Last night Brandie & I had our first New Zealand "Date Night", got a sitter for the girls and went to see Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at The Embassy Theatre in Wellington with our friends Scott & Nadine.
The Embassy was built in 1924 and remodeled in 2003 for the Return of the King premiere. It is big, grand and gorgeous, and seats 1749 people. It reminded both Brandie & I of the Kodak Theater you see on the Academy Awards television broadcasts.
The theater has assigned seating, so after you buy a ticket you don't have to worry about getting back in line to secure a good seat. There's a cafe in the lobby that serves beer, wine and hot food along with sandwiches and pastries. We shared the spring rolls and samosas with sweet chili sauce, paired with an Emerson's Oatmeal Stout. Along with your popcorn and snacks you can take a glass of wine or beer into the theater to enjoy the film with. It's definitely the best movie-going experience I've ever had, and we weren't even sitting in the 'platinum' section.
Anyway, onto my impressions of the film (SPOILER ALERT! Don't read past the jump if you haven't seen the movie yet):
After thinking about it for the past day, I have to say my lasting impression is simply that it was fantastic to see Indy back on the big screen in a new adventure. Great action scenes, great characters - it definitely felt like the same Indy, even given the lapse in time since the last film.
I loved the motorcycle chase scenes through the college, the tension and subsequent brawl in the soda shop. In fact my favorite sequences (aside from the rescue from the sandpit, which was awesome!) were in the college-town setting. It was great seeing Indy's house again, and seeing him pack up for another adventure on a different kind of note. The photo of Indy's dad even worked for me, as did the wedding scene at the end.
On the down-side: the story was too loosely knit, and connections made too quickly. It all just kind of conveniently happened in-between action sequences, without feeling like any effort got put into it. Indy's good luck, the thing that saves him time and again in the earlier films is taken too far, to where it felt like they were invulnerable and that nothing could harm them. Indy wouldn't even have to do anything, and they'd all be fine.
All that said, all I can say is: more please! Please don't make us wait 20 years for the next one, and please don't hand off the franchise to "Mutt" - Harrison Ford is still a great action hero, and Indy isn't Indy without him!