Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
by Lauren Sepanski
Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
I went to the midnight showing dressed in a beat up button down shirt and a fedora. I felt nervous, I knew it wasn’t going to be great, but I really had no idea. The first person got up and walked out after a half hour, there were collective groans coming from the people who stayed. Words I heard while exiting the theater were “excessive,” “ridiculous,” and “absurd.” It was heartbreaking to not only hear these comments, but know they are true. This is the film many of us have been waiting years to see, this is the film that got a three-minute standing ovation in Cannes, this is the most poorly written, cheesy thing George Lucas has puked out since the Star Wars prequels.
Cliff’s Notes include Indy surviving a nuclear blast 10 minutes after the opening credits, getting pulled out of quicksand using a snake instead of rope, 60-year-olds getting thrown off moving vehicles and over waterfalls, giant killer ants, a tribe of cannibals, and alien encounters. This is a Lucas/Spielberg movie, not an Ed Wood picture! Aside from the horrible plot, all the scenes look like they were shot on a set. Twelve poor production assistants spent three days driving around to every arts and crafts store in southern California buying each out of fake vines and leaves.
I live in Hollywood and work at a celebrity news show on the Paramount lot. I haven’t been able to avoid daily news about this film for months. I have been hearing nothing but great and amazing things about this film, from thousands upon thousands of billboards lining the streets just on my way to the grocery store, to the guest spots on Oprah, The View, Letterman, on the covers on Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety every day for a month! Anything almost everyone has said about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been that it’s better than Raiders even. However, after examining every review since Thursday morning, it seems like all the big-name publications have great things to say, but the smaller, fan-based ones hated it. Suspicious? It’s like Lucas and Spielberg paid Hollywood and New York critics and figured it would be enough to convince the rest of the country. That’s why these men are geniuses—evil geniuses—but still…
I waited until today to finish this review because I wanted to see the weekend box office first; Indiana Jones made $126 million, and Prince Caspian came in second with only $28 million. It is all about the money, duh! The fans are very angry, the statement one hears the most, as they wipe away buckets of tears from their eyes, is “Lucas sodomized my childhood…again!” Star Wars is a saga, made up of many, many characters and a huge, winding plot, Indiana Jones is more of a roll model. I remember being eight-years-old and playing Indiana Jones out in the yard all afternoon, too. But it doesn’t matter, it’s all about making money, something Spielberg and Lucas really don’t desperately need. Some people like the movie, but it broke the true fans hearts. This isn’t going to be like the Star Wars prequels, this, for some unknown reason, is more painful.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has to be the worst movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. I can’t begin to explain how excited I was months before, talking non-stop, watching the first three over and over, preparing myself… For this? It was bad, really, very bad. I refuse to caution people to not see it, everyone should see it. It’s like sitting in a movie theater seat, with a bucket of popcorn, and watching Rome burn. See it now so you can tell your children, “Yes, I was there. I saw it all. I was horrified.”
Lauren Sepanski is a writer and film critic living in Hollywood.
Got a problem? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org