Posted October 9, 2008 in The Small Screen

Rest assured, the special features on the two-disc edition of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are of the variety that make you wish you could have been a part of the making of the movie. This reunion film certainly looked like a lot of fun, what with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas both giddy with excitement at the start of shooting. On the disc, among other features, is a 12-part production diary that chronicles the filming of this fourth Indy installment. It’s pretty comprehensive, and worth a watch if you’re a fan and have the time. You’ll learn that A) Steven Spielberg knows what he wants, B) actors enjoy filming on real sets, and C) Shia LeBeouf “isn’t really a snake person.” What you won’t learn is why—even after exhaustive research and tests—the titular crystal skulls kinda look like pieces of plastic stuffed with cellophane. Or why Harrison Ford, in his interviews, is so mellow and soft-spoken it sounds like he has to save every ounce of energy he has for the actual acting. As for the film itself, it’s a fun romp and it’s nice to see Indy again, but none of the films, in my book, have matched the original’s perfect elixir of characters, humor, action, grit and gravity. The Indy of Raiders walked a fine line between grave robbery and archeology and dealing with the morality of that was what elevated him above the level of cartoon. Now, moral questions play out, but Indy’s loyalties aren’t the ones in question, which just isn’t, in the long run, quite as interesting to watch. (Red Vaughn)

Paramount, 122 minutes
Release date: October 14


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