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Thank God Lucasfilm and Spielberg decided not to go with this title. Still, the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise involves–you guessed it–extraterrestrials. Originally Lucas wanted the swashbuckling archaeologist battling Martians a la cheesy 1950s pulp fiction. Spielberg and Ford said no. Who could blame them?

Through our well-established connections among the Protestant elite (not really), Melissa and I saw “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” at an early screening in our local theater. Not bad, actually; the film was better than I expected. Yes, Harrison Ford looks ancient. Yes, Shia LeBeouf doesn’t really carry the bad-boy persona well. However, the plot lines and the action sequences were top-notch. It was fun reliving the Indy Jones universe, even though its set in the late 1950s and the evil Nazis have been replaced with evil Commies. Cate Blanchett plays Irina Spalko, Dr. Jones’ nemesis and Soviet badass in her quest for the Crystal Skull. Karen Allen reprises her role as Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s original heartthrob in “Raiders of the Lost Ark“.

Kudos to Spielberg for successfully bringing back that campy-but-not-overdone feel to the Indy franchise and putting together a film that is (probably) Indiana Jones’ farewell cinematic finale.

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