Currently Streaming On: Hulu, Epix, and Amazon Prime Instant Video
(Please note: This is current at the time of publishing in June 2017. Movies come and go from streaming services all the time so visit justwatch.com to see where (or if) it’s currently streaming)
Best for: People who liked the original Indiana Jones films but aren’t picky
The past decade or so has seen Harrison Ford riding waves of nostalgia towards box office success in sequels to Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the soon-to-be-released follow-up to Bladerunner. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a film that somehow managed to be both a critical and commercial success, as well as a controversial, polarizing film that saw hordes of Indy fans turn on George Lucas and Co.
It can be a tricky balancing act to release a movie sequel decades after the originals left theaters. When dealing with material many fans revere as a sacred part of their childhood, it can be easy to turn them against you. You can either hit a sweet spot that seems like a long-overdue homage to the classics while still managing to successfully pass the baton onto a new generation of heroes (as in The Force Awakens), or you can alienate fanboys by veering too far away from the source material (as in the Ghostbusters reboot).
Crystal Skull ended up being more of the latter. While I found it to be an otherwise passable popcorn flick that hit all of the same beats you would expect from an Indiana Jones film, the devil is in the details. Namely a few notable scenes that will have you asking- did they really just do that!? Without spoiling anything there is an infamous scene involving a refrigerator that might make you want to throw the remote at the TV. There are also a number of supernatural elements to the plot of the film that might seem odd and out of place if you haven’t watched the original films in a while.
The filmmakers went out of their way to get a classic 80’s feel to the film, even opting for classic stunt work as opposed to computer generated stunt “actors” that are common in other modern films. Yet there is still quite a bit of CGI that looks a bit fake and takes you out of the nostalgic experience. Plus Karen Allen returns as Indiana Jones’ love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark in a performance that’s pretty lame, and Shia LaBeouf’s character seems to practically drown in 1950’s greaser stereotypes that seem more fitting for a middle school production of “Grease Jr.” than a major Hollywood film.
Many people saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when it was released in 2008, but many others didn’t. If you are among the uninitiated, I would recommend watching this at least once to see where the further adventures of Indiana Jones ventured to. Unlike the all-time classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, however, that one time will likely be your last.
I give the movie: 2.5 out of 5 stars