Sunday, June 01, 2008

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Alien Skull

(I know, the name is not quite correct)

I've either reached the limits of my tolerance for these action flicks, or the latest edition of Indiana Jones really sucks. Either way, not the most enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

For a change, let me try being more objective about my review; I'll lay down the parameters for evaluation and their respective weightages first, then rate the movie along these parameters ( * cough enterprisey cough *):
  1. Ability to hold viewer's attention (25%)
  2. Quality of stunts/effects/action sequences (15%)
  3. Crispness of dialog (15%)
  4. Clicheness index (15%)
  5. Originality of the plot (10%)
  6. Believability of the plot (5%)
  7. Quality of the cast and their acting (15%)
Ability to hold the viewer's attention: Though the movie doesn't grab your attention and refuse to let it go, it doesn't drag on, either. Three stars.

Quality of stunts/effects/action sequences: I expected better from an Indiana Jones sequel. Pity that they couldn't come up with something decent even for the climax. Two stars.

Crispness of dialog: Some of the dialog between Dr Jones and Mike raises a few chuckles, but pretty lame otherwise. Two and a half stars.

Clicheness Index: Exhibit A: Old couple on an expedition bickering with each other even as they save each others' lives. Exhibit B: Expedition goes into a cave in the climax, expedition does something inside, everything comes tumbling down, expedition (minus expendables/villains) hauls ass. Been there, done that. One star (the parameter name is misleading, actually; the higher the stars, the better the movie. Please send me a change request -- please use form CCRF020 -- filled out in triplicate, and I'll see what I can do).

Originality of the plot: This is the fourth (?) movie in the franchise. Need I say more? Two stars.

Believability of the plot: I'm willing to cut some slack here, this is Indiana Jones, after all. Two and a half stars.

Quality of the cast and their acting: I like Harrison Ford quite a lot, but he seems to be getting too old for this kind of stuff. The rest of the cast just seem to be along for the ride, except maybe for the Russian lady villain. Two stars.

Overall rating: 2.2 stars

Now for the subjective part:
  1. Is it just me, or was there an attempt to revive the Cold War propaganda? I'm talking about the evil Russians who slaughter innocent indigenous tribes and cut down the rain forests.

  2. Which kind of idiot tries to use a snake as a rope to rescue people drowning in quicksand? Staying on the subject, Dr Jones' exposition of the difference between quicksand and drysand even as he is being sucked in was instrumental in taking away half a star from the Believability parameter.

  3. Every movie has a satori moment, a sort of tipping point when (a) you realize that the money spent on the ticket was worth it or (b) you want to slap yourself on the forehead (a la Priety Zinta in the IPL semis). For me, this moment occurred with Professor Oxley's "They are in the space between spaces" comment. I leave it as an exercise to the gentle reader to figure out whether it was in the context of (a) or (b).
On second thought, I'm going to deduct 0.1 stars because I couldn't get the irritating theme music out of my head till 11:30 PM.