Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Osteoperosis

June 16, 2008

It’s been two weeks since I spent $11.75 US to see the latest installment of Indiana Jones, and I think I’m finally ready to talk about it. The fourth film in the series arrived nearly twenty years after “Last Crusade” and with it came a predictable load of hype. Going into the film I had few expectations, if any. All I asked was that the film deliver 90 minutes of mindless entertainment, a modest request.

As my friends and I shuffled into the theater for an evening show, it immediately became clear that we were in for a long night. The theater was crammed with eager Indy fans and our party of four was forced to splinter off separately. Fortunately, I scored one of those lone captain’s chairs in the middle section. My mood was temporarily lifted during the requisite twenty minutes of previews, which included great trailers for The Dark Knight (can’t wait) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which Bradd Pitt ages in reverse. Finally, the lights dimmed and it was time for our feature presentation.

I, like many of my fellow moviegoers I’m sure, was anxious to see what Indy would look like after all these years. Leave it up to Lucas and Spielberg to effectively deflate this anticipation by waiting 15 minutes before showing Harrison Ford’s face. In retrospect, this was probably a good idea. As the camera finally panned to reveal a 66 year-old Indiana, my worst fears were instantly recognized: dude is old. I’m not hating on Ford in anyway, he’s one of the great American movie stars, but it’s difficult to suspend disbelief when a supposed action hero is eligible for the elderly movie ticket discount. At one point, when Indy was leaping across wooden boxes, I feared that he wouldn’t make it. It was then that I realized I should have gone to see Ironman.

As for the film itself, I found myself constantly shifting in my seat and checking my watch. For one thing, Shia LeBeouf, added little character to his role as “Mutt Williams,” and Cate Blanchett’s accent as Soviet “Dr. Spalko” shifted amorphously between Russian and Scottish. I even found myself distracted by wondering how much Sean Connery was paid to have a photo of his character as Indiana’s father shown on screen. As the plot, or lack thereof, continued to evolve, the more discouraged I became. My frustration culminated at about minute 120 when a UFO emerged from beneath a temple in Peru. In all my years watching Indiana Jones I was under the assumption that he was a professor of history and archeology who daringly retrieved priceless artifacts of historical significance from the grips of evil. I never would have imagined aliens would play a role.

As I left the theater contemplating what I had just seen, I began to doubt my own imagination. Had I grown too jaded and cynical to enjoy a fun summer movie? I quickly suppressed these doubts…I love mindless entertainment and outlandish stories as much as the next guy. But when filmmakers insult the intelligence of the theater-going public as I felt Lucas and Spielberg did, I get a bit upset. If you have $11.75 to spare, go sign up for Netlifx and see this movie when it comes out on DVD if you really want to.

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