Let’s start by saying there are spoilers below!!!
I saw this movie yesterday and came away somewhat disappointed. On one hand, it was a fun action flick with a (partial) cast of familiar characters that I have enjoyed for the last 20 something years or so either on the big screen or at home.
On the other, I found the film to be completely predictable - I knew within a few minutes of meeting “Mutt” that Indy was his father. I knew once they cut open the mummy in the storehouse at the beginning of the movie that aliens were going to be involved; a theme that was only re-enforced throughout the film with the drawings and then the appearance of the crystal skull. Granted, in the other 3 films, you knew Indy would triumph at the end, but you had no idea how he would pull it off to win. In this one, there was no drama or suspense, you knew what was going to happen and just waited for the last scene in the church.
I think that in the first 3 films, you are along for the ride with Indy. It’s almost like you were there with him on the car chases and airplane rides and fist fights. In this film, you weren’t along for the ride, you were just an interested observer - and there’s nothing wrong with that, it just seems that in comparison, I preferred the style of the first 3.
The hand of George Lucas was all over this movie as well - from the opening scene, which evoked memories of American Graffiti to Harrison Ford stating “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, which was in all 6 of the Star Wars movies and I don’t recall it being present in any of the previous 3 Indy movies. (JR has some interesting Lucas observations as well which I’ll let him add in the comments section if he’s so inclined). It’s not that I don’t like Lucas, on the contrary, I have enjoyed the Star Wars movies more than just about any other series of movies I can think of - it’s just that I don’t recall his hand being all over the previous 3 Indy movies as it was in this one; it just had a different “feel” to it is all I’m trying to say.
Perhaps my biggest issue with the flick was the ending. In all 3 of the previous movies, you are left with the message that there is a greater good. A God, a greater power than man. That good will always triumph over evil thanks to the hand of God and God’s guidance. In this flick, God has been replaced by ET. There is no greater good, no divine intervention, but instead, a flying saucer. And for that, I’m rather disappointed.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie, because I did. It’s just not what I expected out of an Indy movie.
There were plenty of giggles for me throughout the film - starting from when Indy knocks open the crate containing the Ark and running fairly nonstop throughout. Indy - named after the family dog if you recall - has a son who has chosen the name Mutt; another name for a dog. Indy yelling “this is intolerable!” during the escape from the Commie’s jungle camp; echoing his own father’s words from the 3rd film. Indy’s refusal to grab the snake to get out of the quicksand, hearkening back to his dislike of snakes in the first film. I’m about 90% sure that when interrupted in class, Indy gave his students the same reading assignment he gave his class when he was interrupted in Raiders; I’ll have to put in the DVD to be sure. All that was missing was one of his star struck female students writing “Love You” on her eyelids. You also see the same disdain for government agents in this flick as in the first. And, like the first 3 films, there’s clearly a “bad” guy, in this case, the Soviet Union and I didn’t detect any kind of moral equivalency given to the USSR and the USA, which I was happy to see. And finally, Indy’s patented method of throwing folks out of trucks continued in this film as well.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad film, it just didn’t meet up with my expectations.
I’d give it a B+.