Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Apparently, George Lucas wanted this movie to be called Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars, but Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford deemed such a plot line to be too stupid. That’s unfortunate, because the biggest thing that’s missing from this absolutely unnecessary series resurrection is the sense of playfulness that made the first--and some of the second--Indiana Jones movie enjoyable. Far be it for any critic in 2008 to complain that Lucas had too little to do with a screenplay’s composition, but Crystal Skull needed much more of his reckless immaturity and a whole lot less of Ford grappling (endlessly) with his old age. Yes, the old guy does his own stunts. Yes, the old guy cracks the whip a few times. Yes, the old guy still looks good in a fedora. So what? Could the old guy have been bothered to try and breathe a little personality into his character instead of depending on the audience’s collective nostalgia to do it for him? Had Crystal Skull indulged more in the red scare sci-fi it promises in its first act and less of the fake-out archaeology it mechanically delivers in the rest, it could have been a worthwhile addition to the series. As it is, Shia LaBeouf is only marginally less grating than the “Dr. Jones” kid loops on YouTube, Karen Allen is catatonic to the point of nonexistence, and Ford is, well, old.