Magic of Dr Jones continues

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 June, 2008, 12:00am

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull adventure

Sometimes you don't have to be creative to be successful. Just find the right formula and stick to it - just like Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford's latest collaboration on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

All the familiar plot elements are there: a priceless relic that possibly has magic powers, villains from foreign countries, an exotic location rife with scorpions and snakes and, in the end, a narrow escape from a crumbling temple.

For younger viewers - the so-called Xbox generation - who weren't born when the previous movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, hit the screen in 1989, Dr Jones' latest exploit must be a revelation. Adventure movies, when they are well directed and well edited rather than relying on special effects, can take your breath away.

This is not to say that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which tells the story of Dr Jones venturing into the jungle of South America in search of a magical crystal skull, lacks action scenes. Far from it. There are plenty of them, from the nuclear test blast early in the film to the spinning alien spacecraft at the end.

What makes the film interesting is the way Spielberg, the master showman of Hollywood, injects the scenes into the storyline - one small dose at a time - to create a specific effect. It is this that makes for efficient storytelling.

Take the dazzling chase scene in which Indy and his mates fend off KGB agents and then fall into three waterfalls in a military boat-like vehicle.

The scene is a bit like an amusement park ride, treating the viewers to well-timed gags and visual surprises that get your heart thumping.

Some may call this manipulative filmmaking, but it is also a rare treat - only director Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) manages to match Spielberg's talent for turning action cliches into magic.

As for the star performer, Ford is irreplaceable as Dr Jones, despite his ageing body. The actor was born to be play Dr Jones, just as Sean Connery was born to play James Bond.

Few will be surprised if The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ends up being the blockbuster hit of the summer - it's impossible to ignore a movie that gets under your skin as much as this one.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is now showing