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INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Archeology professor Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford) is thrust back into action in 1957 when a young man who calls himself Mutt (Shia LaBoeuf) turns up with a letter from a woman in Indy's past (Karen Allen), together with notes in a dead language from Indy's old colleague, Professor Oxley (John Hurt), which trigger a search for mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. But Indy and Mutt soon become entangled in a Soviet plot engineered by psychic researcher Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) to find and use the secret power of the Skulls, and even old colleague Mac (Ray Winstone) isn't much help.

Review by Louise Keller:
Recapturing the joyous spirit of the original adventures, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull allows an invigorated Harrison Ford to re-don his dusty hat and adventure his way through a string of sticky situations, while retaining his sense of humour, wit and think-on-his-feet physicality. Ford is in great shape and well countered by chameleon Cate Blanchett, whose steely Soviet agent Irina Spalko craves knowledge as capitalists crave gold. David Koepp's screenplay contains just the right balance of character and action, while Steven Spielberg is totally in his element, directing with all the polish we have come to expect but with the added injection of boyish enthusiasm.

The time frame is firmly positioned to 1957 when the Cold War plays out its chill, Elvis' Hound Dog plays on the radio, and Shia LaBeouf's young rebel Mutt with his leather jacket, comb and flick knife looks as though he has ridden his motor bike directly from the set of The Wild One. The film's pitch starts high in an impressive set piece on a remote nuclear testing site in Nevada where a plastic population emulates middle America before the boom. First we see the hat flung on the desert sand. Then John Williams' rousing four note theme teases us before the camera rests on Indy himself, with designer stubble and wry crooked smile. 'You're not from around here,' he says, pointing out the obvious to Blanchett's immaculately groomed Irina with the piercing blue eyes. From the blast of a nuclear explosion to the academic classroom we travel to a mythological Amazonian city where Indy aspires to solve the riddle surrounding the mystical powers of the Crystal Skull of Akator.

The stunts are big, bold and stunning. There's a motor cycle chase, a sword fight on the top of two fast-moving jeeps in the jungle, a giant snake and rescue from a quagmire, cascading down three giant waterfalls, swinging on Tarzan vines, man-eating giant ants, hazardous precipices and more. But beyond the action is the film's heart which comes in the form of its inimitable hero and surrounding characters. Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood reappears from (Raiders of the Lost Arc) as Mutt's free-spirited Mom, Ray Winstone as Mac whose greed makes him unable to decide on which side he is, and John Hurt's Professor Oxley, who spends most of the time uttering indecipherable murmurings, having been brainwashed by the powers above. It's wall to wall spectacular action in spectacular settings as Williams' magnificent music theme helps sweep us away, which, like the franchise itself, shows how ably it has lasted through the test of time. Appealing to young and old, Indiana Jones is back - and it was worth the wait!

Available on DVD in single, 2-disc editions and on Blu-ray, special features include pre-production features, production diary, special effects, pre-visualization sequences, galleries trailer and more.

Published October 30, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
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Mixed: 0

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL: DVD (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBoeuf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent

PRODUCER: Frank Marshall

DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg

SCRIPT: David Koepp (story by George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Janusz Kaminski

EDITOR: Michael Kahn

MUSIC: John Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Dyas

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures Australia

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 22, 2008

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: DISC 1: The Return of a Legend / Pre-Production. DISC 2: Production Diary: Making "Crystal Skull" / Warrior Makeup / The Crystal Skulls / Iconic Props / The Effects of Indy / Adventures in Post Production / Closing: Team Indy / Pre-Visualization Sequences / Galleries / Trailers.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

DVD RELEASE: October 30, 2008






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