The global siege that is Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is in full swing. Right now, millions of people are sitting in the cinema waiting for the iconic theme music to kick in so they can hopefully bask in the nostalgic glow of their youth. It’s been a tough ride getting here, from the highs of the trailer to the lows of the early reviews. So while it may hoover up a couple of hundred million this weekend is it actually any good?
Schizophrenically, The Times is arguing with itself clocking in with three different reviews (?) – from Kevin Maher’s 2-star verdict that it’s “not very good. In fact, it’s the worst in the series. It is a tribute movie to everything that’s gone before, but one that’s devoid of a life and a mission of its own” via Wendy Ides’ 3-star opinion is that it’s a “frantic dash to spend the film's hefty effects budget.” Chief Times critic James Christopher ignores them all with 4-stars, saying that “Spielberg’s most remarkable achievement is to retain most of the old-fashioned virtues of the original franchise.” He finishes by calling it “exquisite nonsense. Welcome back Indy. Lord knows we’ve missed you.”
The Independent only gives 2-stars thinking the film has a few moments but that “The rest of the time, it just looks like Indy's battered brown fedora: old hat.” Ouch!
Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian also only bestows 2-stars; he calls Ford “good value as ever” but thinks the world has moved on since the originals, “there are some splendid stunts and one authentic flash of Spielberg genius. But the whole thing looks a trifle pointless.”
So what did you make of it?
There are other films out this week but let’s face it – no one is going to see them. If you do find the Indy screening sold out make sure you don’t encourage Woody Allen to make any more films in London by going to his latest, Cassandra’s Dream. It may have Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor but gets a universal drubbing and 1-star from the critics. Choose from “stupefyingly terrible” (The Independent) to “should probably be deleted from the records” (The Guardian). The Times thinks, “The whole thing plays like a below-par episode of EastEnders crossed with a below-par episode of Howard’s Way. How the mighty have fallen.”
Next week, on Wednesday in fact, Sex and the City opens. Apparently some people care about this rather a lot.
By James Bryan