That's my two word review of Indy 4.
No, seriously, hold on, lady, we're going for a ride.
I'll start where everyone's left off, as we're all in not so tacit agreement on the thing which does not work:
The A Number One fiasco of this whole ordeal, the script choice, can be blamed on Jabba himself, George Howard the Duck/Star Wars Christmas Special Lucas, through and through. His rejection of four different scripts, each penned by a consecutively more renowned screenwriting hotshot, was his first mistake, never mind the fact that Spielberg gushed for Darabont's draft. If you're not listening to STEVEN FUCKING SPIELBERG when deciding on what script to use for your update of a perennial favorite, you're beyond all rational consideration.
So, that being the case, Jabba Lucas sent Boba Koepp on a mission to find the flimsiest story arc he could to suit Lucas's need to, I guess, computer animate a few more prairie dogs for infantile comic beats.
Seriously, is that it? Did Darabont/Gaghan/Shyamalan/STOPPARD not include enough opportunities for prairie dogs to houtini like Jawas? Seriously?
Never mind. I'd made my peace with that awhile ago. When I first heard they were even bothering, post sunset-riding-into after the Cavern of the Crescent Moon, my reaction was "why?".
I went in with low expectations, and had to deal with the lack of a story, the lack of much dramatic momentum (even Temple of Doom has a dramatic appeal), lack of real danger (mostly). In short, I had the same problems the rest of you have had.
Spielberg had to be tied to this project kicking and screaming, and it must seem to many like he just gave in and said what the heck, it'll be fun.
On to what's good:
IT IS FUN. Ahem. Aside from all those caveats, everyone performs well, and Spielberg makes this thing fun to watch in spite of all Lucas's attempts to trash the experience for us.
I've never seen this sort of thing happen. A director of unmatched skill, energy, boyish enthusiasm and heedless talent steps up, takes a bad script and decides he's going to make it fucking DANCE. And that's what the film does. The script is mechanical, Spielberg isn't. Spielberg's task this time around is to wander through a mechanized cave of Lucas/Koepp's booby traps, and he sorts them the fuck right out.
The drag-race segment is one of the coolest intros I've ever seen to a movie. Spielberg's camera keeps developing that scene and every subsequent scene in such an exuberant visual crescendo I wanted to applaud the showmanship alone.
I didn't feel like it was an exercise for him. He seemed to be having fun he couldn't have working on films like Munich, an infinitely better film though that may be.
There are other good things I could say about it, there are other bad things I could say about it. I wish Spielberg had directed the Star Wars prequels, because he has a better eye for incorporating CG with actors and an overall palette than Lucas ever will (admittedly, the ending drowns in CGI, falling apart almost before it starts rotating)
The first three films in this series are too imbedded in my consciousness to be altered by the flaws of this film. If the SW prequels had been anywhere near this good there'd be many less bruised and bleeding fanboys out there.
I had fun.