Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull  MAY 21 2008  rating: 4.5 stars

If you need a reminder of Harrison Ford's ability to play Indiana Jones after nearly 20 years on the shelf, it comes in the movie's opening scene. Indy is roughly extracted from a car and tumbles to the ground. We see him stumble towards his trademark hat with that walk, a graceful stuttering step, wary of booby traps even on solid ground. Even though the camera shows us only his boots, it's unmistakably Indiana Jones.

That walk is also a signal that Lucas and Spielberg didn't screw this whole thing up...aside from the goofy film title (although having seen the movie, anything else would have ruined the surprise). They didn't take the bait offered by Casino Royale or The Bourne Ultimatum and attempt to shoehorn Dr. Jones into a frenetic, circa-2008 thrill-ride. Oh, there were thrills alright and plenty of swashes were buckled, but this was an action/adventure movie straight out of the 80s. Safe territory for Lucas and Spielberg perhaps, but for someone who believes that the best 80s action adventure movies have something to teach contemporary filmmakers (#1 of a long list: Don't make the special effects the star), the film was a thoroughly enjoyable territory in which to spend an evening. (thx to nextnewnetworks for the ticket hookup)

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