utterly spoiler-free review of the new Indiana Jones

It’s basically crap. Ultimately, the problem with the film is that it is directed by Steven Spielberg.

The thing about Spielberg is that there are two of them: There is the Spielberg who does action and adventure better than anyone alive, and then there is the Spielberg who cannot resist the opportunity to wallow in a big bucket of velveeta.

On his good days, like Raiders, Jaws, parts of Private Ryan, and so on, the first Spielberg wins over the second. On his bad days (pick your film), you get maudlin squared and all kinds of nonsense with kids.

The first sort of movies are absolute classics. The second type are so obviously garbage (like AI) you can see them coming a mile away, and they are easily avoided.

The big problems arise when neither Spielberg wins. Instead of the highs of Raiders or the lows of AI, you get paint-by-numbers actiony flicks with no adventure, and no romance. This Indy film is being compared to Temple of Doom, but I actually like Temple. Mola Ram is a great villain, Kate Capshaw brings some sex apppeal, and the dinner with the Maharaja scene is a classic.

This one barely has three acts — it just starts with some preposterous chases and explosions, and keeps getting more preposterous until it just ends. In that sense, its closest relative is something unforgettable like Minority Report.

Should you see it? Of course, if only because maybe they’ll try again. But don’t get your hopes up.

The one bright spot is Shia LeBeouf as a wannabe greaser. Dude’s got talent.

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