needed. The baddies are weak at best and the ending is too over the top.

The problem is then that the movie tries to be an Indiana Jones movie. As a movie, it’s not good, as an Indiana Jones movie, it’s just terrible. The “family dynamic” doesn’t really work, it’s shoehorned in. It’s too over the top, nothing memorable about the music, and just bad.

I’m hoping, in comparison to this, Dial of Destiny won’t be so bad, but maybe it is a fools hope. Myself and Matt are watching it tomorrow and we will be doing a written review each and a video about it. God help us.



Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gets a very, very low score.


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