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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (DVD Review)

5 Oct, 2008 By: John Latchem

Street 10/14/08
Box Office $316.8 million
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for adventure violence and scary images.
Stars Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent.

The nostalgia trip that is the fourth film in the legendary “Indiana Jones” canon offers a clever repackaging of something familiar. But 19 years after the previous movie, one can’t help but feel a tinge of regret at the potential adventures that passed by the wayside in the interim.

Instead, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull plays somewhat like one of those reunion movies that reunites the cast of an old TV show in an attempt to rekindle fans’ warm feelings for a classic. So it comes as no surprise that many “Indiana Jones” fans considered the film a disappointment.
This film is as much about the regrets of lost time as it is the search for knowledge. For the audience, the real treasure is one last adventure with an old friend. There remains a certain comfort in revisiting the formula, although the main plot device strays a bit away from the usual spiritual quests for which Indiana Jones is best known.

And, the movie seems to forget the focal point of the quest as it wraps everything up. The climax is wholly unique from the other films in the series, which some may find unsatisfying unless one considers it may be as close as we get to a crossover between Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford’s other legendary character, Han Solo.

For hardcore fans, the two-DVD special edition (or the Blu-ray) is an overload of making-of footage, covering everything from make-up to music to production design. Will knowing these tidbits give the film any more credibility? Probably not.

The genesis of the story is covered in good detail in the featurette “The Return of a Legend,” which is included with the single-disc edition. Those who enjoyed the film but usually don’t delve into extras should still enjoy this brief glimpse behind the scenes. It includes a funny bit in which the writers and producers discuss potential titles and a few fake ones.

Those who were waiting for home video to see the movie should be warned not to watch the extras before seeing the film. They are loaded with spoilers.

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