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AVAILABLE ON DVD 10/14/08 

The extras:

The 2-Disc DVD version of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is coming to DVD and I have to admit it was better the 2nd time around. This film lost very little on its transition to the little screen and what the DVD package offers more than makes up for it. There is plenty of extras in this one including an informative interview with Spielberg and Lucas as they discuss the decision to make this film and all the conversations leading up to it. It was very intriguing and a reminder of how much really goes into a film like this. The bonus material also include trailers, galleries, production diaries, and tons more. Plenty for the money spent.

Review:

Indiana Jones; the 80’s icon with the cool hat and blazing whip. I always cringe when studios try and recreate a phenomenon. Sometimes well enough alone is better left. Harrison Ford is going to be 66 here in a few months so do we really want to see him mixing it up with bad guys as he tries to save treasure and uncover buried secrets? Or worse yet, have some silly cameo where he pops in from time to time and the only resemblance to an Indiana Jones film is in the title. Well, don’t let the gray hair fool you. Ford is just as much Indiana Jones now as he was 20 years ago. He might be a little slower and a bit wiser but he knows how to deliver the goods. Too bad Lucas and Spielberg weren’t as up for the challenge.

This 4th installment jumps right into the action and you find yourself in the 1950’s where everyone has an eye out for communists and the latest Elvis record. We find Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) caught up with Russians, spies and a mystery surrounding ancient crystal skulls. When he is confronted by a young greaser (Shia LaBeouf) on a bike with a sob story about an old friend of Indies named Oxley (John Hurt), Jones has no choice but to stick it out. He has to solve riddles of old and decipher long forgotten text in order to save his friend and stay one step ahead of the Russians, but he is Indiana Jones so we would expect no less than action and peril around every corner. All with that no nonsense Indiana Jones style and wit. This movie was a blast from the opening scene.

The adventure and action that made the 80’s films remarkable where all brought back in over the top, unbelievable, could never happen, fashion. Whether Jones is jumping from speeding jeeps or running along roof tops while managing to elude 100’s of Russian artillery fire, he has a way of making it seem effortless. Even at his age. The supporting cast is perfect but that is no surprise. Cate Blanchett plays Irina Spalko, a Russian super chick who has her eye on the skull for evil, world dominating reasons. Cate’s character brings a classic 50’s henchman look and feel to the film. She is a humanized Natasha who has no need for a Boris to get the job done. She plays this role with the same passion she put into the queen of England. Add the always solid acting of LaBeouf as the young rebel trying to help save a friend and you have a cast that can make a picture happen. I dug the look too.

At times it had that old school green screen look about it. As if the characters where standing off away from the background. It gave it an early television serial adventure touch. But just as everything was firing on all cylinders and you think that Lucas and old Spielberg have done up the perfect film, tragedy strikes. I will not give any details about this calamity. I do not want to spoil the final portions for you. Some of you may like it. And if so then you deserve the right to see it as it is. For those like me who will walk out going, “what the crap was that”, you still need the right to see and respond on your own. That is the beauty of movie magic. I blame Spielberg for this error although Lucas was probably on the same wave length.

I have no idea what they were thinking but in my opinion it kept a fantastic film from being a colossal masterpiece of adventure Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is rated PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images. This is a perfect film for anyone 12 and up. It is filled with fun archeological mazes and tombs, hidden walls and pathways. All reminiscent of the Lost Ark days. There is quite a bit of gun play though I am trying to remember if anyone ever actually gets hit. The scary images are brief and not enough to keep your kid away from such an adventure as this. Though not as friendly as the National Treasure series, it is still tame enough for most. I wanted to give this film huge rating but I just can’t overlook the one failing element. No matter how hard I try. I give Indiana Jones 3.5 out of 5 “I like Ike” buttons. Go enjoy it and have some fun!

For more reviews check out the website – http://www.mungleshow.com

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