Ouch. We waited 19 years for that? FOR THAT!

Indiana Jones... I always knew you would come walking back through my door. But then again I don't feel like he ever left - it was Harrison Ford that I had missed. My copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark (one of my favourite films of all time), Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade (one of my most watched films of all time) I get round to viewing at least once a year - never getting old, always being the same entertaining films I always thought they were and with Indy, the bumbling hero - the guy who made archaeology cool and was the definition of the ultimate mortal hero. He hurts, he bleeds, he shows emotion but always comes back for more. Because history demands it! Indy has been with me all my life but it's Harrison Ford that disappeared. He was my childhood hero, the man who I would look out for in movies to give me guidance on how and often how not to live my life. Then something happened... just after Air Force One he disappeared, hardly to be seen again. He became miserable, age and life had finally caught up to him. He would only take on roles where he could phone performances in, he looked exhausted. Hollywood Homicide, What Lines Beneath, Firewall and K:19 The Widowmaker. That is Ford's contribution to this decade up until Indy IV... did you even go and see those movies and if you did do you remember them at all? All I can remember is Harrison looking really tired and uninterested. Over those years we kept hearing about a possible Indy IV and it looked to many cynics, including myself that it would be one of those projects that would never, ever get made... and in an era of returning disappointments I was quite happy, in fact no, I was delighted to live with that. Steven Spielberg's career had gone on to other things, George Lucas had surely made enough money now with the Star Wars prequels and Ford was too miserable and too damn old to come back. But then here it is. May 22nd 2008 and he's back... just like Rocky Balboa, Rambo and John McClane before him. We may not particularly have wanted or desired to see him back and we may very well have been quite happy with the character riding off into the sunset in the last movie as being his finale but hey, now he's back we got excited didn't we? It's the summer event fever, you just can't help but get caught up in it all can you? So the man in the hat is back alright and he looks great doesn't he? His face hasn't changed much since 1989 and for a guy of 65 - all our worries over whether he looked like he could carry the film were not necessary. It takes him a while to settle in though and possibly for us to adjust to seeing our hero again. The first twenty minutes of the horribly titled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are some of the clunkiest that director Steven Spielberg has ever directed. He sets up a change in time right from the beginning with 50's music, cars and attire but it all turns into an exercise in homaging himself and his movie Duel. It's slow, it's too calming and has no energy - and I fucking hate it when I'm watching movies and I instantly think of how much better I would have done it, especially from the first scene. And what was with the sky? Why did it always look fake? Why did it always look like a sound stage? Was this George's doing Mr. Spielberg? Is his influence on controlling ALL aspects of the movie whether digitally or not, the reason? We find out pretty early on that the Russians are this movie's version of the Nazi's and now that the second World War is over, we are in the age of Stalin and communism. Cate Blanchett, as we already know is the villain. She's given the obligatory foreign accent and is a majorly weak villain. She's not quite as cartoonish as the trailer makes her out to me but neither is she interesting. We get no real understanding of a greater motivation like we did with Belloq in Raiders, just nothing more than... she's the bad girl, now live with it. Some have called it a "pay cheque role", I would say it was more out of being a fan of the series herself and not being able to turn down the series she grew up with. Regardless, it's one of her worst roles of her otherwise near immaculate career. And then Harrison... he's back. Shadowed, only one guy could possibly give that reflection but whilst he looks the same as he always did, he doesn't sound it. His voice is older, more gravelled, more like the miserable Harrison Ford we have come to know and despise in interviews for the last five years. The opening of the movie just doesn't feel right at all... Indy captured already, Indy a bit of a prick? Where's the rolling ball? Where's the long chase... why begin with something as slow as this? What's that - prior missions between Ray Winstone's under-written sidekick buffoon and Indy? What movies was that... Indiana Jones and the Script in Berlin That Never Got Made? I didn't feel anything else but white script space when those lines were read and as I've said from day one if that role had been taken by John Rhys-Davies, it would have made a whole lot more sense. Imagine the double crossing then when it's actually from a character we have had time to come to know and understand and care about. Instead Winstone is good, then he's bad, then he's good and no-one cares. He's like that little kid at parties who is looking for attention by saying something shocking but he just isn't getting it. It takes a while before you really get back on Harrison's side. I think it's that scene where Indy is alone at home and he's looking at his past... memories of Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and his father Henry Jones Snr. (Sean Connery), characters who are no longer with us that you really begin to see the Indy of old. It was a sincerely moving moment - the chemistry between those three guys was electric in The Last Crusade and you feel a great void for them at that point. From then off, Harrison is back. He is smiling more, he stops playing the bitter old Indiana Jones and is fun again. He wisecracks, begins to enjoy a sense of adventure and say the fuck you want but he and Shia LaBeouf have a great thing going in this movie. Once Shia comes into town, you get a sense that Indy has a purpose now. But where he may have a purpose in his own relationship, structurally he has nothing to do at all in the uncovering adventure of the plot. He has simply being reduced to an observant figure, sure he figures out things and teaches us stuff but we don't get any excitement over new discoveries... it just plods along. None of the great puzzle sequences with bits falling apart feel interesting and now I know this film has been the blending together of many, many Hollywood scripts but screenwriter David Koepp has his name on it, so it is he who will get the blame. And how fucking boring is this last act? We all knew who was going to get it, how they were going to get it and what the conclusion was going to be... didn't we? And the characters look so lost, I'm thinking "they must fucking know what is coming too" because they just watched, waiting for things to happen. I never got that with The Last Crusade. After nearly twenty years of this franchise being on the shelf, I expected an awful lot more from this film, I really did. Was this movie the product of a burning artistic desire to bring this character back to our screens because I didn't see it. There€™s no magic here, no reason for a return, no hint of originality, effort and it€™s an embarrassment on the careers of all involved. This movie is undeserving of the fortune it will make George Lucas and co. I could go on and on about the problems here till I'm blue in the face. Marion's return (Karen Allen) was pointless and badly handled. Yeah great she can smile but where's that tough character from the original movie, one of the best written love interest roles in an adventure movie of all time? Fucking Spielberg and his aliens... God how much do I fucking hate the last 15 minutes of this film... swinging Shia LaBeouf and CGI monkey armies (Lucas... was that you?), the horrible very last scene... Indiana Jones becoming a whimp... the nuclear sequence was appalling... John Hurt! You gave JOHN HURT that role?.... you gave the likeable and funny JIM BROADBENT that boring ass role? How slow was the film... the amount of sub-plots that went nowhere... nearly everything expect Harrison and Shia's performances! Man it was awful. In many ways it's worse than the Star Wars prequels, this is just a mess. It will not hold up to repeat viewings all you guys who say you didn't mind it now. It will be Superman Returns, you will all come round eventually. You will see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull€ but Jesus, if that€™s not 2 hours of my life I would kill to have back. I would have had a more productive time sleeping at 12am. That€™s it€ fuck age old sequels, fuck remakes, fuck Hollywood. INDIANA JONES IV is proof that you should never go back.

rating: 1.5


Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.