Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2008. Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm, The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Story by George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson, Screenplay by David Koepp, based on characters created by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman. Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski. Produced by Frank Marshall. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Guy Hendrix Dyas. Costume Design by Mary Zophres. Film Editing by Michael Kahn. Cannes Film Festival 2008.
A mere twenty-seven years after he found the Ark of the Covenant and gave Star Wars a run for its money at the box office, cinema’s beloved archaeologist/adventurer is back and (almost) as spunky as ever. With the war long over and America in its nuclear halcyon days, professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds that even with the Nazis out of the way there are still villains to be contended with: namely a cat-eyed, slinky Soviet scientist/goddess (Cate Blanchett) who wants his help to find the secret behind an alien relic that might contain mind-control powers. It’s her intention to take the free world over from the inside, turning Americans into communists while they sleep. Jones’s adventure hooks him up with a young rebel (Shia LaBeouf, still desperate to be loved) before journeying to the wilds of the South American jungle where he is reunited with his original lady love from the first chapter of the series (Karen Allen). Retaining all the ridiculous stunts, questionable historical accuracies and irresistible sense of adventure that made these tributes to 1930s cliffhanger serials so wonderful the first three times around, the film goes everywhere improbable and is all the more commendable for it. As with Die Another Day, a film series renowned for brilliant stunt work has now been taken over by computer graphics imagery and loses some of its bite for it, but it’s no huge crime.