“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – Joanna Langfield reviews

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It’s probably impossible to capture the pure magic of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, but this Kingdom sure gives it a valiant try.

I was surprised the opening scene did not ring in with John Williams’ classic theme, but this is an adventure that starts out slow. Indy’s been kidnapped, tossed into the cold war paranoia of Russian spies, American suspicion and nuclear testing in the Nevada desert. Tossed out of his academic safety net, our hero’s off to an uncertain future, when Shia LeBeouf cycles into his life, a rebel with a cause. Together, the two take off for a fabled city of solid gold, thinking if they find the long rumored crystal skull, that will lead them to young Mutt’s mother, who, it seems, is in trouble of her own.

Yes, there is a story here, but that’s not really the point. Once it finds its way (after some undeniable static passages, weighed down under unnecessary exposition), this movie finds its familiar rhythms and the fun bounces off the screen. And when Karen Allen shows up, reprising her role as Indy’s one true love, Marion Ravenwood, everything seems to come together; the three main characters affectionately snapping like the Bickersons and we all love it. That natural chemistry, along with some downright splendid action scenes, almost erase the silliness of Cate Blanchett’s bizarre Soviet sweetie.

And while the script takes off in an otherworldly spin, this does seem to offer Steven Spielberg an opportunity to not just revisit his classic anthropologist, but to also play around with what he might have done had we made another Close Encounter with ET.

Kudos to Williams’ excellent score, which is almost a character onto itself, and to the special effects team that created tons of oooey ants and gallons upon gallons of whipped up waterfalls. But the real special effect here is Harrison Ford, who, twinkle in his eye and spring in his step, proves what a movie star is all about.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).