I am not an Indiana Jones “fan” – yes, I’ve seen the others and have enjoyed them very much, but I am at-best an admirer of the adventure genre. For me, Indiana Jones was more of an archetype of the classic adventurer than an original creation. That said, what Spielberg and Lucas have produced in ‘Crystal Skull’ is nothing short of spectacular entertainment. Anyone with an iota of creativity will enjoy this film. Even at over two hours, ‘Crystal Skull’ never once felt long – which is often a problem for blockbuster films which often feel a need to pack in one explosion too many or one line too much. This is probably a testament to the masters behind the camera and script. The film is certainly enjoying an awesome opening weekend!

Truth be told, ‘Crystal Skull’ is by no means perfect – some critics suggest it feels empty or lacking when compared to the prior installments. I’m not exactly sure what they are getting at here — it’s not as if the Indiana Jones films were ever highly inspirational works of art. They were made primarily as commercial adventure films, standouts because of the high-quality direction and excellent action sequences. Both of these are in abundance in ‘Crystal Skull’ — so, either the critics are lost in some nostalgic paradise (i.e. they remember the films as being better than they are) or they’re just pining to find something wrong in everything they watch (which is sadly the case with many reviewers nowadays). I was quite pleased to see Mr. Roeper deliver an excellent critique — his rebuke of Michael Phillips in ‘Ebert & Roeper’ is on the mark. That Phillips chastises the flick for being unrealistic is nothing short of silly. Roeper’s take? ‘Indy 4’ wasn’t made to be realistic. My take? Umm, duh.

Harrison Ford does a splendid job reprising the role and if not for the wrinkles, grizzled voice, and white hair, you’d swear he hadn’t lost a step. Shia LeBeouf certainly looks like he could play the next Indiana Jones; he has an uncanny resemblance to Ford in this film and he displays a strong knack for the sometimes comedic action scenes. Spielberg and Lucas might have the perfect actor to carry on the Indie mantel moving forward. That said, I actually would prefer one more Ford film but that wish is probably a long-shot. I suppose I should be grateful that we even got this.

Resurrecting old icons is a risky business. Stallone pulled it off with Rocky but missed the mark in Rambo. Singer fell on his face with Superman Returns – and early takes on “Get Smart” aren’t looking very good. Spielberg and Lucas have done an excellent job bringing back Dr. Jones and likely closing the chapter on Ford. There is definitely room to expand the franchise (recall the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles?) — and so long as Spielberg and Lucas are involved, it should always be worth the price of admission.

On a gaming note, LEGO Indiana Jones releases next week. This one is looking like quite a keeper!

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