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"We are now at the age when life stops
giving, and starts taking things away."

— Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Yesterday was the big day, the opening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull.

As I mentioned on an earlier post, I had bought my ticket on the internet
way in advance to see Crystal Skull. My ticket was for the 4:05 showing at
the AMC theaters downtown. So about 3:00 I took off. The weather was cool
and looked as if it might rain. I decided to have a real, Indiana Jones
type adventure and walk the 15 blocks or so downtown. I hadn't walked to
or from town in years, since the days before my pacemaker. I guess I just
wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. At least on that particular
afternoon, on that particular day.

I didn't know what to expect at the movie theater. I had my ticket pre-
paid, so I was guaranteed a seat. But on Opening Day of a major Hollywood
blockbuster there was always the chance of running into a line of 3000
people in front of the windows. Not to mention the problem of getting a
good seat. As it turned out I was the only person at the ticket windows
on my arrival. And even by the time the movie started there were only
about 35 people in the theater. I had originally considered going to the
very first showing, the 10:00 a.m. one, and I found myself thinking that
if I had I might well have been the only person in the theater. Which
would have been rather cool — in a weird, Howard Hughes kind of way.

There are already plenty of reviews on the internet that you can read.
All I will do here is add a few comments that you might not find elsewhere.
Or, better yet, just go see it. God knows that there are a lot of crappy
movies out there. But I thought that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was fun
and actually worth the price of a ticket. And trust me, unless you have
a big-ass plasma TV this is one you don't want to watch on a little set
on DVD.

As I said, I liked the movie. I thought that there could have been more
care taken with the little details — a few more lines of witty banter
here and there, maybe a tighter reaction shot on this or that actor as
something happens. The earlier Temple of Doom was great with regard
to that. This one, not so much. But overall it is a typical Spielberg/Lucas
project, good Hollywood action-adventure fare. The plot is a little far-
fetched and stupid, but then so are all the Indiana Jones movies. Let's
just say that I doubt that Dr. Jones has gotten published much in the
American Journal of Archaeology.

There is one sequence where Indy goes back to the town where he teaches
college. (It's called New London, by the way. You can catch the name on
the school bus that Indy and Mutt pass by.) He meets up with Mutt (Shia
LaBeouf) and the two go into a tavern to talk. Standing at the bar behind
their table is a bobby-soxer type blonde with her back turned to the
camera. It's hard to miss her as she is dead-center in the frame during
Mutt and Indy's entire conversation. She has her hair back in a pony
tail and is wearing this really tight-fitting wool skirt. And I have to
say, she has an outstanding ass. Like I said it's hard not to notice. I
was so caught up in looking at her ass that I missed all the dialog in
that section. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I imagine that this
blonde extra will be known for the rest of her life as "the blonde with
the really great ass in that Indiana Jones movie." You also get a couple
good shots during the movie of Cate Blanchett's ass, as well as one
very good one of Karen Allen's butt as she dives into a jeep. All in
all, I would say this movie might generate an entire new sub-genre —
the "Skull & Ass" type movie.

Spielberg had some fun playing with movie genres in this one. He throws
in echoes of science-fiction movies. And there is one scene where
Indiana ends up in a "model" town set to be destroyed by nuclear
testing. The town has very realistic human-looking dummies in the homes
and on the streets, and to be honest I found it a bit creepy watching
Ford walk around all of them — like something from an episode of The
Twilight Zone. There is also a sequence later where Spielberg has some
fun with Tarzan movies. I didn't like the scene as I was watching it,
but looking back on it I find it humorous. And the scene where all
the monkeys jump into the convoy vehicles is hilarious. That was one of
those details that I thought that Spielberg should have played up a
little more — the moment passes by too quickly. And in fact I really
think this movie could have benefitted from being a half hour or so
longer (it comes in at just two hours). More detail, add a bit more
stuff — bingo, Speilberg would have nailed it, a movie equal to the
first two.

But as critic Roger Ebert said in his review, the Indiana Jones movies
are unique, and the only movies you can really compare them to are
each other. I think he's right on that. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
may not be the best Indiana Jones movie, but it's an Indiana Jones
movie, the first one in 19 years and, in all likelihood, the last of the
canon. It's good to see Indiana again. And perhaps for the last time as
well.

"We are now at the age when life stops giving, and starts taking things
away" someone tells Indy at the beginning of the movie. It is wonderful
that this entire movie sets to prove that overly-pessimistic. In the
course of it Indy gets to have some great new adventures, once again
creeping through cemeteries and figuring out ancient texts and taking
on the bad guys. And by the end, he ends up with the family he has never
had before. Age doesn't mean much, really. Life can always be full of
surprises, and great new things may very well be found when we least
expect it. There is always that secret passageway for us to find. We
simply have to go look for it.

And by the way, it only took me 15 minutes to walk to town. A minor
miracle — and truly "one for the ages!"

SOME THINGS WE CAN EXPECT DUE TO
THE NEW INDIANA JONES MOVIE

  • Harrison Ford will now get an automatic upgrade from "Old Guy" to
    "Really Cool Old Guy."
  • Karen Allen will once again enter into the sexual fantasies of men
    who haven't fantasized about her in at least 15 years.
  • Crystal skull masks will be all the rage this Halloween.
  • When people see the name "Shia LaBeouf" they will now know that Shia
    is a guy, not a girl.
  • Uma Thurman will reprise her role in Kill Bill and Kill Bill II in the
    upcoming Kill Cate Blanchett. Either that or Blanchett will be exiled
    to Antarctica. I haven't quite decided yet.
  • Thousands of youngsters will now be using the hip new phrase, "Just grab
    the snake!" (Sorry, you'll have to see the movie to get that one.)
  • Ray Winstone will continue to be as under-appreciated of an actor as he
    was before the movie — but not quite.
  • Steven Spielberg will now have tons more money to pay other directors to
    make most of his movies.
  • Archaeology will now be known as the serious science that it is — the
    science of digging weird things out of the ground that cause all hell to
    break loose.

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