We went and saw the latest Indiana Jones movie yesterday and I had low expectations because of some of the reviews I’d been reading from around the web. The film was actually more enjoyable than I had expected, but it helps if you keep in mind that realism has never been a strong point in any Indiana Jones film. There’s a lot of stuff that happens in this film that strains the suspension of disbelief so far beyond the breaking point that you’ll sprain your brain if you think about it too hard, so just switch off and let it wash over you and you should have a good time.
The rest of this review will contain some potential spoilers so stop reading now if you don’t want to know anything more about the plot.
Still with me? OK, the one plot point that everyone pretty much already knows going into this film is that it does involve aliens and for some reason a lot of folks are having conniption fits as a result. Personally I’m not sure what the big deal is. When you consider that the original films are set in the 40’s and were homages to films of that era then it makes perfect sense that the new film which is set in the 50’s when movies went UFO crazy would feature aliens as a plot point. Is it really that much harder to believe that Indy finds a buried space ship over him finding the Ark of the Covenant which has the power to melt Nazi faces?
No, the bit of the movie that was almost too much for me to bear, and this is a spoiler so here’s another warning, is when Indy is trying to make his escape from the Russians at Area 51 and ends up stumbling into a fake town set up for a nuclear bomb test which is just about to take place. He survives the nuclear blast by climbing into a lead lined refrigerator which is thrown by the blast quite a few miles away thus ensuring that Indy is easily decontaminated by the Feds when they pick him up. Never mind that the flight he takes and the landing would’ve resulted in jellied Indy plastered all over the inside of that fridge.
Also it appears that monkeys respond to hairstyles as a whole bunch of them, upon being startled by Mutt—Indy’s teen aged greaser son—when he ends up caught up in some vines during a jungle chase sequence, decide to join in on the fight against the evil Russians for no reason other than Mutt’s hairstyle makes him look kinda like the monkeys.
But what the hell, it’s an Indiana Jones movie and the series has always had lots of silly and implausible nonsense. So why should this one be any different? The folks out there claiming Lucas and Spielberg have “raped the corpse of their childhood” would probably do well to watch the first three films again with a more critical eye. It was fun seeing Indy in action again and I thought the whole alien plot was handled in a fashion that fit into the franchise just fine. There was even a hint that perhaps Shia LaBeouf, who plays Mutt, might take over the torch in future Indy films, which isn’t as bad an idea as you might think once you see him in action.