Greetings Everyone!

I’m sorry for not keeping my ESCAPESEEKER page updated–but it has been an absolute whirlwind of activities since I landed in Paris on May 9th to begin our ESCAPESEEKER ‘Road Adventure’ through Frances spectacular countryside, complete with a 10-day stop at the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL on the French Riviera to review this year’s cinematic offerings!

I’m happy to report that with the exception of two minor mishaps during our road adventure–Holly Rowe and yours truly, have thus far experienced an absolutely unforgettable journey. I will expound on that a bit later–the publications I write for get first dubs on my written report, so I have to wait until after their publication. However, I can share my take on this spring’s highly anticipated comeback of INDIANA JONES!

If you haven’t seen it yet, you might be interested in my review, written right after its world premiere press screening at Cannes.




By Mel Gee Henderson

Cannes, France—The instant the lights went out, the cinephiles at the Cannes Film Festival who were privileged to be amongst the first to see the highly anticipated adventure of the whip-toting, punch-packing, snake-hating, globetrotting archaeologist with a fedora, began humming the familiar Indiana Jones theme song in unison, which added even more buzz and excitement as the sound vibrated at the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which opened to an international audience at the 61st Cannes Film Festival.

It’s the Fifties and Indiana Jones returned! It happened at Ghost Ranch, north of Santa Fe, in the stunning and desolate desert landscapes of New Mexico where director Steven Spielberg assembled his finest creative team to bring back to life his two favorite genres: aliens and historic events. Be prepared to experience a demonstration of the latest in special effects as the film is loaded with CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), and spectacular stunts so over the top that it would have been difficult even for the younger version of Indian Jones! But as Harrison Ford pointed out to the press when asked if he did his own stunts, he responded, “I don’t do stunts, I do physical acting!” “Crystal Skull” is definitely physical as it relentlessly takes the audience on a wild non-stop adventure as old Indiana Jones survives a kidnapping, shoot-outs, auto crashes inside a mysterious warehouse, a ride in a desert rocket and an A-bomb detonation—and that’s just in the first 22 minutes! If a state-of-the-art action/adventure film made possible by the best advance-technologically trained team that big studio budgets can buy is what you’re looking for, then “Crystal Skull” will not disappoint. What Spielberg fails to deliver, however, is the same Indiana magic wit and romance that hooked an entire generation 27 years ago! The new version never allows the characters to pause long enough to connect with one another. Even as old characters, like Indiana’s original flame, Marion Ravenswood (Karen Allen) returns with a huge surprise for Indiana—they’re too busy surviving the non-stop calamities to emotionally connect and what should have been a monumental moment in Indi history is entirely lost.

In “Crystal Skull” Indiana loses his teaching post during the communist phobia of the 1950’s and persuaded by a young Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) to take off on a vague adventure in South America to save his mother and retrieve the Crystal Skull of Akator. The trip takes many turns as the duo is chased by a spy, George “Mac” McHale (Ray Winstone) who changes sides from being with the good guys to joining the bad guys several times during the movie; there’s also a Soviet villain Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) dressed in black skin-tight fencing attire (and we never really find out why or how she became such a villain); and lastly, there’s the jungle dweller, former Professor Oxley (John Hurt) who has lost touched with reality, but still manages to keep up with the gang, even as he is often the one left holding the Crystal Skull as it changes hands between Indiana and the Soviet army who manages to stay on their tracks!

After the first hour, the film begins to feel really long. The characters survive multiple fight scenes, machine gun fire, scorpions, monkeys, huge snakes, quick sand, massive waterfalls, and finally a secret city—combination Mayan/Aztec—and did I mention so many chases that it gives you the incentive to cry out “Enough already” during the movie! And through all of this, Indiana survives without even a nick on his fedora!

In Crystal Skull, Spielberg acknowledges that he returns with a familiar theme often addressed in many of his films, the reuniting of the nuclear family, something Spielberg admits is a reflection on his own personal family experience.

As the film opens worldwide on May 22nd, huge audiences hoping to find the return of their favorite witty archeologist will have to dig deeper this time around. But, hey, unite your family anyway, because I’m betting your curiosity will get the best of you, and you’ll drop the bucks to see if Indiana Jones can still get your adrenaline going! Try to enjoy the ride—and if you don’t, no worries, I predict the secret Mayan/Aztec city is certain to become a Disney ride that will get you plenty wet!

Cast: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Shia LaBeouf.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: David Koepp
Story: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
Executive Producers: George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy

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