Okay, comparison time: A New Hope vs. The Phantom Menace. The Empire Strikes Back vs. Attack of the Clones. Temple of Doom vs. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s not hard to see where I’m going with this, considering that a certain George Lucas was involved in both the revamped Star Wars mockeries as well as this latest endeavour, directed by Steven Spielberg, but produced by Lucas.
While this is nowhere near the level of preposterous travesty reached by the Star Wars prequels, it’s not exactly great. Though after I was moaning on to a friend about how this wasn’t a patch on any of the original trilogy earlier this week, I was challenged to remember the last time I’d actually watched one of the first three all the way through… I confess it may have been some time ago, and they may all be pretty lame now, but surely not *this* bad?!
This time round, Indy’s a few years older, and it’s the Soviets who play the role of bad guys rather than the Nazis. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and indeed there are a few witty scenes early on – particularly when Jones is introduced to Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) – which lead you to thinking this might not be so bad after all.
Sadly, it doesn’t keep up the pace and the whole thing ends up feeling like a weak idea spread far too thinly.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what’s so wrong about this. Individually the characters are great, but there’s too little chemistry between them. And the plot — well, it’s Indy; who needs a storyline which makes sense? But still: aliens and spaceships? Stop the press! Spielberg bravely steps into the 1980s with all guns blazing! Wait a second: hasn’t he been here before?
Perhaps it’s just the fact that there are very few memorable scenes (no, the Tarzan moment does not count!), or maybe that it drags in the mid-section, or the lack of consistently good jokes, or… Well, you get the idea. I was not impressed with this.