Tag Archives: Summer Movies

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Ok, I’ll admit I’ve always been pretty ambivalent towards the Indiana Jones trilogy. I liked Raiders well enough, but loathed Temple of Doom – it’s completely un-watchable, while Last Crusade was meh. So when they announced that they were finally going to do Indy 4 I could not have cared less. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull returns the series to it’s Raiders glory. This is the film that should have followed the Raiders, it’s pretty much a direct sequel with many nods to the first film and in the final moments brings everything full circle. When this film works, it works really well, but there’s still that strange sense of deja-vu. It feels like you are watching the original again, only 20 years later with slightly different characters and plot.  Maybe it’s because I watched Raiders the night before the screening so it was still fresh in my mind. But everything felt familiar instead of Nazi’s you had Russians, instead of Belloq we had Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), instead of the Ark we had this goofy looking Crystal Skull which looked exactly like the head from one of the Alien films. I can see the crossover fan fiction already.  This familiarity isn’t a bad thing – especially considering how completely out of sync Temple of Doom feels like when I watch it. It put a smile on my face the first time Indy (Harrison Ford)  is re-introduced to the world in shadow with his hat and the first time you hear the classic John Williams theme again. It’s like I’m a kid again. I don’t care what anyone says John Williams is the greatest film composer of our times. You don’t have a soul if the Raiders theme doesn’t get your blood pumping. No many how many times it’s replayed it during the movie.  The opening 30 minutes of Raiders is simply, brilliant is too strong a word, exhilarating is better.  But then something happens that starts to derail things and it pains me to say it, because we love him here at EM and I’ve met him a couple of times, Shia LaBeouf  brings everything to a screeching halt.  Everything about his character is just horrible: from the stupid name – (Mutt Williams) to the greaser, bad boy attitude, to the playing with his pocket knife and his habit of combing his hair when he’s nervous.  None of it works, it just doesn’t ring true. Shia isn’t the bad boy, James Dean type. He’s the normal kid who gets into trouble because he’s a smart ass. 

indy4

Awhile ago, when I was yelling at people that Atonement wasn’t a “complex” plot (just stupid) and that there’s no such thing as “complex” plots just poorly scripted films, I may have to eat my words. I find myself on the fence as to whether this movie is overly complex or stupid.  There’s a fine line between the two and I think David Koepp (screenplay), George Lucas (story) and Jeff Nathanson‘s script walks that fine line. This movie takes place right in the middle of the Cold War scare and in the opening there are several references to the witch hunt and how this isn’t “our America,” anymore. But then the next few scenes you have Russian agents speaking in heavy Russian accents in the middle of an Ice-Cream parlor and chasing Indy all over town. Not to mention they break into a top secret military base. The FBI would be completely incompetent if they didn’t investigate all the obvious Russian activity. The writers want to make a political statement, but this obviously isn’t the film for it. Even if it is set during that paranoid period in our history. They would have been better off just ignoring the subtext then trying to shoehorn one in. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you. And politicians and government agencies are always out to capitalize on it, just look at our current situation.

All of the major action set pieces also feel like stuff that we’ve seen in the other three films only longer. There’s one chase sequence that’s fun for the first 5 minutes but 10 or 15 minutes in, I was like – I get the point, let’s move on already. This is a b to the w action film with little character development or progression. No one in this film has grown since Raiders.  Which actually is a good thing, it’s what we’re comfortable with as an audience and really, why mess with a formula that works.  But back to the plot, without giving anything away instead of chasing an ancient artifact, this time Indy gets caught up in a Russian Spy’s (Irina) quest for an object that promises untold knowledge and treasure. I won’t say more than that, but the film’s 3rd act feels like poorly constructed fan fiction. A great what if Indy discovered….It’s really nice special effects, but what happens in the end is almost exactly what happens at the end of Raiders. After the ride Steven Spielberg takes us on, I somehow expected something more, I don’t know, original. I can’t see Shia being able to carry an entire Indy film by himself, but it’s clear that’s where Spielberg and Lucas want to go.  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t a perfect film, but it’s far more satisfying as a whole than the sum of it’s parts.

homeschool research paper source link best admission essay writers sites for school capuchin monkey research paper sample dissertation dedications cymbalta and ambien aspirin plus c dosierung viagra la ronde de nuit modiano resume can viagra bought over counter ireland viagra death toll cialis wie lange vorher nehmen tapering solumedrol with prednisone existe algo como viagra para mujeres cecil beaton photographs analysis essay jak wyglada oryginalna viagra dosage kamagra dobry sklep sujet de dissertation humanisme et renaissance https://approachusa.org/reflective/2007-ap-lang-synthesis-essay-prompts/25/ cialis bathtub couple https://explorationproject.org/annotated/similarities-and-difference-essay/80/ job satisfaction dissertation uk https://mdp.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/?online=buy-popular-admission-essay-on-trump https://equalitymi.org/citrate/how-much-synthroid-does-it-take-to-overdose/29/ https://homemods.org/usc/what-is-the-thesis-of-a-research-essay/46/ sample comparison and contrast essay topics population problem essay in english consumer behaviour research cheap critical analysis essay ghostwriter service us narrative essay topics for middle school students essay guidelines for colleges go to link go Final Grade B

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 5.22.08

Movie Reviews: Go Speed Racer Go! Michelle Loves the Heck out of Speed Racer!

Speed Racer was always one of my five wholly grails of films. Weirdly, I’ve never been that into the cartoon, but always thought it would make an amazing film. I was prepared to totally hate Speed Racer, everything that I saw of the film before I saw it sucked Chim Chim’s monkey balls which were then thrown in my face. The trailers were bad, the clips were amazingly stiff. Casting awful. CGI was crap. Clearly the directors/writers Wachowski‘s have lost their damn minds. Warner Brothers raped my childhood and I LOVED every psychedelic, trippy, vertigo induced minute of it. This movie capped off a fantastic film week that included Iron-Man and Son of Rambow. I liked Iron-Man a lot, but this is the movie that just punched me in the happy bone.  I had a smile on my face for days after the screening. Why did this work so well? In a word, despite the weird LSD induced colors this film was about something. It had a heart and soul to it. And I wasn’t expecting that in a summer blockbuster.  This movie is about family and love – of racing and each other.  Each race while fast, frenetic and colorful told the larger story. It wasn’t about just getting to the finish line as fast as you can.

speedracer3

From the opening graphics to the end closing credits the Wachowski’s nailed everything that was good about Speed Racer and elevated it to the 10th level. In a film like this the makers forget what was it about the original source material that drew people to begin with. For example in Mission Impossible two and three, they complete remade and destroyed the original, classic well known theme song. It’s a minor thing, but that theme is part of MI’s character. Just like in Speed Racer the classic theme is vital to maintaining the integrity of the show/film. Before I walked into the theater I saw an ad for that god awful Speed Racer cartoon on Nicktoons where they completely bastardized the original song. I thought for sure it would be used in the movie as well. The Brother’s W, not only kept the original theme but gave it this majestic orchestral score that put a huge grin on my face. They kept all of the musical beats from the series. Even the one modern version of the song that roles at the end credits is incredibly cool.

And that’s why this film was so great, they did a lot of nods to the original classic moments – The Monster Car, yep it’s there (doesn’t look so monster), Chim Chim and Spritle pretending to be a goon? Yep, it’s there. Speaking of Spritle, I’ve always hated those two in the cartoon, but here. They pretty much steal the film. Young Paulie Litt is at time hysterically funny. The way Racer X (Matthew Fox) is handled is perfect. I was actually fooled by the twist that really wasn’t a twist towards the end.  Emile Hirsch brings a certain charm to Speed. Some of his line delivery is stilted and emotionless. But the writing is so strong and enough is going on that you don’t notice it as much.  Speed Racer may not be Oscar worthy “best film,” but it’s the most fun I’ve had at a movie in years.  Every frame is infused with love and care. It’s an extremely rare A+.

Final Grade A+

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 5.8.2008