…of film making.
The old adage greater than the sum of its parts must have an inverse metaphor, wouldn't you think? It there is one, it would apply to the 4th instalment of the Indiana Jones series. Somebody has got to get George Lucas to retire! He just can't write a script that involves anything beyond marginally connecting set pieces together with a threadbare plot. Spielberg and Ford manage a little better but this a film that just didn't need to be made. It even manages to lower the tone of the originals.
There's no denying the first film's place as one of the greatest adventures in cinematic history and the first two sequels, while not great, still managed to keep us engaged. Not so with this latest entry. It wants to be everything to everyone but ends up being nothing much at all. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is certainly big and loud, but in the race to harvest the earlier film's charm and swagger they fumble all the basics. Firstly there's entirely too much story, none of which is very compelling. Secondly, they give Indy yet another sidekick, this time it's Shia LaBeouf (aping Marlon Brando circa The Wild One). Thirdly, the Red Menace villain played by a moose and squirrel accented Cate Blanchett borders on Jar-Jar-Binks bad ….and the list goes on.
There are a few interesting bits scattered throughout, including a totally weird sequence in a nuclear-test-mock-town complete with plastic people, bungalows and mushroom clouds, but mostly it's just too much of everything. A bloated kitchen sink imitation rather than an homage to the originals. Harrison Ford comes out the least scarred by the whole affair and manages - at 65 years old no less – to bring a cinematic character revered by many back to life. Kudos to him for that. It's just too bad they couldn't pull together a half-decent story to let him sink his teeth into.
While it's hardly the worst film of the year (that would be Street Kings), it sure left me jonesing for the first one.