Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 

I've seen each of the prior Indy films at least 10 times, so I mean it when I say this latest installment is not on the same level as its predecessors. However, if you are any kind of fan of the franchise, there is no excuse for missing this movie.

Now older and living in the 1950s, Dr. Jones (Harrison Ford) is intercepted by Russian operatives who force him to help locate mysterious alien remains. When he escapes, the government questions his loyalty and Jones loses his teaching gig. But before he has time to decide his future, a young greaser (Shia LaBeouf, Transformers) recruits Jones to find their kidnapped mutual acquaintance (John Hurt, Hellboy) and in typical Jones form, all become embroiled in a race versus the bad guys to procure important mystical artifacts.

Like a classic car show, the entire production takes about 30 minutes to warm up. Both the camera work and Ford's acting are groggy from the outset, but after the first quarter of the running time ticks off, vintage Indiana Jones is back—with perhaps a touch more arthritis.

My major overall complaint is with the film's special effects and technology. By utilizing state-of-the-art cameras and green screens, director Steven Spielberg detracts from the original gritty, almost B-movie flavor of the prior trilogy.

Yet, regardless of any and all shortcomings, this is still a Ford/Spielberg adventure film scripted by George Lucas and scored by John Williams. And whether it measures up to its prequels, this is an Indiana Jones film, and you've got to see it.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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