Friday, 23 May 2008

The obligatory Indiana Jones review

Archaeology, as those of you with brains will know, is a rather dull practice that involves digging around int he dirt looking for stuff left behind by previous generations in the hope it will prove to be of some value or at least interest today. For this reason it's often been said that Indiana Jones, with his whip and Nazis, is hardly a conventional archaeologist. The "new" Indy film does pay homage to the noble profession of Tony Robinson and the gang in another way, however, by digging up a load of useless old shit and rubbing it gleefully in our faces.

If you wanted a one word review of Indiana Jones, then you're going to be sorely fucking disappointed. I've written fifty already. But had I chosen to constrain myself with a singular word limit I would have chosen 'old'. Why? Because everything about this film feels sodding ancient. From the hackneyed cut-and-paste from 'Raiders' plot that replaces God with Aliens and the Nazis with the commies, to the uninspiring dialogue lifted from every straight to video 'action' move of the last twenty years, to the fact Harrison Ford looks genuinely geriatric, everything about it screams 'old hat. The feeling of decrepidness is almost intoxicating, which is a shame in what is supposed to be a fun action movie.

But was this really a bad film? Well, yes. I'm surprised you asked, actually, considering the quite unequivocal criticism I've given it so far. I'm starting wonder if you've really been paying proper attention. But it did have it's moments.

This film is great if you like your movies to be over the top. I mean really over the top. It couldn't have been more "over the top" if it was a re-enactment of the battle of the Somme with pogo sticks. And that's about the only thing it gets right. This is a film where the main character is kidnapped by Communists, finds an alien body in area fifty one and is fired on the front of a nuclear missile, all in the first ten minutes.

Sadly, as I've outlined above, the film's turgid style means it ultimately lacks believability, interest and even novelty value. It's so stuck in the past that there's even a fencing scene, and so predictable you see it coming forty minutes ahead of time.

On the other hand it's also just spectacular enough to have the sword fight happen on the back of two jeeps chasing each other through the amazon jungle - a plot element I honestly didn't see coming.

In all likelihood, if you've been looking forward to seeing this film, no number of bad reviews are likely to stop you. Which is a shame, as Hollywood will probably take this as a cue to finally fire the last vaguely creative person still working in the industry and continue churning out unoriginal, cookie cutter crap like this.

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