Yesterday I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was as mediocre as the name implies. When old auteurs return to much-loved franchises, they round off all the corners. All the blood, dirt and sex that made Raiders of the Lost Ark so great has vanished in the fourth installment. Steven Spielberg is still one of the finest cinematic storytellers around, but the story wasn’t quite up to the task.
But I digress. The fourth Indiana Jones movie was indisputably better than Transformers, which is where I first saw Shia LaBeouf. Er, check that, that’s where I first knew his name. He had some smaller roles in movies like I, Robot and Constantine.
In any case, I think he’s got a long career as an action hero in front of him. He’s not yet a particularly versatile actor (or he hasn’t had a chance to show his range). Still, he has that certain indiscernible quality that makes for a good male lead in modern action movies. He’s handsome, but not ridiculously gorgeous. He’s got a certain fallibility and a willingness to be goofy that I see in both Harrison Ford and Will Smith. And, having just watched the extremely busy trailer for Mummy 3, he’s got something of Brendan Fraser in him too. He also has a bit of John Cusack’s ineffable likability.
I don’t think he’ll Mr. LaBeouf will win an Oscar any time soon, but I’m guessing he’ll be entertaining us and avoiding computer-generated giant killer things for the next thirty years.
On a related note, I wanted to download the first Indiana Jones movie to watch it for, like, the twenty-fourth time. This doesn’t look promising: