Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Rated 4.0

Let’s get right to it—Crystal Skull is no Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise is still a worthy one—an action-gorged romp that captures the tongue-in-cheek fun of its predecessors … with only a few flaws. The year is 1957. Rock ’n’ roll is new. Dr. Henry Jones Jr. (a very svelte and tanned Harrison Ford) is older. Grayer. A little gruffer. The Nazis have given way to Commies, as the Red Scare has engulfed America. Aside from that, everything is pretty much the same in the world of Indiana Jones. But even an old formula loaded with empty calories in the hands of Steven Spielberg is better than anything that might be considered fresh today. Take the opening sequence—a hot rod race between a group of teens and a cluster of U.S. military. The scene is wonderfully shot, and leaves the viewer wondering if things are going to end badly or not. It’s goose-bump inducing, and signature Spielberg. Crystal Skull is fun, and sometimes ridiculous. But because the entire franchise has always been a nod to the cliffhanger serials from the ’30s and ’40s, Spielberg and Lucas have been able to get away with the absurd, with the enduring Ford holding it all together.