Little Spoilers Ahead!
Well. I saw KINGDOM, and I enjoyed it: as I expected, it was wonderful to see Indy back in action and to see how this movie embraced the past while moving into the future. I loved the evocative 195os setting, and even though I, along with Indiana Jones, felt displaced (which the movie used to full characterization advantage), things fell back into step once Indy donned his leather jacket and boarded a plane for exotic places where life almost seems timeless: the jungles, temples, crypts.
I think Shia LaBeouf did a great job, and unlike other fanwanking individuals, I like him, both as an actor and a character in this movie. (But let it be said that even a character as appalling as Willie Scott from TEMPLE OF DOOM wasn’t enough to make me dislike that installment. Take that for what it’s worth.)
But I have to note, also, that there was an odd disconnect for me while I was watching this film. Maybe there were too many characters crowding in on the action and being dragged along on the adventure. Maybe I never felt a driving force behind this particular “mission”—there wasn’t a lot of urgency or high stakes for some reason that I’m sure I’ll think of when I’ve further processed what I just saw.
The bottom line for me is that the early Internet review that everyone was talking about—the review that said “This is the Indiana Jones movie you’ve been dreading”--is a bunch of bile from someone who wanted to stir the crap. It’s not even close to being a disaster, although if you go into the theater hoping for another RAIDERS, you’ll be disappointed. We’re never going to get that movie again—even previous Indy films conceded to that notion by taking the series in other directions, making them more death-defying cartoons than stories that somehow seemed realistic (like RAIDERS, even with its crazy ark stuff). That’s the case with KINGDOM, too, but there’s plenty still there to love about Dr. Jones. To be able to spend two hours with him again is a pleasure in and of itself.
So have fun and let me know what you all think, too, okay? ; )