Thumbs Up for Indiana Jones

So we took the family to see Indiana Jones tonight. All of them. Even Stalliondo, who is just a week or two shy of his third birthday. He dug most of it, but got freaked out by anything involving dark spaces or skeletons. The twins were a little freaked, too, but I don’t think it was too harsh for them. It’s milder than the other Indiana Jones flicks, except for the ants. Yikes, but those ants were gross.

So how was it?

Well, I could pick it apart if you wanted me to. Chloe came out of it saying “A lot of it was pretty unbelievable.” To which I responded “And which one of the previous movies was remotely believable?” Maybe the first one, although the Ark melting people’s faces required a certain suspension of disbelief. Once you got into the next two, what with ripping out human hearts and voodoo dolls and caves with magic goblets and five-hundred year-old knights, it all got pretty silly.

This one may have the goofiest, most convoluted plot of them all, and they wasted a lot of time giving you far more exposition than you needed. Ray Winstone’s character is a waste, as is John Hurt’s. Cate Blanchett is solidly over the top, and Jim Broadbent could have used more screen time.

There. Satisfied? I loved it. It was an Indiana Jones movie.

To understand that, keep in mind that I don’t consider the Star Wars prequels to be Star Wars movies. I try to pretend they never happened. They’re not of a piece with the wonderful original trilogy, and they actually diminish the earlier films just by existing.

This was different. This thing was actually an Indiana Jones movie. The reason? Harrison Ford.

Ford has been pretty lousy for a pretty long time. Since Air Force One, probably. All of his subsequent movies have involved large amounts of mumbling and little or no derring do.

But he shows up for this movie. He’s Indiana Jones all over again, and though he’d greyer and older, he doesn’t seem to have missed a step. That’s astonishing. And it’s the main reason this movie works.

There’s really no point in going over the plot or reviewing this in some kind of academic sense. It was so much fun to be watching a new Indiana Jones movie, and to be able to share that movie with kids who weren’t even thought of when the last one came out. It’s a kick to see Marion again. Shia TheBeef was just fine, although I don’t like the implication that the torch is being passed to him for the next movie. Harrison Ford’s still got it – he could do another couple of these easily, so milk it while you can.

Everyone online is trying to place this thing in a ranking with the other movies. I don’t see the point of doing that – sometimes I love Temple of Doom, and other times I recognize it for the over-amped train wreck that it is. Occasionally, Last Crusade bugs me, but usually the Connery/Ford relationship wins me over. Raiders is the closest thing on earth to a perfect movie, so there’s no point in comparing any of the lesser sequels to it. But this thing fits into the Indy pantheon effortlessly. That’s really remarkable, considering the twenty-year split.

The Cornells give it six thumbs up. That’s everyone except Stalliondo, who screamed a lot and spent a lot of time at the popcorn stand.

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