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Sociological phenomenon or just a movie?

Latest update : 2008-05-19

A review of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' by FRANCE 24's Arnab Banerjee.

"A kiss for a ticket, three kisses for two!" read one of the numerous felt-penned posters that scores of people held up before the world premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". But kisses weren't enough to get admittance to the very first screening of Spielberg's new effort, which was reserved exclusively for the press.

All over Cannes today, festival-goers were humming Indiana Jones's theme music and wearing his iconic hat.

The adventurer that most of today's youth grew up with is back. Which might lead one to wonder: Is the return of Indiana Jones a sociological phenomenon or a cinematic event?

Over the years, Harrison Ford's legendary character has penetrated the collective consciousness to such an extent that a return on the silver screen, however it may compare with the three first films, is enough to thrill any devoted spectator. Never mind if Indy escapes an atomic bomb by shutting himself up in a lead-lined refrigerator or that he performs feats that would better befit Superman — the continuity of the character's adventures arouses the spectator's profound curiosity.

An older and stodgier Indiana Jones with the energy of a overexcited Hercules may seem a bit humourous, and that humour is what lends the film its saving grace.

The special effects used are less extravagant that one expects, and Harrison Ford's real stunts (which he qualifies as "physical acting") add a bit of credibility to the action scenes.

One factor that accounts for the film's extraordinary plot — its 1950s setting. A similar story would have been hard to transpose to today's era and would have been much less credible. For example, Spielberg chooses to use Communists as bad guys with thick Russian accents (Cate Blanchett is one of them). All in all, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is sure to revive youthful memories, but will the final effect will be nostalgia or fascination ? Let the public decide.


Check out Web correspondent Arnab Banerjee’s video blog.

Date created : 2008-05-19

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