In a nutshell, if you have seen the other three films hire this on DVD for a lazy or stupid Sunday arvo film. Or wait for TV. If you have not seen any of the other films (or didn’t care to remember them), then see something else. Don’t watch it in the cinema in any case.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5, and that’s because I enjoyed seeing Indy back on the screen more than anything else (the snake-rope joke and rocket launcher joke are top highlights). To a non-Indy fan 0.5 out of 5.
For: Cultural references are thick through-out the film, and if done with a little more restraint or subtlety might have been rather cool. Reds under the beds, government conspiracy, area 51 little green men, nuke testing, and a fantastic picture of what university life might have been like.
Against: The basic plot theme was ok, but the actual plot was horrid and predictable.
Quick: Indiana Jones and the … meh. Boom, wizz, ka-pow!
Acting is good, but stretched at times. The action goes in circles of silly fun (dodging bullets), to implausible (the fridge), to broken (waterfall), and back again. I know that heroic action films allow the sidekicks to survive so that they “hold a mirror” up to the hero; but it started to get plain nutty toward the middle.
The main failing in my opinion was the references to aliens, which was the story. Indy films are clearly allowed to be supernatural, and this film started on a great premise of psychic powers and Russian super weapons. That made sense in keeping with the themes of the other films. However when the little green men starting looking and being the exact presentation as in current folklore, it just lost me.
Every tired obvious story path was shown:
- betrayed by side-kick, twice at least.
- previous cast return to stretch old one liners
- hero stretches old one liners
- twit kid is a mirror of the main hero, who really does not seem into it
- aliens helped shape our civilisation, need our help now, but know to much to really help now
- nobody of even partial importance to the hero dies, despite the deaths all around them
- no evidence of anything at the end of the film, “Do aliens exist? Nope, no evidence.” Yawn
- and everything ends happily ever after