Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Hold on to your hats (and your whips and guns), Indiana Jones is back. The Jones saga has survived the near two decade hiatus, returning free of dismal comic relief, extraneous characters, and cutesy references that stop the story in its tracks. In other words, fans of the Indiana Jones films need not worry; George Lucas hasn’t pissed all over another one of your cherished series. Despite early reports, Shia LaBeouf’s character of Mutt Williams is not the second coming of Jar Jar Binks.

Recalling the mirth and mystery of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is rife with fistfights, high adventure, and (gasp) plenty of scenes of Indiana Jones exploring ancient ruins. If Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade were lacking any one thing, it was Jones doing what he did best; fighting through layers of cobwebs in search of items lost to antiquity. Also, you can forget the bizarre “This belongs in a museum!” mantra (a sour note from The Last Crusade), this Indiana Jones loves unwrapping riddles and the thrill of discovery.

Elements of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull plot have been bouncing around for years, going back to a script by Jeb Stuart in 1995. The title of the script, “Saucer Men from Mars” even makes an appearance in the ‘new’ David Koepp script. Likewise, Crystal Skulls have plagued the good doctor in four of the Indiana Jones adventure books penned by Max McCoy.

Apparently the nearly two decades since Indiana Jones rode off into the sunset in The Last Crusade have allowed story ideas to percolate and congeal in a fine, cohesive film.

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