Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indy Movie.

Yesterday, it was a Bank Holiday Monday, and it was pissing down with rain (as is usual for Bank Holiday Mondays) so my girlfriend and I decided to go and watch the new Indiana Jones movie.
Now, even though most of the people who want to see it have done so, I'll try and keep spoilers to a minimum, but in my opinion, it's not as good as the previous three, but it's a worthy addition to the canon, and it's good to have Dr. Henry Jones Jr. back.
The most notable change (to me, anyway) is the addition of CGI FX, which, for me, made the action sequences less exciting than before. In the previous instalments, every time someone was dragged under a lorry or hung off a tank or something, you were aware that a stuntman actually did do those things, and this adds to the excitement. This time, you're not so sure someone did do it. That's not to say it isn't entertaining, just less so. This is also evident in the 'icky animals' scene, in the previous instalments we had snakes, bugs and rats, which were mostly done for real, but in this one there are some very CGI fire ants, and while the scenes are cool, just not as cool as before.
Also, there's certain scenes featuring monkeys and fridges which stretch credulity just a little bit, but this is an Indiana Jones movie, for heaven's sake!
The cast are mostly excellent. Harrison Ford looks like he's actually enjoying being in a movie for the first time in a long time, Cate Blanchett is cartoonishly evil, and Shia LaBeouf is as good as he's been in everything else I've seen him in.
The English members of the cast fare less well. Ray Winstone and Jim Broadbent are good, but just seem to be there to spout exposition. John Hurt just gibbers like a lunatic, mostly, but, to be fair, he is actually playing a loon, so fair do's.
The climax has come under criticism in a lot of the online reviews I've read for being too unrealistic. So, in the previous instalments we've had an ark full of face-melting ghosts, holy stones that spontaneously combust, and a cup that made someone age rapidly and heal bullet wounds. Hardly gritty realism. The climax isn't faith-based, like the last three, it's more SF, but, in my opinion, this fits the fifties era it's set in. The original trilogy were homages to the old Republic serials of the Thirties, whereas this one is more of an homage to the 'Reds-under-the bed' SF movies of the Fifties.
What sets this movie apart from all the other rehashes we've had lately (Die Hard, Rambo, the Star Wars prequels) is that this feels like it belongs to the franchise that came before it.
So, in summary then, I liked it. It's a big, dumb, enjoyable action movie, pure Spielberg, and I liked it.

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