Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - DVD Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-16-08, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - DVD Review


YouTube - Indiana Jones IV SPECIAL EDITION Trailer - NEW High Quality

Actors: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone
Directors: Steven Spielberg
Writers: George Lucas, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas
Format: NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English, German, Russian
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region 1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG13
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
Run Time: 122 minutes



Indiana:
It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.


Well... I'm still debating.
Overall I have to admit I did enjoy the movie, but it wasn't the best in the franchise. When the movie started, Harrison Ford looked great... the silhouette of him picking the now famous Fedora up and putting it on, then the slow pan up to his face... If you squinted just right he looked just like the Indy I always remembered and love. However his dialog sounded a bit off and stiff at first. As the movie progressed though Ford seemed to start getting back into his old Indy groove.

The idea of a 65 year old Ford reprising his most famous role was questionable, but he actually didn't do that bad. If Stallone can get back in the ring at 60 then why not a rough and tumble elderly Indy?

The movie did have some problems though and it felt like they tried really hard to capture the lightning again but just couldn't. I won't give any spoilers so there won't be in depth details but you'll understand when you see the movie what I am talking about with certain things. There were 'Oh comeon, give me a break here, that's just crazy!' moments throughout the movie. Probably one of the biggest was the refrigerator scene. It was so outlandish it was compared to The Fonz jumping the shark in Happy Days... which the expression 'Jumping the Shark' has come to mean anything that has out lived its hayday and is becoming more and more silly and a parody of itself. Like I said, there is plenty of that in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Part of that can be overlooked because they openly admit they went for 'B' movie feel... the problem is though, this wasn't a 'B' movie and had all the pomp and royalty as well as financial backing of the blockbuster this was supposed to be.


Spielberg shot the movie on film, and thankfully Lucas agreed to that. Visually the movie is stunning and has the same look as the other Indiana Jones movies, but never quite gets the right Indy feel down. Even with us knowing this is an older Indy, something just felt like it was missing.





Karen Allen is back, and looks great, but she is showing her age. In the special features they were all gushing over Karen and saying how she looked exactly the same... she looks good for her age, but I wouldn't say she looks like she did in Raiders.

One of the problems with the script was some pretty major characters were very under developed. I understand Allen's Marion Ravenwood had her day in the sun in Raiders and her character was fleshed out in the first movie, but here she mainly gets to smile and be there as Indy's romantic interest. She's a good actress and they didn't let her shine in this installment like she did in Raiders.




Shia LaBeouf- What is up with this guy? He's being groomed to be the next Ben Affleck it seems. Everyone loves him, but he's really a pretty arrogant and cocky guy in real life. I first saw him on Project Greenlight in The Battle of Shaker Heights. Never heard of it? Don't worry most haven't. It wasn't a 'real' movie as much as Mirmax tried hyping the Project Greenlight movies as. It was a spin on reality TV and that's that. Shia was hired because quite frankly PGL had no budget... just about literally! It was a contest for amateur writers to get their movie made, but... and this is a huge but, the budget had to be no more than a million dollars.

It was presented as a 'behind the scenes' look at how a movie is made and how the industry works. Shia didn't seem to get it that he was hired because he was cheap. All I can say is in the behind the scenes stuff he was cocky and so full of himself it was sickening. Then he threw in cussing every other word to obviously compensate for his age. I never quite got over that image of him.

So with my lack of love for Shia proclaimed... He actually didn't do bad in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yeah there were some hammy parts, but he seems to have outgrown some of the smugness he was showing a few years ago.

William Hurt was completely wasted in this movie in my opinion. He could have been the Sean Connery class act of this installment but again, like Allen they just didn't give him much to work with.


That bring us around to the villain, or in this case the villianess... Cate Blanchett as Col. Dr. Irina Spalko. They decided to replace the Nazi's with the evil Russians in this one, but all in all... they still looked like the Nazi's from the previous flicks and even fought like them. Well, except for Cate, who I couldn't stop thinking of Natasha from Boris and Natasha from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

Did I mention though that the movie wasn't that bad? Good because so far reading all that makes it seem virtually impossible that this could even be remotely enjoyable.

One thing to keep in mind is this one was supposed to be a bit campy, whereas the others were supposed to be like the old movie serials. The problem with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (besides the name of course) has nothing to do with anything I have talked about so far. What made this movie a let down to many was simply due to the fact that the previous movies were so good. Even Temple of Doom is better in many ways and that one was the 'sellout' of the franchise, but it was still a wild romp.

I have watched many movies that weren't even close to being as good as Kingdom, many just this year. So like I said, it really isn't that bad, but everyone was expecting something much bigger and more spectacular I think.



The DVD transfer is absolutely gorgeous. In that sense they got everything right. This is what a big movie is supposed to look like. The detail is amazing and close ups are extremely crisp and clear, and this isn't High Def! The Bluray version of this one should be absolutely mind blowing and even set a new standard in quality. There is something about film that video or digital high def video just can't seem to capture. To me it's the depth and scope of the shots. High Def looks incredible, but also many and most times it looks artificially incredible, if that makes sense. In some scenes you can practically taste the desert dust.



The sound is equally impressive. The musical score gets us in the mood and once Ford puts the hat on it is hard to keep the nostalgic rush from sweeping over you. The surround channels are active and there is plenty of bass. They also did a good job with the center channel. Not once did I have to strain to hear the dialog during heavy action scenes.

The special features are very limited on the single disc version but the two disc special edition is chocked full of documentaries. Where the industry is really getting things wrong though is the Bluray version is still more expensive and it needs to be at the same price as the two disc special edition version. Those that don't have a Bluray player and want the two disc set will get it, but for those that have a BD player I sometimes feel 'punished'. Actually, I really miss the days of the dual format HD DVDs that I can play in an HD DVD player or a regular DVD player. I would pay a couple bucks more for a BD if it also had an SDVD version included... but that's just wishful thinking.

Overall I say give Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a chance. It's not as bad as you may have heard, but like I said, it suffers from having to live up to the previous movies which were just too good and it was too hard to live up to that.

I rate it for the storyline and acting and the sound and visual quality.



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post #2 of 9 Old 10-16-08, 03:57 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I saw this movie in the theaters and was very disappointed in the picture quality of the film so I'm wondering if it was faded or damaged by the time I saw it (2 weeks after release) Plus a guy in front of me spent the first half of the movie texting someone on his phone until I asked him to stop. I also thought the plot had to many holes in it and went to far overboard on the Sci-Fi story line.

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post #3 of 9 Old 10-16-08, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I thought so too. That's one reason why I love special feature documentaries. I'm probably one of the few people that actually watches them on every DVD!

Without giving away any plot lines, they did specifically say in the special features that's what they wanted. The first three movies were supposed to be an homage to the old movie serials. Knowing that Ford is much older now they decided to set the movie in the 50's (plus Harrison refused to have his hair dyed or anything to try and make him look younger). Once they decided it would be the 50's setting they talked about the look and feel and came up with the idea of making it more like an old 'B' movie... which included that sci-fi aspect of things. So the choice was intentional.

Did they succeed? Not really. This definitely looked like a big production movie and no 'B' movie I have ever seen, but then again the original movies really didn't look like a 'serial' either.

The nostalgia of seeing Indy again was really what this movie was about and that's it. Just as the ark was the McGuffin in Raiders, the entire story really was the McGuffin this time around. It was just an excuse to see the man in the Fedora once again.

Sadly, they are talking about another one. Connery was fantastic in The Rock and proved someone didn't have to be in their 30's (or look like they are) in order to do action, but his character and the action/fights he did was much different than his younger days especially his Bond era. They could pull off another movie but they can't have Indy swinging by that whip anymore. It's time to change the character to match his age or let it go.

My biggest fear? That Shia is having the franchise torch passed to him!

Speaking of Bond- Indiana Jones actually could have been another Bond like franchise in the sense there have been multiple actors to play Bond. Indy could have been played by other actors and if the story was good and the action fun and fast, some would have complained, but I think most would have gotten over it. People would have had their 'favorite' Indy just like people have their favorite Bond. I always thought that Dennis Quaid could have donned the hat when he was younger and pulled off a couple of good flicks, and as much as some will cringe, Brendan Fraser looked like he was seriously being groomed as an Indy replacement if you look at him in the Mummy movies... granted he clowned around too much but in the second movie he had the Indy look spot on, complete with a Fedora!

Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones though, and as much as I loved Raiders and the other two, maybe it's just me but I'd rather remember him young. Kingdom came extremely close to being a parody of the franchise at some points, and other scenes were a direct homage to the originals... which ironically were an homage themselves, so an homage to an homage. Like I said in the review, this isn't a bad movie and is actually much better than a lot of others out there, but it didn't live up to the franchise level of expectation. If they do make another one, unless they are extremely careful it will become a parody of itself and not intentionally. The worse type of camp and parody is the movie that isn't trying to be campy or a parody but ends up looking that way because it tried too hard. They were right up at that line with this one and a couple of times even crossed it, but they didn't stay there for too long. Next time though... they might not be so lucky.

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post #4 of 9 Old 10-16-08, 08:20 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Another Hollywood disappointment.
Sure it was Ok for what it was, but I expect much more from that group.
This movie just didn't look right to me, was it the lighting, or poorly done background mattes, or my imagination?
And, did someone forget to hire a writer? As already pointed out lots of very good actors with nothing to do or to say.

Mark
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-17-08, 02:29 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Saw this last night, had the same puzzling feeling about the lighting and almost 3D look that many have commented on, especially in Act I.

The sound was some of the best I have heard in a movie, and I don't mean the dialogue or effects. I wonder if they will release a score-only track ala Alien? Hearing the Indy theme on different instruments and keys was more fun that the actual movie at times.

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post #6 of 9 Old 10-17-08, 05:13 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I was very much disappointed in this movie. I went to the theater to see it since I am a big fan of Indiana Jones, Spielberg and Cate Blanchett. But I walked out of the theater wishing I could get my money back. The story at the end of the movie setting us up for the big climax was poor. What was Spielberg thinking?
It seems to me he must have run out of ideas and ask his kids to finish the script for him.
I was waiting for Drew barrymore to show up.

The beginning of the movie had me interested (for a short time) until Shia LaBeouf shows up looking like Marlon Brando from The Wild Ones. How cheap is that? I like Shia LaBeouf but he is no Brando.
Harrison Ford at times seemed to put no effort in the role.
Cate Blanchett as Col. Dr. Irina Spalko was Great! Her role might be the only redeeming quality in the picture.

As bad as it was in the movies I decided to rent it thinking it was one of those movies that would do better at home.....It didn't.
I have a dedicated home theater with decent equipment and it still let me down. I really tried to like this movie because I enjoyed the other three but honestly I could not buy this one.
The special effects at the very end with the spaceship was unrealistic. Speilberg did a better job with alien spacecraft twenty five years ago with Close Encounters.

Just my opinion I did not mean to insult anyone.

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post #7 of 9 Old 10-18-08, 03:11 AM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

After I started the movie I was walking into the HT during the THX intro and right after I shut my door the loud bass shook my arm as I was shutting the door and there was a loud womp! womp! from the door. I rolled my eyes a bit and sat down, then moments later my father walks in after the third trip into the kitchen this time I don't know what for, and is exlaiming whoahhh as the into continued while he had stopped in the middle of the room. Then one of my monoprice cables became loose again on a subwoofer amp and was buzzing really loud and there was a panic among the viewers. Making my way past my father I turned on the lights and giggled the cable back snug. Then the movie began and there was not much bass so I was thinking to myself, have I finally done it? did I damage my subwoofers? So the experience went off to not the best of a start but as I got into the action, I was pleased to find that the picture did look well checking it over quickly, then making my way to the better seat in the HT, I was rather impressed with the overall use of the surrounds as the blended nicely with action on screen. I expected a huge let down in the start of the film but it was filled with the usual style I was used to seeing, and made no hessitation to get into the story instead of the more than common character building scenes in alot of films that seemingly have little to do with anything half the time. When it was apparant they were russians, I agree as mentioned before there was nothing that made them look any different than usual group of Indiana Jones foes. The scene in the desert with the refegerator I thought was great and really set me up that Henry was not as dull or without spunk as he had made himself out to be while captured. If action had not gotten as interesting as it did as fast it did for the begining I think I would have already made up my mind the film was worthless, but it had some pretty cool effects. I was shocked at much of the rest of the start of the film, and it did not seem to transition as smooth to me as most films have from start to middle, and the style of it up until the usual map with flying plane was kind of off to me with also not the best of acting. After that scene with train etc I started enjoying the film again, and I was at least assured my subwoofers were going to get some action, and were still functional. I thought the evil characters that were thrown in rather suddenly simply were not scarry but looked like something out of the movie King Kong with a less than stellar budget. The area had a certain creepyness about it but the close-ups of the native cave people just looked like a person making silly faces. Sorry. Then it got good from there on out and I was very entertained. The ending was very long for an ending and I really was waiting for them to do something that would save the planet or what have you by the way it was looking. I found it difficult to get into the ending because it sort of lost me with the large amount of delay, but the sound was great and it was very visually stunning.

I added dowel rods and double threasholds to my door, then tightened the grip on my cable, so maybe with less probelms I will be able to experience it better. The mix was one of the best I have heard and really there was no time I was feeling like the effects or scenes lacked any realism, except those few I mentioned. I will give it another try tommorow.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-18-08, 05:17 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

It was about as good the second time watching it.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-18-08, 07:53 PM
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Re: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I'll pipe in here... I haven't seen it yet but... I will soon.

Due to my age, I saw the first in theaters and thought it was the awesomest thing since Star Wars.

All the sequels were seen at an age where I was more interested in how far I could take this "date" than what Indy was up to. I don't even remember them.

So, Crystal Skull might be right up my alley.

But I think the biggest thing about CS is Shia. Yeah, funny thing. I think we're seeing the rise of potentially one of the hottest young stars since... since... Harrison Ford.

You see, the action hero has gone through many phases through the ages.

Not to get all Socrates on you but...

In the 60s it was Steve McQueen - the rebel without a cause style laid down by the likes of Brando and the late great Newman.

70s it was guys like Eastwood, Bronson. A lethal hero for an era that had enough of heroes.

In the 80s... we had muscle men like Arnold. Bigger than life muscles with big hair bands to match the flourescent style of the age.

the 90s... I haven't figured it out yet. Someone tell me, please. It's all a blur to me.

The 00s....

I think it's back to a more human-like figure. A slightly naieve figure who is just there, maybe in the wrong place at the wrong time but makes due with a quick wit and a sense of humor. It's definitely a genre of action that sits well with stars like Will Smith.

I think maybe, just maybe Shia might be in store for the 10's... You know I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time...

but, you heard it here first.

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