Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull: Time Team It Ain't

I went with my better half to the Godplex on Glasgow’s Renfrew Street (AKA Cineworld), a magniloquent building sitting on the location of Scotland’s former Rawk`n`Roll mecca, the Apollo. I had already glimpsed trailers and a few fragments of advance PR for Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, really as little as poss as I much prefer to see a movie with the minimum of corporate-adverto-propagandoid pump priming. But the media being what it is, the stills and brief trailers that had crossed my field of vision had not really grabbed me, so I was going along with expectations deliberately lowered, aided no doubt by some head-shaking reviews which I also come across in the course of web meanderings. All that I asked was that it be better than Temple of Doom which was really lacklustre, for me.

Anyway, the movie started with a bang and then proceeded to gather speed. Now, I have read the reaction to the movie by me old mucker, Gary Gibson, in which he says – “I watched my youthful memories of Raiders of the Lost Ark being thoroughly vandalised….In the first forty minutes or so, Indiana survives a nuclear explosion by hiding in a fridge, and his son performs a series of Tarzan-like stunts swinging vine-to-vine in the jungle with sufficient Spiderman-like dexterity he catches up with a truck in an action sequence designed to make Scooby Doo cartoons look like bleak exercises in Dogma-style realism.” After which, he decides to stop holding back and really tells us what he thinks! ;-)

Years ago I went along with several other Glasgow Writer Circleites to see the 1st Matrix movie, and I recall with gleaming clarity Gary`s immediate capsule review on exiting the theatre, which was `What a pile of sh*te!’ Now, we thought that the ol` GG had gone off the deep end, and generally opined that the Matrix 1 was a cracking film. However, as we all know, the 3rd Matrix movie was a gargantuan narrative copout, evincing the hollow lack of creative courage that lay at the heart of the Wachowski Bros basic intent, so perhaps Gary had been right all along.

Which brings me back to Indy 4 and the Crystal Skull Rollercoaster. Undoubtedly, a masterpiece of narrative drive that doesn`t let up, just a whole string of one damn thing after another; I can`t go along with other reviewers claiming that the plot was so convoluted that they didn’t unnerstan` it, duuuuh. Now, there`s no doubt either that Indy 4 scaled the heights (or went the other way) in the pursuit of improbable japes and capers piled one atop another in a teetering house of wild froth kept aloft almost solely by the headlong manic velocity of the plot (and there was a strange feeling that Spielberg and Lucas had created a weird kind of simulacrum of an Indy movie)…but I have to say, despite the crazed vine-versus-truck race thru the jungle, and the car-bonnet-swordfight, etc etc etc, I really enjoyed it. Stevo and Georgio didn`t relentlessly plunder the previous 3 movies for setpieces, iconic setups and payoffs, as happens all too often in sequels (although when Indy says `I got bad feeling about this` I did utter a small groan, a groanette, if you will). So in the end, I liked it a lot. It was a frenetic rollercoaster ride, it was bubblegum, sure, but it was good bubblegum, and I came out of God’s cinemaplex with a hankering to see it again. So sue me.

Wonder what Gary`ll say to that.

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