There are two things I can distinctly remember from cinema as a child: Star Wars and Indiana Jones. These two trilogies quickly became my most beloved films and it wasn’t until Lord of the Rings poked its head out of a hole in the ground were the two even remotely challenged for first place. Then along came the Star Wars Prequels where George Lucas screwed with everything that was good and right about Star Wars and while he didn’t entirely ruin the originals he did put a bad sort of taste my mouth. Understandably when news that a fourth Indiana Jones movie was finally to be made I couldn’t help but have a bad feeling about it. I’m not sure if I could handle Lucas messing up the greatest action movie series of all time. I have returned from the theater and I have to concur with Roger Ebert when he said, “if you liked the other Indiana Jones movies, you will like this one, and that if you did not, there is no talking to you.”
I can’t say that this is the greatest movie of all time, nor is it greater than Raiders of the Lost Ark or the Last Crusade. There was something about the originals that can’t be equaled anywhere. It does come in quite close to Temple of Doom, however, and I might even make the claim that it is better. The point is, it’s Indiana Jones and its fun, that’s all Indiana Jones ever is. All he happens to be is a professor and an archaeologist, for everything else he’s just along for the ride by the seat of his pants as much as you are.
One thing I did feel like this movie was missing was tension and suspense, perhaps that was because every time something tense happened the annoying women sitting next to me would make all kinds of vocal noises. They also managed to talk quite a bit more often than I would like, but I did try my best to ignore them…mostly it failed. As for everything else, it felt like Indiana Jones should feel – albeit much older. Nostalgia was a driving factor in the creation of this and it was nostalgia that in some ways makes it work. There’s familiar characters, familiar actions, and familiar jokes, but there’s also plenty of new to go around.
I wish I could have come out saying that this was as great of an experience as it must have been to see the originals but in truth it wasn’t. I can say, however, that it was a fun movie to watch and that it was better than most of the cookie cutter action movies that come out these days. If not for the Bourne series and Batman Begins I think I might give up action altogether. Thankfully though Indiana Jones delivers in all that it needs to and may have earned itself a second viewing from me in theaters.