So after 19 years of waiting the man in the hat has finally returned, yes Indiana Jones has dusted of the fedora and got the whip back out, it’s time to hunt down another ancient object.  This film has been the dream of every Indy fan for years, always wondering whether it would ever happen, and after many years of rumour it was finally announced and everyone held their breath in anticipation.  All the team are back, with Steven Speilberg  back behind the camera, George Lucas on producer/writer duties, John Williams producing another great score and of course Harrison Ford  donning the hat, what else could every Indy fan want!

  The film opens in the Nevada desert of 1957 as a convoy of disguised Russians head for Hangar 51 looking for a crate with a large secret inside.  Unfortunately for Indy, he and best mate Mac (Ray Winstone) have been kidnapped and the stern Irina Splako (Cate Blanchett) wants them to find the crate which she believes they have worked on. Obviously it’s an Indy film and the action soon begins as he makes a great get away and uses a fridge in a new way!  Soon Dr Jones is back at his teaching job when Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) turns up asking for his help as his mother and a friend of Indy’s Professor Ox have been kidnapped. So begins the real Indy adventure as he heads off to South America to help save his friend and begin a search for the titled Crystal Skull. I don’t want to say anymore for fear of ruining the film’s story.

  So how does this hold up so long after the ‘The Last Crusade’?  Well not badly. One of the criticisms of the film when it was announced was that Harrison Ford was too old for the role, but they have set this film nearly 20 years after the previous film so this isn’t really an issue and it works well as Indy is now older and wiser and creates a good chemistry between him and the lot younger ‘Mutt’. Shia as he has shown in Transformers and Disturbia is fast becoming a star and as Mutt he is a great foil to Indy’s gruff more older statesman. As his war buddy, Ray Winstone is pretty good and does provide some funny moments though not as good a side kick as Sallah in Raiders. Cate Blanchett as always is very good with her chiselled features suiting the icy Irina Splako perfectly.  John Hurt as Ox is a bit wasted just playing the nutjob, sent mad by the skull. it’s not a spoiler to say that its great to have Karen Allen back as Marion Ravenwood, she’s on the poster. For me she was the best of Indy’s women in the trilogy and had the best chemistry and that continues in this one.  When she first comes on screen you do notice she has aged, but as soon as that wide smile comes across her face it’s like the days of old. Her inclusion in the film is a theme that seems to go through the film, with lots of nods to the older films, especially with john Williams score which as always is amazing.  In a day of big CGI effects it’s nice to see that Speilberg has decided to try and keep that old style from the original film, a lot of the stunts are physical ones, and there’s a lot of them, and some of the backgrounds will look pretty poor to todays kids but for the older audience it’s a bit of nostalgia.  The stunts though are where the film starts to slip. The truck chase in the rainforest is great and classic indy, but what one of the characters does during this is so OTT that it ruins the scene. There are a few occasions during the film where it becomes a bit unbelieveable, yes I know it’s an Indy film but even for Indy they are ridiculous scenes, i won’t say what but when you see them you will be open mouthed going WHAT THE HELL!!   Another weakness is the maguffin! This is what George Lucas calls the item the story is about, i.e The Ark Of The Convenant and Holy Grail. The Crystal Skull just doesn’t hold any interest, like the Ark did, and as the main plot point of the film, this is a problem.  Earlier story ideas had been things like the city of Atlantis, something that the audience have heard of and can beleive, whereas the Crystal Skull is nothing we care about really. You never really think that it’s gonna put Indy in any danger unlike the power of god in the Ark. The magic is missing in the Skull and this is my criticism of the film, there isn’t  a real sense of magic that the trilogy had. It’s not the casts fault they do a great job and I don’t think it’s Spielbergs fault, I think the problem lies in the story. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed this film, it has all the things you want from an Indiana Jones film, and ticks a lot of boxes but it does feel like something is missing. The biggest problem it will face is the level of expectation on it’s shoulder, there hasn’t been such a fever for a film since The Phantom Menace and like that didn’t reach everyones high hopes I think Indy will suffer the same. Some of the reviews for KOTCS have been scathing, and some have been just petty, calling it the worst film ever. That is such rubbish, yes it’s not a classic Indy film, but i’ts a great film that provide all the thrills and spills you want. I am gonna go and watch it again without the expectations and see if i enjoy it even more. Thats the problem, we have had so long to rewatch the original films over and over that we won’t appreciate this one till we have seen it a few times. Indy 5, don’t know better find a better maguffin!!     Rating 7/10

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