Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Blu-ray Review

What is there to say about one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of modern cinema? In the case of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, sadly, not a lot of people had much positive to say. This eagerly awaited follow-up in the Indiana Jones saga was considered a hot property for Paramount for years because of the phenomenal success of the first three films in the series and because everyone essential to the film (Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas) voiced their interest long ago. It was essentially a given that it would happen. For years fans heard the next Indiana Jones movie was coming together. But time kept passing them by, waiting for the right script, waiting for everyone to have free schedules, waiting for something worthy of their time. The answer came in a story penned by Jones’s creator George Lucas, the script filled out by David Koepp (the screenwriter of JURASSIC PARK and SPIDER-MAN fame).

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, starring Shia LeBeouf and Harrison Ford

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL opens in the late 1950s, with a team of soviets breaching an army storage facility, dragging along a much older Indiana Jones than we last visited in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. At the height of the cold war, Stalin has sent Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) to seek out an alternative alien power source. When Jones is put on indefinite leave from his teaching position due to his involvement, he is recruited by young greaser Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf of the TRANSFORMERS franchise). Williams’ mother has been kidnapped by the same Russians, along with a colleague and friend of Jones, which leads the two on a trip to discover the secrets of a mythical crystal skull.

Shia LeBeouf, Harrison Ford, and Ray Winstone

Jones and Williams spend some time developing their relationship and we quickly see the father/son dynamic developing. It’s not much of a surprise when we discover Williams’ mother is Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen reprising her role from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK), and even less so when she lets loose the news Williams is actually Indy’s son. This kicks off a play on the father/son dynamic of Ford and Connery from INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, but LeBeouf is no Connery and Ford, while still good in the role, has definitely lost a step since the last movie. It doesn’t hurt the overall appeal of seeing Jones on another adventure, and anyone who loves RAIDERS will certainly have nostalgic feelings about seeing Allen and Ford reviving the only truly compelling relationship of Jones’ life (both for him and for us, the audience).

Shia LeBeouf as greaser Mutt Williams

I didn’t realize how long it had been since Jones had been in the theaters. 19 years after INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE we finally get to join up with him for another adventure. And honestly, I really enjoyed it when I watched it in the theaters, even with its issues. But now it has been released as part of the movie set, and watching it with the rest of the movies doesn’t do it any favors. If you heard anything about it prior to this review you already know the movie was generally considered a disappointment. Some of this feeling is owed to our incredibly high expectations. But even more is attributable to the family-friendly cutesy approach of both Spielberg and Lucas in recent years. Specifically, a few scenes featuring a prairie dog are completely unnecessary (and I won’t forgive them). But, I also think this movie took some flack it didn’t deserve. Taking the alien storyline (instead of the cool and arguably more appealing religious mythology of the better Indy films) is part of the problem, but the delivery is fairly solid and grounded in some moderately believable history. To put it simply, this is not the best film of the series, but I also don’t think it’s the worst. A solid point above INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM in my opinion.


Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is as beautiful a picture as you would expect after watching the rest of the Blu-rays in the set. The picture is crystal clear and pulls you in, even if you’re not fully invested in the story.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is equally well presented in INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Immersive and detailed, you get the sense you are along with Jones on his adventures.

The Blu-ray of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL features three trailers, titled simply (and strangely) Theatrical Trailer 2 (01:54), Theatrical Trailer 3 (01:57) and Theatrical Trailer 4 (01:42).

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