Critic screenings for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" happened simultaneously Sunday across the world, from Los Angeles to New York to Cannes, France.
For some, it's "our childhood dreams captured at 24 frames a second and projected for us to relive laughing, clapping, gasping and shouting enthusiastically for!" (Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool News).For others, the movie "bored [me] out of my mind" (A.O. Scott, The New York Times).
(Find out what a handful of MTV Newsers thought about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in the MTV Movies Blog.)
In fact, a lot of people don't seem to have time for love, Dr. Jones, despite the fact that the exploits of Indiana and his world-weary crew are currently rated favorably by 78 percent of critics at movie-review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.
While nearly everybody found much to praise in the film, most also heavily tempered their thoughts with some disappointment.
" 'Indy 4' doesn't have the stuffings of a great adventure film. It's fine and appropriate that it stays in the good groove of an old-time action serial," wrote Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere. "But ... I only wish that Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, David Koepp and Jeff Nathanson had attempted at least a superficial injection of a little heart and soul. Just a stab, I mean."
The problem for most critics, it seems, isn't that "Crystal Skull" is a bad movie, but that it's an average "Indiana Jones" movie, a franchise for which fans demand nothing short of perfection.
"With Brendan Fraser in the lead, this would have been the very best 'Mummy' movie yet ... but not so much better than the others to make you re-evaluate that franchise as a whole. It would be just a really, really good 'Mummy' movie," wrote Devin Faraci of CHUD.com. "And from Spielberg, and from this franchise, that's just not acceptable."
"In spite of an over-reliance on CG, and one too many obvious moments of George Lucas-involved over-the-top tomfoolery, the latest "Indiana Jones" is a great piece of major studio-produced escapist entertainment," echoed Garth Franklin of DarkHorizons.com. "Unfortunately, that may not be enough."
In figuring out the main reason why the film failed to live up to expectations, most critics rest the blame not on Spielberg or stars Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf, but squarely on the shoulders of screenwriter David Koepp, whose script critic James Rocchi of Cinematical.com called "clumsy."
Christy Lemire of The Associated Press was also less-than-impressed: "Once you get past the initial reintroduction ... it's obvious that this fourth film in the 'Indy' series really has no idea where to go. Except for the opening — which literally starts the film off with a bang — and a couple of dazzling chase sequences, 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' is about as unfocused and meandering as the title itself."
"The 'but' that dangles in this instant reaction ... is that 'Crystal Skull' threatens at times to crumble under the weight of all the impersonal zigging and zagging loaded on for the sake of special effects," echoed Lisa Schwarzbaum of EW.com.
The final verdict, however, seems to be one for which there's no escaping. "I can say that if you liked the other 'Indiana Jones' movies, you will like this one," Roger Ebert writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. "And that if you did not, there is no talking to you."
Check out everything we've got on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
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