Tuesday, June 10, 2008



The man with the hat, is back again cracking his lash as energetically as he managed it the last time, when he was a couple of decedes younger. Mr.Ford announces that he belongs to a list of actors who fuss more to age, than to disclose it: Indy this time swings on ropes, rides a rocket, and most fascinating of all, conquers a nuclear explosion, with his theme music playing behind. You experience the explosion, you feel the heat, if not as much as it actually would be, you get desperate along with Mr.Jones, but you’re least-scared for you know perfectly well that nothing can happen to you as long as you’re with Indy. That’s the exact effect any Indiana Jones movie used to produce, which means this one’s no less that either of the three, though something tells you this series’ going through a gradual drop.

Ford’s back as the recklessly stylish hero in an introduction scene that looks more Indian than it’s Indiana – The hat shown first and then the man wearing it? Come on Mr.Spielberg: You’re capable of better bangs and so is your man! With a sidekick in ‘Mac’ McHale betraying early quoting “I’m a capitalist, Indy”, Dr.Jones II is not left alone for even five minutes, as he’s immediately joined by a motor-cycling, knife-brandishing, often hair-combing, school dropout youth in form of Mutt Williams (A worthy successor in Labeouf), who gives Indy a letter his Mom received from an old colleage of his, named Prof.Oxley, who’s been kidnapped and is possibly in danger. The letter’s written in “An extinct latin-american language” that only Prof.Ox is well-versed in and only Indy can decipher. Then on it’s riddles, wrong places, right places, treasure recovered-yet-stolen, snakes, man-eating ants repelled by the crystal skull, chases, sword-fighting on parallel vehicles on parallel roads in a jungle, exotic humans, waterfall plunges (Three times, this one!), and an underground court-room where the thirteenth crystal skull ought to be returned to cause something typically Spielberg to happen (Erm.. Did I just say too much?). This time around the treasure’s nothing material like Noah’s lost ark or the cup of Christ, but as Indy puts it, “It’s Knowledge that’s the treasure: Not gold”.

Indy’s rivals this time ain’t Germans but Russians, particularly a femme-fatale in Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett with a comical accent that’s actually meant to be serious and scary!) complete with violently-red lips, a pale face made paler still, and a frequent utterance of ‘Don’t you think so, Dr.Jones?’. Spalko is part of a swordfight with Mr.Williams who’s made to predispose that he knows fencing with remarkable subtlety. He’s dropped out of school because of that, a fact both hailed and condemned by Dr.Jones in different parts of the movie. Karen Allen’s back again as Indy’s girlfriend Marion Ravenwood, this time as more fun as she joins the reckless club headed by her ex with some rough-handling of trucks along cliffs, jungles, and even through waterfalls. John Hurt had to be an amnesiac for most of the film as the abducted Prof.Oxley, but shrewd yet, as he manages to construct riddles, explain them to both us and Indy in sequences, and when underground, finally say, “This will lead us to another dimension. Not another space, but a space between spaces”, that triggers a retort out of Indy as he says smugly, “I don’t think we wanna go that way”. Jim Broadbent stays in our mind as the Dean Stanforth with his strong British English, and his subdued humour. There’s always an opportunist to die in Indy flicks and this time it’s Winstone as ‘Mac’, whose love for gold takes him where there’s gonna be nothing of that sort!

An annoying aspect of this movie is the use of very ordinary sets as houses, streets and buildings, though the ruins and archaeological aspects are A-Ok. Probably Spielberg wanted that to be nostalgic as he adds a couple of more mentions of Dr. Henry Jones I (Connery), but coming from two men known for their exploit of contemporary technology to the maximum, this is a bit disappointing indeed. All the same, nothing’s wrong with Indy 4: There’re a lot of laughs, there’s a snide Harrison Ford, there’re some great stunts backed by fun music to pick you up, there’re a couple more to take it through, there’s an extended one to end it and last of all, there’s a really cinematic sequence in which Mr.Ford literally shouts out: “Hold your breath folks, I’m not done yet!”. This one’d be a treat for any person who’s even alien to the world of Indiana Jones; Talking about afficianados, this one’s a delicacy.

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