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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

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    Review: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

    By kyle | May 24, 2008

    Kyle Smith review of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
    two stars out of four
    122 minutes/Rated PG-13

    “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is packed with fights and chases and comedy–but then so were the old Tom & Jerry cartoons.

    “Indy 4,” which is the worst Steven Spielberg popcorn flick since the forgotten “1941”–yes, it’s worse than “Hook”–is a series of campy comedy action scenes awkwardly linked by a dopey plot that brings together the twin fifties obsessions of Communists and flying saucers, along with a search for El Dorado, the lost city of gold.

    Like a petulant high school senior ripping down an old boy band poster that reminds her of the kid stuff she is sure she has way outgrown, Spielberg and producer George Lucas, who gets a story credit, seem to think they’re too good to revisit the original trilogy so they mock it instead.

    As with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and its first two sequels, the movie begins by blending the Paramount mountain logo into a matched image that starts the film, but this time its a molehill, and so many furry little critters appear in reaction shots its as if Spielberg thinks he’s making a sequel to “Caddyshack.” The only truly scary moment is a glimpse of the Play-Doh mask of plastic surgery that has replaced what used to be Karen Allen’s face.

    The movie begins in the Nevada desert, where a sword-wielding KGB agent (a ridiculous Cate Blanchett, doing some embarrassing Boris-and-Natasha shtick) has kidnapped Indy because of what he knows about a mysterious mummy hidden in the same warehouse where the Lost Ark was stashed at the end of the first movie. Ray Winstone plays Indy’s buddy, a fellow adventurer with a secret, but we never find out much about their friendship and consequently the Winstone character never has the slightest impact.

    Soon were in a chase scene set inside the warehouse that sets the tone for the whole movie. The supposed tension is repeatedly deflated with har-har one-liners, the stunts look more like computer simulations than something an actual mortal could pull off, and Indys success depends heavily on the stupidity and ineptitude of his pursuers.

    Not long later, after some half-hearted political content about the Red Scare (seemingly this was ordered up by Lucas, who gave us that clunky line about campaign finance reform in “Attack of the Clones; Spielberg, even when he is trying to be socially relevant, is about as political as Norman Rockwell), Indy is sought out by a young dropout named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf). Mutt wants help in finding a professor and mentor (John Hurt) who is also a friend of Indy’s and has disappeared in Peru. LaBeouf, who was well-cast as the nerd in “Transformers, is a bizarre choice to play a switchblade-wielding greaser; when he enters the film on a motorcycle decked out like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One, its as if Richie Cunningham raided Fonzie’s closet.

    For no special reason the two of them take off on a mad dash through the Yale campus on a motorcycle, and as much fun as it is to see the Old Campus and the Sterling Library pop up in a blockbuster, the sequence is too goofy to work as an action scene and not funny enough to be comedy. Where Indy spent the first three movies fighting for his life, here he easily brushes aside such baddies as, for instance, a guy holding a gun on him in the back of the truck whom he dispatches with a single kick. Often, he’s just lucky, such as when he goes over a giant waterfall as easily as if he’s riding the flume at Six Flags. His primary goal, it seems, is to work up not-quite-witty witticisms (asked if he has any last words, he says, “I like Ike;” borrowing from the “Star Wars series, he says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this, a remark that was not actually that sparkling to begin with and which Lucas really should have retired by now.)

    Even more distracting is LaBeouf’s hipster patter–“smog in the noggin, “what are you lookin’ at, Daddy-O? But perhaps the single worst line in a movie full of them goes to Blanchett, who takes time out from a swordfight conducted with LaBeouf on the backs of two speeding cars to quip, “You fight like a young man–qvick to begin, qvick to finish. As is often the case with Blanchett, she is not a scene stealer but a scene arsonist. She burns up all the oxygen around her.

    Spielberg used to delight in springing surprises. The scene in “Raiders in which Indy shoots the swordsman got perhaps the biggest laugh I’ve ever heard in a movie theater. This time, though, when Karen Allen reappears as Indy’s old lover Marion the big reveal turns out to be a piece of information that everyone in the audience will have guessed half an hour earlier. It’s hard to pay attention to anything Marion says or does anyway, so strange is the construction site of Allen’s face.

    The weak slapstick and perfunctory derring-do–Indy climbs in and out of various caves and crypts, get attacked by disposable savages–add up to so little that when the treasure hunt starts to look like a shaggy dog story its not so much a letdown as the fulfillment of a really boring prophecy. Weren’t we promised in the first frame of the movie that mountains would become molehills?

    Topics: Movies | 91 Comments »

    91 Responses to “Review: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull””

    1. jic Says:
      May 23rd, 2008 at 12:55 pm

      “Spielberg used to delight in springing surprises. The scene in Raiders in which Indy shoots the swordsman got perhaps the biggest laugh I’ve ever heard in a movie theater.”

      Spielberg didn’t plan that: Ford got the runs, and couldn’t perform the scripted action sequence.

    2. kyle Says:
      May 23rd, 2008 at 4:14 pm

      Well, that’s the legend. I don’t particuarly believe it. Ford also likes to say he does his own stunts.

    3. Anwyn Says:
      May 23rd, 2008 at 5:16 pm


    4. Ken Bendor Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

      I still say it doesn’t get any worse than “Hook” (featuring non-favorites Robin Williams and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell{!}) for Spielberg, the popcorn edition…

    5. jeremy echols Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

      there is no defense for anything about this movie. the dialogue was ridiculous, it wasnt clever or funny and it definately wasnt helped by the actors performances. i am pretty sure jon voight or james garner could have pulled off a better aged indy jones. i had the constant sence that nobody who worked on this movie cared about what they were making. even the cgi looked like a half ass video game. my fellow audience members were laughing up a storm as i set there feeling embarrassment and shame for them, and by them i mean the audience, spielberg, lucas, ford, etc…

    6. eshine Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

      Karen Allen hasn’t had a single bit of plastic surgery. This “critic” is probably thrown off by a woman in who 50s who looks like a woman in her 50s.

      Dumb review.

    7. Bill Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

      I enjoyed this review of Karen Allen’s face.

    8. John Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

      That is NOT a legend, Kyle. It’s a fact. They discuss it on the 2003 “Indiana Jones” box set. They spent hours choreographing a huge fight scene between the swordsman and Indy. Indy was supposed to take out his whip and battle him. Ford had been sick all day and had diarrhea, and when the moment came around to film the battle sequence, he pulled out the prop gun and pretended to shoot the guy instead. He intended it as a joke because everyone on set knew he was sick, but everybody thought it was hilarious and it ended up replacing the choreographed scene.

      I totally agree with your review, though. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wondered why there were so many prairie dog reaction shots – was there a point to the cutesy John Williams cue after Indy stumbles out of the fridge and stares at the rodent sitting there?

      The whole film was just a mess. I haven’t felt this disappointed in a sequel since “Spider-Man 3” — and even then, Spider-Man is just Spider-Man, and those films have only come about within the past decade so it’s not as culturally imprinted as Indy. To have a 20-year wait for a new Indy movie by the original creative team and have it be _this_ bad – it’s just a shame.

    9. Willy Steinmeyer Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

      This movie was an absolute dud! Please spare others who might be tempted to see this abomination. I paid $4 to watch ( a sucker is born every minute ) this poor excuse for adventure. Spielberg and Ford should take a cold shower and then vanish.

    10. Dana Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

      Um, Jeremy … If you’re going to bash Indy … Please use decent grammar and don’t be so freakin lazy that you don’t hit the caps key.
      That being said, I agree with Ken that it doesn’t get any worse then Hook and although there were a few parts that dragged, it was still fun ride.
      And it gets bonus points in my book for actually matching Indy with my favorite Indiana Heroine- Marian- and someone his age!

    11. Daniel Gentry Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 7:03 pm

      Your a funny man great review I allways get a chuckle out of reading you off the rottentomatoes site. Tom and Jerry..classic. Goes up there with “land octipi” that one got me too anyway your sarcasim is beatiful the only place i dont get is not liking 1941 the last scean with the house coming down the huge fight ..the genral watching Dumbo..I do get it friend Hook though I fully agree (I am assuming this film will suck I have not seen it yet but will today you seem to just be conferming what I already knew) anyhoot have to run I will write back and let you know what I think thats if I decide to waist ten bucks to be angry and let down.
      god bless stay cool dont mind the spelling consider it a game

    12. Daniel Gentry Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

      ps I didnt read I just typed side notes
      “I do get it” should say “i dont get it” anyhoot your a funny man and would be fun to go see a movie with and tear it apart after I just wish someone would make a decent film so no one would have too.

    13. Indy 4 Blows « Fibo Thinks Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

      […] out Kyle Smith’s review here. At least somebody is telling it like it […]

    14. indy fan Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

      wow this movie was terrible. reminds me of episode 1, it really weakens the series. even though i had somewhat lofty expectations on what the movie would be, I never thought it would be so bad, really dissapointing. I feel a little embarrassed for harrison and spielberg. wish I could unsee this thing, I love the first 3 indy movies. with all the connections these guys have you’d think they could afford a brillant screenwriter, they seem to have the dough for the fx…

    15. Galton Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 10:12 pm

      Not that I really care, but everything else I’ve read has pointed out that Karen Allen is unusual in that she has NOT had plastic surgery. In fact she basically left film acting altogether some time ago and runs a knitting and weaving business, which might lend some believability to this claim. In the recent photos I’ve seen of her in interviews and such, her face has certainly looked very natural–an attractive but normally wrinkly 50 something. Maybe she just had a really bad make-up job in the film (which I haven’t seen).

      O.K., actually Googled this out of curiosity, and the consensus seems to be that she might have had a nose job at some point.

    16. Dick Peter Johnson Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

      WOW!!! Even after all these many years, I’d still really like to screw Karen Allen’s stinky, smelly tushy!!!

      (The movie was total garbage though).

    17. Robert Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 11:53 pm

      I heartily agree with your assessment of this half-baked film, I haven’t been so dissapointed since God Father III. The “Caddyshack” reference is perfect – after the opening scene I couldn’t take the movie seriously; I thought it was parody. However, I did like the A-bomb test scene…

    18. Bearette24 Says:
      May 24th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

      Don’t know about the nose job, but the rest of her face doesn’t have a pulled-tight Heather Locklear look. I thought she looked normal.

    19. Dan Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 12:24 am

      Just a bad movie. I felt embarrassed to sitting there thinking why did they make this flop. It could have been really awesome. I thought Harrison Ford did a fine job with the script he was given but none of the other actors should have been in this movie. The part when Mutt is swinging from the vines like Tarzan made this movie seem like a Disney kid’s flick. I think “Raiders” had a certain darker believability about it which just wasn’t captured in this one. This film was silly and poorly written. No connection between the scenes and the action sequences actually at times seemed too long. What kind of movie makes you think, “this action sequence is just going on and on and is really lame?”…..a really bad, bad movie.

    20. Jacob Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 1:27 am

      I thought the movie was amazing…since when do great movies with great protagonists not have a little luck on their side? Luke Skywalker had luck on his side in the Star Wars movies! Marty had luck from the Back to the Future movies! What a terrible argument the writer makes here…

    21. Jen Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 3:28 am

      Yeah, say what you will about the story, but Karen Allen is clearly the most natural-looking actress you’ll ever see. Has it gotten to the point that you (the critic) are so used to seeing faces pulled back and up and eyebrows lifted and foreheads frozen that you can’t recognize what a real face looks like any more?

    22. Jin Lee Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 4:22 am

      Yeah, I was disappointed, I didn’t enjoy recognizing the video game alike CGI effects on an Indiana Jones movie and I hated the last scene where that Indi was watching the spaceship taking off which was so poorly done.

    23. Ricardo Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 10:40 am

      I feel your pain on this one Kyle. I was pretty let down by this one but feel that the casual movie goer will eat it up. The whole thing feels like it was phoned in. After 19 years you’d think they’d put some more passion behind it.

    24. Ben Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:46 am

      The comments about Karen Allen’s looks are mean-spirited and unnecessary.

    25. robbie Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

      this reviewer seems to be the type that only likes serious dramedy movies on the IFC channel. He seems to have absolutely destroyed the lightheartedness in his soul. The comment about the stunts being computer simulations further illustrates this writers ineptness

    26. Dave Mac Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

      I recently had a childhood dream realised when I was invited to a fancy dress party. There was no need to think about what I wanted to be – Indian Jones. So at 37 years of age, I place the Panama hat on my head and felt like a million dollars – proud to wear the whip and jacket.
      Shame Harrison Ford couldn’t say the same thing.
      Something someone else said in a previous review comes to mind – I wish I could unsee this movie. What a total let down. To say the acting was wooden would be a compliment. How little chemistry was there between Ford and Allen? I can’t remember any script from the movie at all, it was that memorable. It reminds me of so many other disposable experiences – SW Episode 1, Highlander 2, Jaws 3 – I just wish it had never been made as it has sullied the legend that is Indy.
      I’m going to have to watch Raiders 10 times now to get rid of the taste.
      Oh dear.. No wonder Sean Connery decided to stay in retirement. Sensible man.

    27. Glen Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

      Your review was right on. Except, the comments on Karen Allen’s face brought it down. The movie was too much like being on an all too familiar amusement park ride. Predictable, canned, safe. Seemed like just one long, loud chase scene designed to press our thrill buttons, and not engage us in storytelling, character development, surprise, or suspense. Does damage to the Indiana Jones series.

    28. Eric Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

      The audience gasped twice during Indy IV. First when we get the initial face shot of Indiana Jones. Folks, I’m here to tell you that the reports Ford aged gracefully are rubbish. With his sagging jowls and gray stubble, he looks like the town wino. Add to that sad sack appearance the fact that he’s been nabbed by the bad guys while kicking around the Mexican desert with a seedy sidekick and the answer to the question “What ever happened to Indiana Jones” is answered, depressingly. The second gasp came when the weird-looking Karen Allen shows up. I loved Ms. Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In some scenes in Indy IV she look her old effervescent self, and in others she seems to have aged 30 years. Sometimes both in the same scene! As for the movie itself, it is unspeakably bad. Some reviews have tried to defend Indy IV by saying it’s unfair to compare it to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Perhaps. Raider is one of the all-time great movies, and that judgment does not need the word “adventure” as a qualifier. OK then. If this movie is to stand on its own, it must then take its rightful place alongside Ishtar and Waterworld. The action sequences lack tension. The humor is not funny. And the plot is a nonsensical mishmash. What people forget, perhaps, is that the plot for Raiders, while outlandish, DID make sense. There actually was (at least there was written to be) an ark of the covenant, and Hitler actually was a nut about the occult. You know Indy IV is in deep trouble early on when we hear that the Russians are going around the globe digging up old mystical relics (hmm, wasn’t that same line, almost verbatim, used in Raiders to describe Hitler?) And the self-plagarism doesn’t end there. Many of the action scenes in Indy IV are almost carbon-copy duplicates of better scenes in Raiders. It’s time for Indy to retire. In truth, that time was 20 years ago.

    29. Balin Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 10:57 pm

      Um, Dana … If you’re going to criticize someone’s grammar … you should know that “…” isn’t the same thing as a comma … so you sound pretty hypocritical.

      And I should point out that sentences that begin with “And” are actually fragments, not complete sentences.

      That being said, I agree that Jeremy should learn to spell and use the caps key. 🙂

    30. Balin Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

      Ditto to what Ben said. The only thing more sad than aging actresses that use surgery to look younger are smarty-pants blog authors who think they can make their movie reviews sound hip with “clever” ridicule and personal insults.

    31. Patrick Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

      “Cate Blanchett is… a scene arsonist.”

      Wow. I have never laughed as hard as I just did at a line in a movie review. Was it just me or did Ford come off more as a failing Steve Martin when he tried to execute “witty” dialogue?

    32. Zelda Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

      Yep, I agree that the movie left something to be desired, but you are dead wrong about Karen Allen. As others have already stated, apparently you were put off by the fact that she has NOT had plastic surgery like many of her peers. She looks exactly as a woman of her age should look, wrinkles and all. Your comments were a low-blow.

    33. Brian Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

      Haha your review was perfect, this movie sucks. I find it hard to understand how the “professional” critics of rottentomatoes have given this film over 70 percent good. My dad and I were both like are that was awful as soon as it was over, so boring, action scenes so pathetic and just stupid. After it was over I said that might have been good if you were 8, my dad said ” that might be pushing it” ha.

    34. Cyberduud Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

      Indy Fan, I hear you when you say “I wish I could unsee it”… That’s how I felt while leaving the theatre. The Riders was such a special move to me where I felt “butterflies” watching it when it came out in the 80’s, the perfect mix of magic, action and fun… I was so hoping that Lucas/Spielberg will come up with something extraordinary. They have the minds and the money. Instead, I felt embarassed and emptied out by the movie. What a shame. What a shame!

    35. Joe Says:
      May 25th, 2008 at 11:50 pm


      It is about time somebody said it. This movie sucked. It sucked bad.

      Your review basically took the words right out of my mouth, and put it on paper – Blanchett’s Rocky and Bullwinkle homage, the stupid and predictable plot, the absurdity of the relationships and stunts. And I completely agree about the CGI – it was so over the top to the point that it just because stupid (the same exact mistake, by the way, that Lucas made in the three new Star Wars movies).

      The jokes were so obvious and dumb that you already knew the punch line before they even made the joke. The stupid B.S. with the skulls and the flying saucers was ridiculous – it honestly made the melting Nazis in Last Crusade seem plausible (and by thew way, I LOVED Last Crusade). And as for the entire story – what, actually, was it, again? What were the Russians doing there, other than for the “insert anonymous U.S. enemy of the moment here” in the script? And what was the whole point of Karen Allen, honestly? It would have just saved all of us about 10 minutes of this abomination called a “film” if she could have just walked across the screen like the pin-up girl at wrestling matches with a sign reading, “Hi Indie, this kid is yours.”

      Probably the single biggest movie disappointment I’ve had in years.

      What were George and Steven – two geniuses, no doubt – thinking?

    36. Elizabeth Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 1:33 am

      Anyone who calls Blanchett a scene arsonist, certainly can’t be taken serious.

    37. Donavon Cawley Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 1:42 am

      One of the best film reviews I’ve ever read. Spot on.

    38. blake Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 2:12 am

      This is one of the biggest disappointments in movie history.

      I honestly thought it was a ‘fake’ beginning, as if there was a movie made about his life and it was going to cut back to the real movie. It never cut back. Horrible dialog. Not one moment of real suspense. The lighting and staging was so gawd-awful. I think it was written as a pure marketing piece for teenagers and baby boomers. The humor was WORSE than bad sit com humor.

      The movie did not take the viewer seriously, so I could not take the movie seriously. I would have walked out if I was not with my parents who I was visiting.

    39. mark Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 2:45 am

      Saw this film last night and right from the opening scene i thought this is going to be a dud of a film,and i was right. In a film i like some plausibility. I mean how far in the air did that fridge travel and Indy just gets out unhurt. Ray Winstones character was totally pointless, Blanchet annoying and Ford looked like he was just going through the motions throughout the film, and Spielberg had to have his close encounters alien ending. A terrible film franchise ruined again just like starwars was.

    40. Scribe Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 6:28 am

      Great review – can’t believe rotten tomatoe rated this 79%. Unbelievable. Everyone that walked out of the movie were in shock, they just couldn’t believe what they just saw. It was like watching ET, national treasure, indie and hogans heros combined. absolute shocker….. shame on steve and george.

    41. buruboi Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 8:47 am

      oh wow! Your lambasting of such a horrid work is relieving to my many frustrations and unmet expectations with this film ( it seems anything George Lucas touches turns to coal). Thanks!

    42. George Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 11:39 am

      Hey geezers! Try overcoming being crabby and bitter. This is a fun Saturday morning pulp action movie, not “No Country for Old Men”. It’s so easy for self-agrandisizing miscreants to criticize a movie that is just good ol’ escapist fun!

    43. Ash Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 11:40 am

      Wow what can I say. Prior to seeing this film I sat down with my 6 yo son and we watched Raiders together. I was his age when I first saw Raiders way back in the day. We both loved it. Action, suspense, comedy. Truly a fine film.

      We then went to see Crystal Skull and I felt truly let down. Apart from the A-bomb scene there was absolutely nothing memorable about this film. The CGI was so terrifically bad I was left speechless. Bringing Marion back was a nice surprise but that is about the only thing Speilberg got right on this one.

      We own the 3 disc Indy set and my son and I are going to pretend this 4th film never existed. Harrison did everything he could with this limp noodle of a film….I just can’t understand why they would bother to make this schlock after 19 years? With all the resources available today this should have been an excellent addition to the series….all I can say is WTF where they thinking?

    44. Illinois Jones Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 11:58 am

      I just saw the movie and must agree with Mr. Smith. I was waiting on it to slow down and actually tell a interesting story but it never did. They claim that this movie is for Indy Fans, but it’s a slap in the face to true Indy fans. I know Lucas will believe that criticism is unfair, but come on, they didn’t even try to make this a good movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be Raiders, but I wasn’t expecting Howard the Duck either. It seemed like someone picked up cutting room floor scraps to piece a movie together. And the climax to the movie? What in blazes was that?? It’s like they just got tired of writing and wrote a bizarre climax to end it. I was highly disappointed. You would think after 19 years and all the creativity that Spielberg and Lucas have, that they would have come up with better. As disappointed as I am, I would like to see them try it again, but this time please get it right.

    45. cc Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

      The movie was great, you are way off-base. I’m guessing your type of flick must be “moving” films like American Beauty or The Ice Storm.

    46. kyle Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

      To the viewer who said the stunts were not computer-generated:

    47. face Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

      The first review that got it right.

    48. Glenn Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

      Just a quick note on the pure implosibility of the script… hiding in a lead lined fridge is probably not going to save you from an a-bomb, but especially when you stumble out unscathed (despite several bumps, spins and twirls in the air — that’s one great fridge seal in that it didn’t open through all that) and then stand there and watch the mushroom cloud… um… anyone hear of fallout? The heat from the blast, as well as the fallout after only half a minute after the explosion would have melted him to “liquid Indy”… that was easily the most unbeleivable scene in a series of really bad scenes. Please pry the screenwriter’s pen out of Lucas’ hands… he hasn’t written a decent script since Star Wars (1977).

    49. Yargo Says:
      May 26th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

      For beginning sequence outside the warehouse, I honestly thought Ford was being dubbed – the reading of the bad script so horrible that it could not be really spoken.

      The movie was terribly bad, I completely agree with the deep end you mention they all fell off.

    50. John Dz. Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 1:21 am

      I need to get this off of my chest. To all those who feel that George Lucas is a genius…you’re insane! The man has the most undeserved successful career in Hollywood! He made 3 good movies: THX1138, American Graffiti, and Star Wars. That’s it! His talent peaked back in 1977. For Empire Strikes Back, he wrote the basic story premise…did not write the screenplay, did not direct. This man cannot direct or write his way out of a paper bag. He had beginners luck and that’s it. Luck and the fact that he is the “Legendary George Lucas of Star Wars Fame!!” Boy, is he riding that horse to death. Please let the man retire so that he can start an ostrich farm or something. And as for Mr. Spielberg…I can’t even talk about him right now. I need a nap.

    51. John Dz. Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 1:37 am

      I forgot to actually review the film 🙂
      First, no chemistry between Ford and Allen. I blame the writer and director. They did not have any quiet scenes together. In “Raiders”, they had at least 3 that I remember where they could fall back in love and we could get to know them. In this film, they hit the ground running and they never have the chance to get to know each other. Second, Ray Winstone’s character (the best friend/side kick) was a complete waste of time and screen. Why does it seem like every big director believes that, for sequels, bigger is better and then populate the screen with TOO MANY characters? Spiderman 3 did it. Batman 3 and 4 did. Keep it down to just 2 or 3 main characters and tell us their story. Ray Winstone was pointless. Finally, this is just a personal peeve, but Indy only used his whip twice in the whole movie (throwing the handle to Ray Winston does not count…we call that a rope.) Speaking of which, during the moronic quick sand scene, where was Indy’s whip? Instead…a snake….really? Everything else that is wrong with the film has already been discussed so I will leave you now.

    52. matt Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 5:29 am

      Wonderful review. Much more fun than the movie. Thank you. Agree 95%

    53. Deelite Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 9:51 am

      Never raising more than a smirk in places – it’s a shame to see Indy looking so tired and reluctant. Ray Winstone and John Hurt were an absolute waste and Blanchett would have been better playing a henchman rather than the main villain. The plot is silly but then so were the others but they had charm and grace. Why make this film really? Spielberg still has stuff in the pipe I’m sure – Lucas on the other hand should be barred from writing a script for the rest of his life.

    54. catriona Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 11:37 am

      the problem with karen allen wasn’t cosmetic surgery, it was the fact that she grinned maniacally throughout the entire movie. for people used to the rictus of plastic surgery frozen faces, it is an easy mistake to make.

    55. jic Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

      “The heat from the blast, as well as the fallout after only half a minute after the explosion would have melted him to “liquid Indy”…”

      You’re probably right about the heat of the blast (I haven’t seen the movie), but there would be hardly any fallout “only half a minute after the explosion”. Fallout is the radioactive dust generated by the explosion. It takes a while to start settling. Perhaps you mean radiation, not fallout?

    56. Scott Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

      Haven’t seen the movie but after reading all the comments – I really will see this movie! You people are all idiots! You just want to bring something down because it seems to make you feel good – give the guys a break – they are like 100 years old! YOU make a movie after a 20 year break and try to make EVERYONE happy! We should be happy Harrison makes it through alive! Relax and enjoy the ride – and give us a break from the same old tired comments that every moron can leave on these sites. I can’t wait to see it and if it’s bad – so be it – but damn! You people need to relax!

    57. Roman Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 2:44 pm

      This movie is terrible, now I am adamant nay desperate to see what Frank Darabont and Speilberg had concocted while Lucas was away. He had written a near full script when Lucas returned from the shooting of episode 3. Subsequently he fired Darabont and hired David Koepp who finds new ways in which to dissapoint me. Steven has been known to make good films but he’s also made some stinkers, but for god sake he’s got to stand up for the writing. He’s got to stand up to lucas and fire koepp. He has to direct the damn thing so demand more Steven. This movie was a waste of time and money, except where there studio is concerned. Dumb from start to finish.

    58. Darren Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

      man u guys dont no when its bad this movie was realy bad no fun like erlier fliks just succked effects were not good man dont waist time on this spelburg needs 2 quit now cuz its over man

    59. Roman Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

      worst movie of the year – that I didn’t want to see coming

    60. Mary Ellen Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

      I was truly BORED by this movie! An Indy movie should be a rollicking good time. I could even forgive the lame plot if it at least once I was on the edge of my seat, laughed out loud or gasped in amazement. I loved the original movies. However, this movie never engaged me. There was never any chemistry between the actors. Harrison Ford really looked old the first 15 minutes of the movie. As a 50-something female, maybe this made me feel old too. At the end of the movie I felt sad and slightly betrayed by Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas. The theater was absolutely quiet at the end — no laughter, no clapping. BTW: My 16 year old son thought the movie was OK.

    61. 5646 Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

      It was easier to watch the monster burst through John Hurt’s chest in Alien than watch 30 seconds of history’s worst ever film. Move aside Caddyshack II, we have a new low point in cinema. A better title would be “Alien Ishtar National Treasure”.

    62. Rebecca B Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 7:57 pm

      I don’t know. I normally would have waited for cable (it seems obvious to me that this sequel would suck) but now I feel compelled to go see Karen Allen’s face and see if Kyle got it way wrong.

    63. fred Says:
      May 27th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

      I thought the movie stunk as well, but lay of the chick’s face. She looked ok to me.

    64. Joe Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 1:30 am

      wow, you were disappointed? by 20 years of expectations? no way. no freakin’ way. i mean, lucas and spielberg have obviously only been working on this new indy movie that whole time, they couldnt have been up to other things, so i dont know why they didnt deliver.

      wait a second… wait… that’s right.

      it was good. i’m 26 and a filmmaker and i thought it was good. try to remember that they werent trying to just make a movie for jaded people who’ve changed their ideals (YOU are different, not indy), but one that a younger crowd could enjoy. that’s when you got into the first three, wasnt it? when you were a kid?

      besides, indiana jones has always been over the top, and this movie was no different than the others.

      admit it, it was fun. be a kid again.

    65. Samir Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 1:44 am

      What a pathetic excuse for a movie…Mr. Lucas is a shoe-in for the Golden Rasberry award…you all have done a good job describing the most painful scenes…my question is, would it not have been wittier and funnier if Indy’s son had the same fear of snakes as his dad, rather than using a snake (??) to get out of the sand…true that is cliched, but still better than everything else they tried….also what was up with Cate Blanchett??? Was she supposed to be psychic?? What a terrible mess…wish I could unsee it too.

    66. George Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 6:13 am

      Well-done review. My own criticism of the movie is that it’s impossible to summarize! Everything but the kitchen sink was thrown into it…A-bomb tests, Communist witch hunts, 50’s punk kids, UFO’s, Area 51, “Close Encounters…,” “Midnight Express” (courtesy of John Hunt’s performance),superhero-style chase sequences, comic-book looks, etc. But what did you guys who critize this movie expect? “Casablanca”?

    67. Scott Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 8:37 am

      OK – saw the movie last night and it was AWESOME! True, there were some rough moments (the alien thing towards the end was weird) but overall the feelings of hearing the Williams score throughout the movie and seeing Indiana Jones in his old garb was truly inspiring! How unamerican to say that this movie “sucked”! It was great and anyone who reads this CRAP about it being bad should see for themselves. If you truly liked the other Jones films, you will love this film. It is filmed in the old style and is truly a great film. Everyone else who hated it – shut up and let people decide for themselves! It’s great and a lot fo fun!

    68. Mo Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 9:27 am

      I agree with George.. I think many of us have become truly jaded and can’t enjoy what this movie is. A good lighthearted romp. It’s not meant to be the next oscar winning mega movie. It’s Indiana for god’s sake.

      The movie follows the same formula as previous efforts, and for that it gets lambasted? Do we want to see a jaded realistic Indiana on screen?

    69. Ken Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 9:53 am

      In response to Eric’s post, I find it hard to believe that people gasped during the initial face shot of Indiana Jones. Is seeing a 66 year old shocking? Even if Ford does look his age, so what? People age and so should characters. Also, we all know what Ford looks like anyway. It’s not like he hasn’t been scene in 20 years. The statement would make sense if he dropped out of existence and the first shot was of toothless bald guy who is 100 pounds heavier. Also, he always looked somewhat of a wino. I remember watching the scene in the Temple of Doom when he was in a suit eating those bugs my mother saying he looked homeless.

    70. Jack Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

      Indy 4 IS NOT a perfect film but deserves much more then these crap reviews.This boring “writer” is just projecting his negative feelings into a work that can’t please everybody.Get a life.

    71. Tommy Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

      I remember walking out of Last Crusade with a laughing, raucous audience who were high on adrenaline and good cheer.

      Walking out of Crystal Skull was almost silent, aside from the few people who managed to say things like, “What the hell was that?”

    72. Cathy Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

      Actually, Karen Allen looks like she has NOT has plastic surgery. Your comments were ugly and unecessary. Karen is a very pretty lady who looks her age — *gasp!!* Apparently this is too much for you too handle.

      What is really creepy are these 50 and 60-something actresses who have gotten so much work done that they look like they’re from another planet. Newsflash — everyone gets wrinkles and saggy skin. I mean everyone! So if you see an actor or actress with perfect skin it’s not because they have some amazing beauty secret or a fountain of youth in their backyard, it’s because they’ve been frantically nipping and tucking and liposuctioning and botoxing hoping to spare themselves mean-spirited comments from people like you. Between the surgical procedures, proper lighting and the wonders of the soft lens, they can continue looking ‘young’– on camera at least — for years after they’d pass inspection in the actual flesh.

      Kudos to Karen for letting herself look her real age. Guess what, Kyle — your wife/sister/mother should be so lucky to look like Karen at the age of 56!!

    73. jic Says:
      May 28th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

      Am I crazy, or are #s 20, 25, and 70 all sock puppets for the same person?

    74. Maddawg Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 1:12 am

      DO NOT believe any of the positive reviews above. I read above that fans of the first three would have ahem, “rolicking fun” at this film. What’s fun about having your hard-earned money swiped from your pocket? I’m not some weird film buff in a plaid jacket touting “Out of Africa”. I’m an Indy fan, and LOVE a good popcorn blockbuster. Fun, no. Try insulting. Pixar seems to be able to tell a good story with ENTIRELY CG. What’s the problem, here? LUCAS. LUCAS. LUCAS.

    75. Paz Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 7:26 pm

      I love action films, if I’d gone on my own i would’ve left after the retracting steps scene.

      The start was ok if stupid, the graveyard scene was classic Indy and genuinely chilling. But everything else around it was goofy and stupid. The action was played too much for laughs killing any tension. The cart chase in Temple was far fetched but it wasn’t really played for laughs and had moments of real tension.

      You can tell the film makers are struggling when there are a lot of ‘Woah’ moments. The car goes over the edge of a cliff, all the cast shout ‘woah’, it goes over a huge water fall ‘woah’ and again ‘woah’ and again ‘woah’ and then down a gap in the temple ‘woah’. I actually shouted ‘get on with it’ but was drowned out by the constant crash bang wallop a lot of action directors think is required to make a great action film.

      Patronising, childish and annoying. I am an Indy fan and an action film fan. I tried to sit and enjoy it but there was too much wrong that i couldn’t just paste over the flaws with general enthusiasm, unlike the people who like it. Just my opinion which i’ve tried to justify above.

    76. joey churro Says:
      June 24th, 2008 at 3:31 am

      ok look- i am 49 yers old. i was 14 when raiders came out, it ws the greatest movie i had ever seen up to that point, i own thedvd boxed set of all 3 indie films. i watch them all at least once a year. i am a big kid at heart & love a goo escapist movie. but people- this movie was “craptacular”. i mean c’mon- abombs? some kid swinging ike tarzan on a vine, & cathcing up w/ cars moving 50 mhp? 3 waterfalls? the entire climax was putting a skull on an alines skeletal body just so a vortex could open up & wisk a ufo into outer space? say what? come again? dudes hanging out in in a grave yard in themiddle of the night wearing masks? who were they waiting for? seriously? this movie cost 150 million dollars! 150 million dollars! at least 100 million to market! this was a 2 hour cartoon! i’m not tlking bout the classic arner bros crtoons but the early 70’s hannah barbara cartoons! i will never, ever, see another spielberg, lucas or harison ford piece of cinematic propaganda again! this movie made me want to puke blood! who ever liked this movie over the age of 7, your freaking retarded.

    77. joey churro Says:
      June 24th, 2008 at 3:32 am

      i made an error- i am not 49, i just turned 40. ok. good.

    78. Rick Says:
      June 24th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

      You forgot to write about the part where Fonzie swings from vine to vine, and gets right back into the jeep! And the part where they drive off a cliff and there is a God-placed tree that bends just enough to let them lightly land, and then swings back to knock the baddies off the cliff. Wow…that’s some good luck!…and the corniest Spielberg stuff yet. He should be ashamed.

      My opinion is that it would have been a good movie, if only it were just half as exciting.

    79. John Says:
      July 4th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

      This is one horrible movie. And it’s “popularity” points out the gaping, mouth-breathing problem with today’s movie goers. They easily accept lack-luster and pathetically written cinema as easily as they do their dinners at McDonalds and their purchases at Walmart.

      Every piece of **** film that is released is accompanied by the apologists who cry “What do you expect? Shakespear? It’s a popcorn movie and not supposed to be some Oscar-worthy movie”. That is complete and utter bull****. There is NO reason why a film like this can’t be “Oscar Worthy” and yet remain fun at the same time. Raiders did it (while on the topic of Indy). Quality and fun shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

      The script was garbage, the directing terrible, there was NO sense of danger and the whole movie played out like some rehearsal for a fan film. Blanchett’s “villain, a term applied loosely, was horrible. She was about as menacing as an angry fortune teller at the carnival. Indy was fine, but he was surrounded by fools. Mutt’s character was completely un-wanted, Marion was a joke with her smiling and posturing at the fact she was “acting” again, and the rest of the “crew” was pure fat in a film that was already bloated.

      Spielberg is a fantastic director, and he should feel nothing but shame for this piece of dreck. He should also seriously consider never speaking to Lucas again as his fingerprints were all over this mess. The fact that this “film” has made piles of money is very sad but not unexpected.

    80. Kal Says:
      July 14th, 2008 at 8:00 pm

      It’s helarious to me how ugly men like to pick on women for not bowing to the rediculous pressure to look young.

      Uhm, Kyle, have you looked into a mirror any time recently?

      Karen Allen is a natuiral beauty with a million dollar smile. At 56, she is still one of the most attractive woemn working in movies.

      And she has stated many times that she would never “volunteer to let someone cut up her face”

      Bravo, Karen!!

      But you, Kyle, are just plain ugly – inside and out…

    81. Alexandria Says:
      August 6th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

      I think that the new Indiana Jones was great and I can’t believe that anyone would ever compare a legendary character and a childhood hero to a Tom and Jerry cartoon! This new Indiana Jones is just as funny as the first three and the cast did great. I had never seen any of the first three movies until The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out. Now they are my favorite movies and I whach at least one a day if not more. I LOVE this movie, but apparently Kyle can’t see past the difference in age wich really doesn’t change anything. Indiana Jones is still and allways will be a great movie

    82. colonel Says:
      August 13th, 2008 at 5:09 am

      Where do I begin? This was a really bad movie. First, look at the lighting. Everything is so well lit, with perfect three point lighting. Remember how Raiders looked like a film? Sometimes characters stood in the shadows. This entire movie looks like it was shot on a sound stage.
      None of the stunts look real. The CGI was ridiculously obvious. The lines were phoned in and the dialogue was terrible. How about when Indy and Marion are sinking to their deaths in quicksand while having a light hearted witty argument.
      Where’s the sense of danger? When a car goes off a cliff in Raiders it makes your stomach drop because it looks real. Everything in this one looks like a cartoon.
      The twin jungle roads (where’d they come from? That giant tree clearer/path maker was destroyed, but there’s still a road?)) where the sword fight took place? It’s obvious the jeeps are in a studio. There’s no sense of speed.
      How about Mutt swinging through the dense jungle with monkeys, then somehow catching up with the cars, then the monkeys know to attack the bad Russians!
      And then all the references to the other movies. Do we really need this? Couldn’t this one just stand on it’s own? Do you have to show the lost ark in a warehouse? And I thought Indy was kind of an anti-government kind of guy? Now we find out he spent WWII working for them?
      I was 11 when I saw Raiders and I appreciated the fact that it had adult elements. Sometimes someone would swear, sometimes it was violent, Harrison Ford never seemed to be acting. What happened?
      Well, I don’t want to be a jerk, but when Lucas and Spielberg made Raiders, they were in their thirties and still at their creative peaks. They knew what was hip. Lines like “Truck? What truck?” were cool. Now Lucas is a satisfied, out of touch, rich dad, and he ain’t cool anymore, and his movies show it. They got old, especially Lucas. I’m sick of having to go down nostalgia lane with Lucas. Quit highjacking these characters. They belong to us now. Pass the torch to someone who can run with it.
      Look at the lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. Kids can enjoy them, but they still have a certain weight and relevance about them. The Crystal Skull was pure camp.
      I’m not a snob, and I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but this is ridiculous.

    83. me Says:
      October 6th, 2008 at 1:49 am

      Wow, colonel, ash, in fact most of you really said what I was thinking too. It is so sad to see this happen. I don’t quite understand why this would happen? It happened with the new Superman movie too, and a lot of other movies I’ve seen in the last several years in fact.

      Surely they are in a position where they can pick and choose only the finest script? Or have a whole team of top-of-the-line writers come up with a script with them? Perhaps their egos prevented that. I don’t know. I don’t know anything about the movie business, nor do I want to. I just know what is great and what is very not great. This is the latter.

      Also, someone mentioned above (in a good reply) that some would say it isn’t fair to compare it to Raiders because Raiders is a classic. But why would that be? How can it not be fair? Raiders was made by people with a decent budget, and this was made by people with a decent budget? It would only be unfair if that movie had some kind of advantage, and it didn’t. It was a classic because people made it into a classic. This could have been a classic too, but people didn’t make it into a classic because they are lazy or incompetent or deluded egomaniacs, or all three. If anything, it should be easier to make a classic today, because they have all the experience of all those past films, they have seen what worked to become a classic, and they have a huge budget. They should have been able to do far better than this. I hate to think they have done this to such a classic movie franchise. It has cheapened the whole thing. I will prefer to pretend it never happened.

    84. Kristin Says:
      October 22nd, 2008 at 5:57 pm

      Dude, you are right on the money; this review rocked. This movie was awful and a HUGE disappointment…there were no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

      The worst part was when Indy, a tenured professor of archaeology, says “nucular.” (shakes head)

    85. Tony Says:
      November 20th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

      The tone for this movie is set from the very first few frames. The iconic fade from the studio logo to the grand distant mountain in the first film is replaced in Indy 4 by a gopher hole. How appropriate. The metaphor is almost perfect: Scale down your expectations. A LOT.

      As with an earlier reviewer, I wish I could unsee this movie. I did not see it in theaters because I saw part of the waterfall scene in the trailer. I knew right then then that we were going to get Temple of Doom Indy instead of Raiders Indy. But I had no idea how far out of touch Spielberg and Lucas actually were.
      This movie was an abomination, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever to any Indy fan over the age of thirteen.
      If you did like this movie, let me suggest some more you will enjoy:

      Superman 3
      Superman 4
      Jaws 3
      Jaws 4
      Godfather 3
      Star Wars Episodes I thru III
      Batman 1 2 3 & 4
      Any movie where Earnest Goes somewhere
      National Treasure 1 & 2
      Lara Croft
      Die Another Day
      Any Jim Carrey comedy

      Happy viewing, mouth-breathers! As for the rest of us, lets just hope The Dark Knight will be out on DVD soon.

    86. candace Says:
      January 5th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

      I just caught this movie tonight on pay-per-view. I want my $4.99 back. I am amazed that there are positive reviews out there. Surely they were paid off. Thank goodness for this review which captures my feelings exactly. A real stinker of a plot, dialog, and acting.

    87. Etienne Says:
      January 10th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

      I loved ‘Raiders’. That said, I have only seen one inferior sequel prior to ‘Crystal Skull’. I think it’s safe to state that I am not a Indy fanboy.

      When I entered the theatre to view the latest ‘blockbuster’ from George Lucas, all that I honestly wanted was to be mildly entertained for two hours. Instead, I suffered a cinematic torture I never thought possible. I have seen many horrible movies, and I have cursed certain directors, on occasion. Never before did I feel as violated and insulted as with this moronic film. I could almost feel George Lucas’s ghostly fingers in my pocket as the plot (what plot?) got progressively catastrophic.

      For all the rabid fans of ‘Crystal Numbskull’, I would suggest that you take time to watch ‘Idiocracy’ – it is a film where people like you rule the future. Hooray!

    88. Etienne Says:
      January 11th, 2009 at 10:56 am

      Just to add: Kyle’s review is witty and to the point. Rotten Tomatoes is smelling distinctly rotten by rating this trash 76%. I also found Karen Allen a bit distracting, in a disturbing kind of way. And it is not due to the lack of plastic surgery, mind you. She just looked too frumpy to be an action hero’s love interest.

    89. Ted Says:
      April 2nd, 2009 at 2:53 am

      I am 48 and feel like I grew up on the 3 Indiana Jones and original Star Wars movies. I love these movies and they are part of my cultural experience. But this IJ4 is a travesty. The review is spot on as are most of the comments- the movie, plot, action sequences, dialogue – everything was tired and sad. Actually, worse than sad – pathetic would be better since Spielberg and Ford are so skilled at making movies. What happened here? I think Lucas is tired and out of touch with what is fresh, sharp and relevant. I believe that he insisted on this script and Ford refused to join if he had to wait much past his 60 years old. So Lucas must have gotten his way over Spielberg/Ford. An earlier commentator is right – these characters belong to us now and Lucas should have handed them over to someone less self satisfied than himself to bring new life into. Hopefully he will allow the rights to pass on and in another 10 years (like Batman 1 with Bale) we’ll get another entry that will breath new light into the genre. I am really disappointed by this and I too wish I could unsee it. George – you are too insultated at Skywalker ranch up there in Marin. It worked to get you out of the Hollywood BS all those years ago but you’ve lost the touch. THX, American Graffiti, Star Wars – man you could write. Hope you still have one or two good ones left – you’ve got to get back to your roots George!

    90. Nate McKendrick Says:
      June 4th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

      I’m glad somebody else hated this movie as much as I did. I saw it on opening night- what a let down! Lucas and Spielberg don’t have any mojo left. They should take their money and use it to produce movies but should stay away from writing and directing. The new Indy royally sucks and so do Star Wars 1-3. LUCAS YOU SUCK! SPIELBERG YOU SUCK TOO!

    91. John Says:
      October 29th, 2010 at 2:27 am

      Very disappointing film.

      Expected so much more – didn’t watch it for 2 years because of the horrible reviews.

      Finally got around to it and yes, it’s as awful as everyone says.

      Not a good comment about Karen Allen’s face – it was mean-spirited. I don’t think you’re that kind of guy – we all have these days, but you should rethink writing those comments. It may hurt a good person and she’s seems nice.