INDIANA JONES AND THE CRYSTAL SKULL- I just came from seeing the latest, and I would say final (at least with Harrison Ford in the title role) INDIANA JONES film. And I have to say, contrary to the mob, I really enjoyed it.

There are few filmmakers who are as technically accomplished as Spielberg, and fewer still as masterful at creating thrilling, rousing visual scenes. While I’m no Spielberg groupie, it can not be denied, that he is an innovative, driving force in film. That said… he’s not a filmmaker that particularly resonates with me, but I understand his importance to film.

His JAWS redefined the Monster movie, and defined the term summer blockbuster. And a whole industry has grown up around that movie, trying to be that movie.

His CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and ET very much put science fiction films on the map as viable, big budget entertainment.

His SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, almost cliche now, because so many people from TAE GUK to RAMBO have ripped it off, very much gave new life to the war film and the depiction of same, and to that point was the most visceral, brutal battle scenes ever presented.

Spielberg has always moved film forward.

He did it with the first INDIANA JONES , reviving a pulp, serial style of entertainment that has not been seen since the 1940s, and making a modern audience go crazy for it.

I’m not saying Spielberg is the best filmmaker, he’s personally not my favorite, but there is no more successful filmmaker than Spielberg. No filmmaker who has proven himself more tied into his audience… what it wants to see.

Which brings us to the latest INDIANA JONES film.

This film has met with vocal derision.

Particularly over how it wraps up the central storyline, the last 10 or 15 minutes, and I agree… the denouement is flawed, the ending feeling shoe-horned in, and rushed. It’s very anti-climatic, when measured against the thrilling scenes that built up to it.

So yes flawed, but to my mind not flawed enough to erase the fact that for the majority of the films running time, it’s a thrilling, white knuckled, tongue in cheek, and most of all fun roller-coaster ride of a film.

In a medium that has become so much about the lowest common denominator, it’s refreshing to see a film that doesn’t have to rely on profanity, or rape, or hate, or graphic sex or violence to tell a story. But can be a fun, exciting, and largely family friendly film.

And I appreciate that. However in an increasingly cynical world, a lot of people seemingly don’t.

This is not Spielberg’s audience anymore. This is the audience of Rob Zombie and SAW, and cinema is the poorer for this distinction.

Spielberg has always made slightly hopeful, wide eye films, that hearken back to that age of pulp sensibilities.

He does that here with quite a few scenes, that put you right in the heart of the action.

And I went to this film with a local movie group. And I remember now, why I stopped attending films with this group. A very negative lot of people. Problem I have with critics in general: They are either pompous or pessimistic, or more often then not some marriage of the two. And they love to gripe seemingly.

I have no use for critics, by definition they want to criticize, they want to tell you what they hate. I’m a reviewer, I want to tell you what I love.

I don’t pay my money to dislike a movie. I go into a movie looking to like it, looking to meet it halfway. And I found that very easy to do with this film. Rushed, forced conclusion and all.

So flawed, but still recommended… and fun. The Motorcycle scene is worth the price of admission by itself, add to that the grave yard scene, or the sword fight scene, or the ant scene…. and there’s just enough fun in this film, for a few movies. And I like it better, easily, than the 2nd or 3rd films.

So not perfect by any means, but I left the theater feeling I definitely got my money’s worth; and I Look forward to purchasing this film when it arrives on DVD. And I don’t say that for many films. GRADE: B-/B.

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