[This Review Contains Spoilers]
Originally Posted March 16th, 2016
This is one of my top 10 favorite movies ever for sure. As much as I love Raiders, I honestly feel that this movie is just as good, if not better. It’s deeper, more emotional, and more complex, and it is a really engaging movie.
What makes this film so special is the chemistry between Indy and his father. Although I loved Marion from raiders, I firmly believe that Henry Jones Sr. is the best Indy sidekick of all time. Their relationship is sorely missed in the other movies.
Just like the other two original Indy films, Spielberg made sure that this movie felt practical and real. Even though it may seem like a small thing, having real rats in the catacomb scene went a long way; it made it feel much more real than the CGI ant scene from Crystal Skull. Spielberg also included real practical action, which meant real tanks, horses, and explosions. There is some CGI that doesn’t really hold up (i.e. The plane scene), but, for the most part, the action is totally practical just like the other two films and it is all wildly entertaining to watch.
The main complaint that is usually thrown at this film is that it is too similar to Raiders. Although it looks and feels similar, the actual story itself is quite different from Raiders. The characters also encountered a lot of new things in this movie and went to different locations that Indy had never visited before (i.e. Italy, Germany, Austria). In fact, besides the desert locations, decaying temples with traps, the return of some old characters, Nazis as an enemy, and the search for a famous Christian artifact, there really aren’t as many similarities between the two movies as people say. Except for those five similarities, almost everything is different or is at least done in a way that feels different.
To be honest, the Indiana Jones villains have never been particularly complicated. They’re all pretty one-dimensional and just want to capture a famous artifact before Indy does. Donavan is not a bad villain but is nothing super special. He’s exactly what you’d expect from an Indiana Jones film. Sure, they could’ve fleshed him out a little more and made him a more interesting character, but whatever.
I loved the return of Sallah and Marcus Brody, who have always been such great side characters. Brody in this movie is a total fish-out-of-water, and seeing him stumble through situations provides a lot of levity in a movie that simultaneously has some very serious events. Sallah is also just as entertaining in this movie as he was in Raiders.
This is also by far the funniest Indy film to date. All of them have had their comedic moments, but this one has the best hands down. The majority of the film is lighthearted fun but, whenever a serious scene comes along, like when Henry Jones Sr. is shot, the jokes instantly go away. The movie’s humor was clearly added in order to counteract the dark, depressing atmosphere of Temple of Doom, which garnered a lot of criticism. I actually love Temple, but I like how this film feels more like an Indy movie.
Overall, this is an incredible film and I love it to death. I just hope Indy 5 recaptures the spirit and fun that this movie has.