In actuality I caught the new Indy about 5 days ago and am just now getting my thoughts down on the movie. I think part of the reason I waited so long is that I am about to give this film, of which I love the franchise so much, a bad review. I mean Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my top movies of all time, and the subsequent films, Temple of Doom and Last Crusade are both top notch. I found this film to be lacking.
Truthfully, its only lacking in one area, but its a big hole. Let's start with the bad. Its the story. I can buy Indy fighting Commies in the 50's, it ages the series to meet the actor, and I am fine with that. I am also fine using the alien theme as an homage to the old sci fi films that prevalted the 50's cinema. I was fine with Indy having a son, and with the character progression in the movie. It was the story itself that I found lacking. Several times through the course of the film you are watching action on the screen and wondering what the hell George Lucas (the main script writer) was thinking. A few that really killed me were Indy surviving a nuclear blast in a refrigerator (that flies through the sky post blast, rolling down a hill end over end violently) all without so much as a limp. Shia LeBeouf swinging through the jungle like Tarzan, and the prevalence of cutesy animals, monkeys, gophers, that seem to pop up for no real reason. Also I felt Indy gave into to the Communist demands a little easy a few times, I didn't see the sense of resistance that he had when up against the Thugees of Temple of Doom or the Nazis in the other films. It just took Indy into a world that I didn't feel was as viable as the one set in the earlier films.
Things I did like. Harrison Ford is great as Indiana Jones. A little older, a little slower, but still believable as the great action hero. Shia is solid as Jones son, and Karen Allen is a welcome addition, a little older as well, but just as equal to the task of standing up to Indiana Jones. Cate Blanchett is a solid villain, if a bit hammy, but I think her over the top performance lends some credibility to the belief that a pushing 65 Indiana Jones can still keep up with the younger set.
I would have liked to see more practical effects in the film, but I supposed that is a bit wishful thinking with the prominence of CGI effects being so much more cost effective, but that was one of the things I loved about the earlier films. The sense that it felt real, where Crystal Skull never quite gets that feeling.
Overall, I was disappointed with the latest outing. I hope the positive box office lends to a fifth installment of the venerable franchise, I would love to see them address some of the story errors and really send Indy out with a bang. All in all I would wait for a rental.
End of Line.