Friday, May 30, 2008
Indian Jones: Regio del Teschio di Cristallo
Summary: I saw "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in Italian in a mostly empty theater in Pisa. It wasn't only the tower that was leaning that day; my spirit often began to list as the movie hit a variety of unexpected dull spots.
No, I didn't understand every word, but I certainly was aware that there were talky scenes and a plot too silly even to qualify as amusingly preposterous. The Italian dubbing (whoever did Indiana Jones sounds more mellow than Harrison Ford) probably took a little something away from the movie, but let's be real: The only reason to see a movie such as this is for the thrill and fun of the action. A couple of the big chase scenes deliver, and there's even a bit of brilliance in the opening, but overall, this edition of "Indiana Jones" hardly seems worth a 19-year wait.
Here's what you might learn if you watch the movie dubbed into another language:
-- Harrison Ford doesn't have much going for him by way of facial expressions; he looks as if he's tired and you may find yourself wondering whether he really wanted to revisit this role.
-- Cate Blanchett (as a Soviet bad girl) is worth watching in any language.
-- Shia LaBeouf doesn't really translate into Italian.
-- Updating Indy to the 1950s produced some interesting early effects. (A shot of Indy -- his body silhouetted against the mushrooming backdrop of a nuclear bomb blast -- resonates, yesterday's hero facing a new, untamed force.
-- The action set pieces are best when they're given a comic spin, which they mostly are.
-- Some of the effects don't look especially real.
-- Given all the time the actors spend underground, the guy who had the cobweb concession must have made out like a bandit.
Is there more to ponder here? Not much. I enjoyed watching the movie in Italian, and read enough about it afterward to convince me that I didn't need to see it again in English. "Indiana Jones" may be making a ton of money, but for me, it's basta! Enough already!
One more thing: Above, a look at the interior of the Odeon in Pisa, where "Indiana Jones" was playing on several screens, each named for a different Italian city. I saw it in the Venice auditorium. Each ticket comes with an assigned seat. I attended an early afternoon showing, which is one of the reasons the theater was relatively empty. Big screen, decent projection, plush seats. Fine place to see a movie with the added feature that the restrooms are located in the back of the auditorium. I guess it says something about "Crystal Skull" that I didn't notice anyone heading for the bathrooms during the show.