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Review: 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

Spielberg can certainly work up an action sequence, but this by-the-numbers installment is a little too pushily 'iconic.'

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It's been 19 years since the last Indiana Jones movie, which helps explain the hysteria leading up to the release this week of Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." For the past month you couldn't open up a paper, surf the Internet, or turn on the TV without hearing about this film – this event.

For those of us who do not regard the series as the pinnacle of Hollywood action-adventure escapism, all this hoo-ha may seem like a bit much. But then again, the three previous installments – "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" – made $1.2 billion worldwide. The ka-ching factor is so high that it's no wonder pulses are racing.

The Indiana Jones movies began as salutes to the cheapo Saturday-afternoon serials that Spielberg and series producer George Lucas devoured as kids. But there's nothing cutrate about the budgets for these escapades. "Crystal Skull" weighs in at $185 million. I usually make it a point to review a movie, not its cost. But that's a lot of wampum for what is essentially – well, a Saturday-afternoon serial. These Indy films are not indie films.


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