Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

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It’s always a tricky proposition when you try to bring back a cult favourite with the lead actor on the wrong side of fifty. Case in point: Terminator 3 and Rocky Balboa. That of course was not a cause of concern for Steven Spielberg. He had bigger issues. His leading man Harrison Ford was far from fifty, he was 64! Whether or not Ford should reprise his role was a topic of many a heated discussion amongst long-standing Indiana Jones fans. But fear not, Harrison Ford does total justice to his part as the whip-cracking, mild-mannered professor who is actually a relic hunter. To be honest, he’s brilliant.

It was 1987 when we last saw him as Indiana Jones. Twenty years hence, both Indy and Ford have aged gracefully. That’s not to say that the action has been toned down. No sir! Indy still cracks his whip with the same charisma as a couple of decades ago and boasts of a physique that would put actors half his age to shame. Even at sixty-four Ford looks absolutely at ease as Indiana Jones. Young Shia LaBeouf as the Harley-riding greaser Mutt Williams provides adds the humour dimension to this movie with his youthful arrogance and his knack of landing himself in trouble. Cate Blanchett playing Irina Spalko, a top KGB agent who is touted as the apple of Lenin’s eye is a perfect blend of beauty and evil. The direction is spectacular as expected; it’s Spielberg after all. It must be said however that there is a distinct E.T. and Star Wars hangover in this movie but that’s not surprising considering it’s a Steven Spielberg – George Lucas collaboration.

The special effects are up to the mark, even in some of the over-the-top sequences. But the humour throughout the movie stands out. Also spare a thought for Karen Allen and John Hurt who have done their best within the limitations of their roles. All in all, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull meets the standards of a high-class Spielberg movie and is a worthy addition to the Indiana Jones series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

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Un-Breaking News

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For those of you who wish to pursue a career in serious journalism in India, the time is perfect……to cry tears of blood. The ‘news’ in India as we know has transcended ‘bad to worse’ to a point where we can’t even believe it’s news anymore. Rajdeep Sardesai, one of the few remaining serious journalists in India called this trend ‘Chaddi Banian News’. I personally wouldn’t even be that respectful to them .

If you thought that crass news bulletins were limited to the ‘Breaking News’ sections of Aaj Tak and India TV, you’re obviously way out of the loop, my friend. I shall present my favoritest news stories on TV in recent times for your ‘viewing pleasure’.Like they would say on Aaj Tak….’Coming Up: Breaking News!’ (because apparently breaking news can now be predicted).

(I) – The Tales of the Uddan Tashtaris….or Yoo Eff Oh!

There were times when I was a kid when I would watch documentaries on Discovery and Nat Geo about the alleged UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico and so called alien sightings all over the world and wonder, ‘How come our extra terrestrial friends never visit Indian skies?’ Somewhere in the early 2000s I believe Rakesh Roshan too saw one of these documentaries (after watching Spielberg’s E.T. Of course) and gifted India it’s very first solar powered midget in a yellow robe – Jadoo. Now bear in mind we live in India, a land where movies are taken very very seriously. In fact my mom tells me about times in her childhood in Borivali where her neighbours would carry Aarti thalis to screenings of ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ and throw coins at the screen when the aarti song came along. That was in the 70’s, so you know how much more retarded we must have become as a nation with time.

Getting back to the point, there was no way on earth we could believe that Jadoo wasn’t real. There had to be more like him flying about in our skies like low cost airliners these days. Enter Aaj Tak, India TV and other Chaddi-Banianers.

Every ‘unusual’ light in the sky was now an alien ship. Uddan Tashtari, Yoo Eff Oh, Phlying Saucer, Unidentified Idli call it what you may, we saw them all. Cool no? One day Jadoo is definitely coming I tell you (braces solar lamp and waits patiently).

(II) – Of Bad American Accents and Rebirths…

Boy-Dexter RajeshOkay so maybe the unusual idli shaped lights were Diwali lanterns from a distance, but there was no way this next story could be false. A boy named Rajesh Kumar from Bilaspur village in Saharanpur of UP, India. broke his 5 month long silence and started to talk in heavily accented, gibberish-laced English (a language he had apparently never learned) and claimed he was the reincarnation of an Amreekan scientist Wallace Regart who had died long ago in 1966.He also claimed that he had forgotten how to speak Hindi. The Chaddi-Banian Brigade quickly jumped at this unbelievable story and soon our Boy wonder was yapping incoherently one every ‘news channel’. Now considering our Chaddi Banian Brigade can speak ‘phlawless Ingliss’, this kid’s bad call center angrezi was mind blowing. The news channels soon started to appeal to the government to give financial aid to this kid so he could establish a state of the art laboratory and ‘make India proud’. Apparently, he had a mind blowing theory in mind, and half a dozen other great inventions, none of which he mentioned. Super hit no! Soon phone calls started to pour in and the reborn scientist answered a string of ‘Kaisa mehsoos kar rahe ho’s’ in his inimitable style. The process went on till prime time when the channels started to air their updates of ‘reality shows’ and the usual gibberish. Next day, the unthinkable happened. They revealed that the kid was no reincarnated scientist, had no Hindi amnesia, no nothing. He was the son of a ‘mentally-unstable’ man who just watched a couple of Hollywood movies and started to imitate the accents and cooked up this story. Liar! Chor! Hypocrite! How dare he mess with our gullible minds?, the news channels cried. Next week, they brought in an ‘expert doctor’ who said that the child was indeed a reincarnation of the scientist, but by that time a new Rakhi Sawant news story was available. And that is how India lost one of her most promising young scientists.

(III) – Breaking News : Starring Britney Behenji.

Aaj Tak as they claim, are Sabse Tez (The Fastest). In fact they are so fast that the headlines have a hard time catching up with them. But they keep their foot firmly on the pedal and keep going more and more tez. Apparently, one 24 hr news channel was not enough to house their continuously breaking news. Hence they launched a channel strictly for Breaking News called….you guessed it, TEZ! Cool no?

Somewhere far away in Amreeka land, Britney Spears was providing filler stories for our American Chaddi Banian counterparts. About 2 months after her divorce, head shaving and subsequent depression, the ‘breaking news’ hit Tez squarely on the face. Suddenly two month old baasi news was Breaking News. Hence it became imperative to run an hour long background on ‘Brit-Nay’, explaining to the junta how she rose to fame, with her ‘kaatil adaas’, her ‘latke jhatke’ and ‘awesome gaayaki (singing)’ at the baali umar of 16. They even aired rushes from her hits like ‘Baybee Van More Time‘ and ‘Upps I Deed it Agenn’. Then came pyaar and takraar and phinally depression. Brit-nay went over the edge and shaved off her ‘zulfein’. Then she put on a lot of weight (they showed her MTV VMA performance to prove the same) and somewhere into the 3rd hour it was announced that Brit-Nay’s career was in jeopardy. But she rose from the ashes with ‘Gee-Mee Mor‘, for which they undoubtedly ran the video as well, complete with captions like ‘Fir se aayi saxy adaayen!’, ‘Waah Britney, Tumhara Jawaab Nahi!‘, et cetera et cetera).

You may wonder why I just wasted your time running this story which was already baasi. Well I guess all I can say to that is ‘Upps I deed eet agenn’ muhahaha.

 

(IV) – Khali-Bali.

No no no, I’m not talking about our favorite Qawali with the same name. I’m talking about the bestest thing to happen to Indian ‘sports’: The Great Khali! In a time where Harbhajan’s monkey business and Sania’s skirts aren’t enough to grab eye-balls, Indian sports needed a saviour – a 7 foot 2 inch savior. For those of you who actually have got your hopes up right now, deflate them NOW. Khali is no phast bowler to rival Brett Lee, nor is he the next Leander Paes or Bhaichung Bhutia. He is a…..wrestler! Not the ones who do Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the Olumpiks, but the Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan types that all of us had posters, stickers and trading cards of when we were children. He is a wrestler from the WWE; the show we now watch for the Bikini Contests and the WWE Divas (while silently reassuring ourselves that The Undertaker really rose from the dead and what not).

On days when we sucked at cricket, the news channels ran footage of our ‘Mahabali from Punjab’ bashing goras half his size, flaunting his championship belt, and even ran a story of his vertically challenged look alike wrestling partner Chotta Khali. They even called him up and interviewed him and started SMS campaigns to cheer him before big fights. The frenzy reached a height today. WWE has an upcoming pay-per-view event called Armageddon, where The Great Khali has to face 5 other ‘pehelwaans’. So the news channels have been interviewing the great man himself for the last week as he complains about lack of sleep and constipation due to nervousness and asks people to pray for his ‘victory’.

We Indians as usual complied to the great man’s requests and hence today, there have been Maha-Yagnas and Havans all over India to pray for Khali’s victory over the other pehelwaans.

Here’s wishing Besht of Luck to him! Chak De Khali….our pseudo sportstar!