Pilot at the Movies

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'Indy' comes back

Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood might have been speaking for us all when she set eyes on Indiana Jones for the first time in years.

Her caustic greeting to the archaeologist-adventurer in 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark": "Indiana Jones. I always knew someday you'd come walking back through my door."

It's been 19 years since Indy literally rode off into the sunset in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," but like Marion, could anyone doubt that the world's most famous tomb raider would come back into our lives one day?

For 27 years, Indy has stood as one of cinema's ultimate Everyman heroes, a poster boy for the idea that there are some good men you can never, ever keep down.

"He's a real guy. He's just like us," said George Lucas, who dreamed up the character and re-teams with director Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford as Indy for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

The long-awaited film opens nationally May 22, and in Storm Lake, the Vista III offers a special advance showing at 12:01 a.m. next Thursday.

The new movie co-stars Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko, a Russian operative with crisp black bangs who's after the Crystal Skull of Akator, an ancient artifact that could help the Soviet Union dominate the world.

Ray Winstone plays a new Indy ally, and the film also co-stars John Hurt and Jim Broadbent.

"Raiders" fans are thrilled over the return of Karen Allen as Marion, while Shia LaBeouf plays Indy's new rebellious young sidekick, Mutt Williams.

Though the filmmakers have been tightlipped on the plot, the era - 1957 instead of the 1930s - fans speculate that Mutt may have a special tie to Indy and Marion, and even that aliens could be involved.

"Crystal Skull" has the same idea behind the action, presented in the Indy-making-it-up-as-he-goes-along style of the earlier films rather than the glossy computer-generated imagery that makes most of today's action spectacles look as slick as a video game.

"We did it sort of old-school-style," Ford said. "In the action area, it was pretty much done for real."

Indy's quips are wonderfully quotable: "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage" ... "X never, ever marks the spot" - and, informing passengers after tossing a Nazi out of a zeppelin, "No ticket."

"Raiders" was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and Indy placed second on the American Film Institute's list of all-time movie heroes, ahead of James Bond, Superman and Ford's "Star Wars" character, Han Solo. So why do it again? "You only do it because it's a fun experience to do, and we love the movies," Lucas said. "We're doing it primarily because we want to see it. I want to see it, Steven wants to see it, Harrison wants to see it."

* Rated PG. Run time 2 hours and 2 minutes. Opens May 22