Movies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
There are two kinds of people who will watch "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this summer - those who are avid followers of the adventures of Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., and those who are merely dilettantes:
This latest installment of the venerable series is set in 1957. Indy is seeking a crystal skull connected somehow to the famous 1947 Roswell incident, and so are Communist spies. Along for the ride are Shia LeBeouf (playing the same character he always plays) and Karen Allen (who readily reprises her role from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" - she wears a barely-contained grin throughout the movie).
As a huge fan of the original trilogy, I have to say that Indy IV follows closely in its predecessors' footsteps...perhaps a bit too closely. You have your standard supernatural MacGuffin, a dastardly villain with a ridiculous accent (Irina Spalko, played by Cate Blanchett in full Boris-and-Natasha mode), exotic locales, chase scenes, and even the obligatory creepy-crawlies-are-all-over-me scene. The ride is still exciting and funny, but the sense of wonder is a bit absent when you can spot the seams in the story (and even John Williams' leitmotifs).
Still, Indy IV remains a glossy Spielberg picture with an enormous budget - the production values are sumptuous. The CGI in the visual effects is noticeable, it's also very well done. Harrison Ford does a decent job as an aging Indy, and at the end of the day you have a film that, while maybe only as good as "Temple of Doom," at least feels like Indiana Jones.