Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) - 2-Disc Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Comedy / Science Fiction
Paramount || PG13 - 122 minutes - $39.99 || October 14, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-10-06


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson (story), David Koepp (screenplay)
Cast: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent


Theatrical Release Date: May 22, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Indiana Jones Timelines (BD Exclusive)
  • The Return of a Legend
  • Pre-Production
  • Production Diary: Making of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • The Crystal Skulls
  • Iconic Props
  • The Effects of Indy
  • Adventures in Post-Production
  • Warrior Makeup
  • Closing: Team Indy
  • Galleries Section
  • Pre-Visualization Sequences


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

What a disappointment this turned out to be. Oh man. I skipped this in Theaters (like I do most releases) to wait and watch it on Blu-ray so I could enjoy the film on my own - so I wouldn't have to hear popcorn crunching, babies crying, or seeing the dim light of a cell phone as someone sends a text message. Not, after seeing this... film, I wish I had seen it in theaters just to see the reactions on peopleís faces as the film went from bad to embarrassing bad. What the hell were Lucas and Spielberg thinking?

As most may remember, the plot of the film was kept secret until the film came out in Theaters. We knew it involved a Kingdom, some skulls, Indiana Jones and his son (played by Shia LaBeouf). That's it. Many went into the Theaters hoping for an amazing movie - kind of like how Rambo IV was or even Die Hard IV. But alas, it was not.

I'm going to do the best to describe the plot because to be honest, I'm not really sure what it really was. Apparently Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his colleague Mac (Ray Winstone) have been captured by some Soviets led by Col. Dr. Irina Spalko (Kate Blanchett) who in returns wants forces Indiana to locate an item in a the big, giant warehouse filled with artifacts. After doing so, he finds out his friend has double-crossed him and Indiana manages to escape in typical Indiana fashion.

Eventually Indiana gets fired from his day job and while on the train to leave the city for a new teaching job a young greaser named Mutt (LaBeouf) finds Indiana and convinces him to help locate his mother and father (or something like that). From there we join Indiana and Mutt who visit several different places looking for his mother and father as well as locating some Crystal Skulls that appear to be alien in nature and... yawn. Yeah, I actually started nodding off towards the end of the film. I eventually did go back and finish watching it but I'm still unsure what the hell happened.

So much went wrong. Why is Indiana Jones, the bad-ass from the 80's, hiding inside of a refrigerator? Wasn't that a plot from Punky Brewster (Apparently it was - Season 2, Episode 16)? He's fifty years old and he's hiding inside of a freaking refrigerator in a nuclear testing zone. Then, we get a huge explosion that launches Indiana (still in the fridge) hundreds of mile into the air and that have it toppled down a small mountain. Guess what... he's unharmed! Ugh.

Aside from that, we have several other scenes that seem to go a little bit too far in the unbelievable territory. We have Indiana leaping on to a motorcycle all while dragging his feet and with a few quick movies *BOOM* he is back on the bike in his typical suave way. Now... probably the most brutal scene in the film. While fighting on moving vehicles, Mutt manages to get stuck inside some vines. But don't worry, there are some friendly CGI monkeys that show him how to vine-swing ala Tarzan and he manages to do it so well he catches up with two vehicles (which are traveling at very high speeds). Huh? How the hell does that happen?

Is there anything redeemable about the film? Yeah, I suppose itís great to have a little bit of fan service with the likes of several mentions of previous films and some characters returning (Indiana's dad in a photo and obviously Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), but aside from that, you won't get much enjoyment from the film. Itís a complete disaster in almost every way and if it wasn't for the fact that I like the previous three and want a complete "collection" I would dump the Blu-ray in a New York minute.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD.

Indiana Jones Timelines (Profile 1.1/2.0 Only) - A nifty little text/graphic feature which presents us with three different options (History, Production and Story) and allows us, the viewers, the gain a bit more information on the film and Indiana Jones himself. Most of this is covered in the Special Features below. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

The Return Of A Legend (17:34) - Presented with interviews from the big three (Lucas, Ford and Spielberg) this feature gives us an idea on what the process was of getting the 4th installment made.

Pre-Production (11:44) - A rather boring little feature that shows some of the pre-production of things like costumes for Ford. Yawn.

To finish off Disc 1 are two theatrical trailers.

Disc 2:

Production Diary: Making 'Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull' (1:20:52) - The meat and potatoes of the special features gives us a look at almost every factor of the film - from the filing locations, to behind the scenes information all the way to the end of the film. By far an amazing feature that any Indy fan is going to want to watch.

The Crystal Skulls (10:10) - Apparently these things are real? Well, we get a look at the making of the props as well as some "behind the scenes" information on how real they are. Kind of lame actually.

Iconic Props (9:59) - Even more information on some of the other props used in the film.

The Effects Of Indy (22:42) - Another featurette that feels like itís just an extension of the "Production Diary". Will Paul Huston goes into great detail... itís just a bit drab.

Adventures In Post-Production (12:44) - An interesting little feature that goes into the editing process of the film.

Also included is a Galleries Section (The Art Department, Stan Winston Studio, Production Photographs, Portraits, Behind-the-Scenes Photographs), Warrior Makeup (5:34), Closing: Team Indy (3:41) as well as some Pre-Visualization Sequences (Area 51 Escape (3:51) Jungle Chase (5:47) Ants Attack (4:29)).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes storming to Blu-ray presented in its Original Aspect Ratio of 2.35 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 50GB Disc. Right from the THX start (and it looks awesome!) you will notice just how well Indiana has made the transition into HD. Colors are very vibrant and blacks (for the most part) are very dark and inky. The only disappointment here is that sometimes the HD makes some of the CGI look just a little to fake (the monkeys). But other than that, you should not have any issue with this transfer.

Paramount has included an English Dolby 5.1 TrueHD track as well as standard Dolby Digit 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish. Just like the picture, everything sounds as it should. From the monkey's making their annoying sounds, to gun fights to the chase through the jungle this is as close to demo material as you will get from an Indiana Jones flick. I do however think some scenes felt a wee bit flat (mainly the beginning) and the volume tends to fluctuate just a bit too much for my liking. Don't worry, you'll still get a very meaty lossless experience.



.::OVERALL::.

What is there left to say? Crystal Skull is just a bad film all around. While there are a few highlights, I can't see myself every wanting to go back and re-watch this mess. However, the Blu-ray has excellent picture and audio quality as well as hours of special features that will make any Indiana fan (including several clips of the original trilogy in HD) goes nuts. My final take - if you love Indiana Jones buy this. If you're a casual fan, rent it.