“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”: Bad sequel, or worst sequel ever?

First, let me say that I am generally a fan of Indiana Jones. I liked the first three movies, and I love the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland (it’s seriously the best ride there, along with the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of The Caribbean).

I also like action movies in general — I dug last summer’s hit Transformers, for example (and not just because Megan Fox looks hot in it), and I’m looking forward to this summer’s Wanted (and not just because Angelina Jolie looks hot in it).

So when I set off to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this weekend, I had high hopes. Malinda and Sarah P liked it, and so did Lori (who is in Seattle this week). Sure, my mom told me she and my sister walked out of the theater half-way through because they were so bored, but I figured, how bad could it be?

Apparently, really bad. So bad it makes Snakes on a Plane look good. Come to think of it, maybe this movie should have been called Snakes on Indiana Jones, since it’s basically a parody of the Indiana Jones movies, except that someone forgot to tell the actors. And the audience.

What makes it so bad, you ask? Let me count the ways.

First, you have the terrible writing, with god-awful, corny lines uttered with complete seriousness, and words like “commies” and “the reds” tossed around like spinach in Cat Cora‘s kitchen.

Then there’s the plot, which wasn’t as bad, but wasn’t great or especially surprising, owing to the massive foreshadowing of just about everything in it (see “terrible writing”).

Shia LaBeouf‘s performance as a 1950s rebel — complete with requisite white t-shirt, jeans, black leather jacket, slicked-back hair, and pocket comb, which he whipped out regularly when he wasn’t brandishing a pocket-knife — is so painfully obvious it mimics John Travolta’s in Grease, except LaBeouf isn’t trying to be funny. (And the big reveal around his character was obvious two minutes after he was introduced, but of course, you had to wait an hour and half to see it — again, see “terrible writing”).

The oft-mentioned Marion (Karen Allen) made her big return, only to change her personality from bitter and angry to lovey and dovey about as quickly and subtly as Helena on The L Word.

And have I mentioned the CGI run amuck? (Three waterfalls, guys? Really?) The whole movie felt like a bunch of Disneyland rides strung together. By aliens.

But the worst travesty of all? Having to watch Cate Blanchett utter terrible lines while wearing a bad wig and sporting an even worse Russian accent, which she occasionally forgot to use. Seriously, forget all the other problems with this film — how could George Lucas and Steven Spielberg make Cate Blanchett look this bad and still sleep at night? There has to be a law against that somewhere.

The only good thing I can say about this desecration of a good action series? At least Harrison Ford ended up being romantically paired with a woman his own age at the end, instead of some young chippy, as my grandmother liked to say.

Naturally, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull is raking in big bucks at the box office. It’s even threatening to break Memorial Day weekend box-office records. And somehow 79% of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are positive.

So what am I missing? Please, those of you who’ve seen the movie and actually liked it, enlighten me in the comments on why this movie doesn’t suck!

And those of you who share my pain, let me that, too, so we can band together when the Commies in bad wigs and accents come for us…