Saturday, May 31, 2008


Plot:  A
Acting:  A
Production Values:  A
Positive Elements:  B
Negative Elements:  B

GPA:  3.6

Comments:  I am known for not liking most movies that I see.  Well-rounded quality seems hard to come by even when millions of dollars are spent on productions.  One of my tests for evaluation is based upon my visceral reaction to a movie.  It is an evaluation without thought based simply upon the feeling I have when leaving the theater.  It is usually voiced in one of three simple critiques:  "That was not a good movie"  or "That was a good movie," or, as in the case of Ironman, "That was a great movie!" Now when I get to thinking about a movie and try to describe what was good or bad about it, I can provide some support for those comments beyond the immediate visceral reaction.  However, even when I must grant that more detailed analysis of a "great movie" may not appear to add up to the visceral reaction, I generally do not allow the most immediate reaction to be totally overturned.   I left Ironman knowing that it was the first great movie I had seen in about four years (the last one was Serenity). I was thrilled from start to finish and left the theater thinking that it had everything that I want from a superhero origin movie.   Upon further reflection I must provide the caveat that there were two or three scenes that were unfortunately necessary to establish the playboy image of the hero and to show the extent of the transformation that had occured in his life.  These scenes contained some non-explicit but definitely suggestive images that I would prefer that my children did not see without my being there to fast forward through them.  Adults should be able to handle them fine.  This is a movie that I would definitely see more than once, and were I inclined to spend money on that sort of thing would add to my imaginary collection of favorite movies.

Everybody needs a Superhero.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Acting:  B
Plot:  D
Production Values:  B
Positive Elements:  C
Negative Elements:  A

GPA:  2.6

Comments:  Unfortunately for those of us whose pinnacle of early movie going experiences were the three Indiana Jones movies of the 80's, this movie cannot compare.  Perhaps the difference is that I am much older, less impressionable, and less filled with wonder anytime the lights dim and the previews start, but I really think the producers have failed to provide a movie that matches the wonder of the early films. Indy was practically an afterthought in the film, and the alien plot line stretched the incredible universe of Indiana Jones beyond credulity. 

From beginning to end, I was very disappointed that that visceral place of movie-going enjoyment was just never touched by this film.  That visceral place cannot really be explained.  It is a place that registers the movie-going experience without words.  It communicates to you that a movie is good even when you cannot explain why.  It also communicates when a movie is bad, even when words fail.  This movie just does not compare to the Indiana Jones mythos that was the pinnacle of my impressionable teenage movie experience. 

I suppose I would recommend a viewing on DVD, but it is hardly worth a theater visit.