I announce to you a great joy ...
I've seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Whatchmacallit, and it is good.
Not great, mind you. There will really never, ever be another Raiders of the Lost Ark, in for no other reason that it was the first and, at the time, unique. But in terms of what it's supposed to be - a ripping summertime yarn with great stunts, a few laughs and some genuine corny moments - it gets the job done. And, at just over two hours, quite efficiently as well.
Obviously I won't give away the precious details of the film lest some of you actually want to see it for yourselves (duh). But suffice it to say that:
• Harrison Ford - grayer and gruffer - acquits him well as the older Indiana.
• Karen Allen is as pretty and feisty as ever as the returning Marion Ravenwood, aka Indy's True Love.
• Cate Blanchett's accent is a little too Boris-and-Natasha for its own good, but at least she seems to be having a fine time chewing the scenery without the burden of shooting for an Oscar hanging over her head.
• On the other hand, Shia LaBeouf's greaser hair should be up for an Oscar nod come February. (As for the big question, is he or isn't he … sorry, not telling.)
• While there are slow patches, they never are to the point of pure boredom. And the set action pieces are well above-average.
In short, despite some of the buzz emanating from Cannes, among other places, this one doesn't suck. But please, Steve and George, let's let things lie here. In some ways, they got lucky that three of their four Indy movies worked, let alone that one of them was a classic. But I don't want to see Dr. Jones helping the Beatles find Ringo's missing ring.
One more thing: As my friend and I left the theater, she commented on how kids who weren't around when Raiders was released in 1981 may ask their parents why Crystal Skull cribbed so much from National Treasure, the adventure film that Nicolas Cage made before designing to follow in the footsteps of Harvey Keitel's penis. Hopefully their folks will tell them what really came first.