I remember the first time I saw “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It was in Lawrence, and I watched it with my parents. The movie just had been released. It was 1981.


I remember the first time I saw “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It was in Lawrence, and I watched it with my parents. The movie just had been released. It was 1981.

The opening sequence was the most exciting I had ever seen up to that point. The large rolling rock that tried to squash the archeology professor matched the roundness of my stomach. I was very pregnant with my first child, Rodger.

After the movie, my parents and I ate at a burger place near the theater. We joked about how my dad’s life was like Indiana’s. My father is a geology professor. (He’s never had similar experiences — I’m guessing no college professor ever has had experiences like those of Indiana Jones.)

Well, my son Rodger now is 26, and so is the Indiana Jones legacy. Harrison Ford must’ve been 39 when the first Jones movie was released, because now he’s 65.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which was released last week, is the fourth Indiana Jones movie to grace the world.

It only seemed fitting I see the show, which I did Monday night, with Rodger, who now was sitting two seats away from me. My middle kid also was there. After we settled into our seats at the Chisholm Trail 8 Theater at the outlet mall, I looked around. The theater was packed. Nothing like blockbuster material to do that. (As of Tuesday, Rodger had already seen the movie three times.) The movie made $311 million worldwide during the long weekend.

The flick opens in Indiana Jones chase-scene fashion with some crazy kids trying to drag-race soldiers along a desert road, before the soldiers veer off for official duty. We don’t know it, but Indiana Jones is in this scene — in the trunk of a vehicle. At the beginning of the movie, we see the famous fedora before we see the man.

As the title suggests, the movie centers around the Crystal Skull, with an older and wiser Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. (Ford) and greaser, motorcycle-riding, knife-flipping “Mutt” Williams (Shia LaBeouf) teaming up to find Professor Oxley (John Hurt), a former colleague of Indy’s, and chase after the Crystal Skull. Of course, there have to be bad guys. Soviet Union soldiers, led by Nathasha-like (from “Rocky and Bullwinkle”) Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) are hot on their tails, attempting to obtain the skull for a mind-control plan.

The movie plays into Jones getting older, as he falls down in a few spots, and Mutt refers to him as “Gramps.” Although Indiana’s hair has gone from brown to gray, he still is macho and very resourceful, although he doesn’t seem to be as sarcastic or swaggering. Ford did many of his own stunts, I read, and kept fit by working out at a gym three hours a day and eating a diet of fish and vegetables.

Those who love Indiana Jones chase and fight scenes will not be disappointed, because there’s quite a few, even one involving giant ants.

Without going into too much detail, this movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, is “Indiana Jones” meets the “X-Files.” It gave Spielberg the opportunity to combine his interest in the extra-terrestrial with Indiana Jones. M. Night Shyamalan of “The Sixth Sense” fame was one of the script draft writers, according to Wikipedia.com. David Koepp’s script satisfied Spielberg, executive producer George Lucas and Ford.

I give this movie a thumbs up. It’s not deep, and it doesn’t peer into the emotions and hearts of men and women, but it does a great job of being a rough-and-tumble action flick. I don’t always want to watch a deep, artsy movie. In this flick, there’s romance, humor, drama, plenty of chase scenes, bad guys, good guys, strong men and women characters (although somewhat two-dimensional), guns, the famous Indiana Jones whip, one atomic bomb explosion and the return of Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen. She was the only good romantic match for Indy, anyway.

One thing in the movie that bothered me was Indiana Jones’ pants in his first appearance on screen. His pants seemed to be made of very expensive, fancy, non-wrinkly material that probably wasn’t invented in 1957, when the movie was supposed to be taking place — at the height of the Cold War. I’ve never seen a professor wear those kinds of pants; they seemed more suited to a rich Hollywood actor. I liked all of the other costumes, however.

But — one thing I was afraid of didn’t happen. I was fearful the movie would rely too much on special effects, making the movie about the special effects instead of about the personalities of the people involved, the plot and the action (think of the last three “Star Wars” movies.) I thought the effects just enhanced the movie.

I was not bored once during the 124 minutes of the movie. It also had a great soundtrack.

I really enjoyed the dialogue between Jones and Mutt. Let’s just hope there’s an Indiana Jones 5 in the future.

Wendy Nugent is the lifestyle and Play editor, and assistant photo editor at The Newton Kansan.