Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Can we pretend the Indy films were just a trilogy? Because from the opening moment when the prairie dog pops his head out of the ground to the sequences with young sidekick Shia LaBeouf swinging from trees with monkeys, I found Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (D+) stomped on many elements this franchise held sacred. Harrison Ford gives a truly haggard performance opposite Cate Blanchett as a Russian villain, also phoning it in. There is also a survivable nuclear blast and a UFO visit. And surprisingly, there’s not one interestingly staged action sequence. There are cameos from past movies, and then those characters are given nothing interesting to do. This is the only film in the series in which the quest isn’t well articulated, in which the characters are lazy and cynical and in which there’s little joy or continuity from scene to scene. A 19-year hiatus between films should have yielded better than this. It’s an epic misfire.