Critics mostly cheer return of Indiana Jones in new film

Mon May 19, 2008 6:56am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Indiana Jones returns 19 years after his last adventure, and early reaction suggests the majority of Cannes film festival's notoriously picky critics are happy the whip-wielding archaeologist is back.

Harrison Ford reprises his most famous role in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," a high-octane fantasy set in the 1950s when Jones no longer faces Nazis but a KGB agent after the ultimate Cold War weapon -- mind control.

There are plenty of jokes about 65-year-old Ford's age, and he reunites with Karen Allen, co-star in the first Indiana Jones movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" released in 1981.

"Not as easy as it used to be," Jones mutters early on.

His young sidekick Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf, at one point bluntly asks: "What are you, like 80?," and there are strong hints he will take over the mantle from Ford.

Australian actress Cate Blanchett, with severe fringe, dark hair and over-the-top Russian accent, plays evil Soviet agent Irina Spalko who races Jones to the secret of the crystal skull.

"I apologize to the entire Russian populace for my Russian, but hopefully it will be dubbed," Blanchett, her hair back to blonde, joked at a press conference.

Warm, though not loud applause broke out as the credits rolled at the first press screening ahead of a glitzy evening red carpet event, and early online reviews were mostly positive.   Continued...

<p>Actor Harrison Ford (R) is back as character Indiana Jones and is shown in a scene from the new film "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in this undated publicity photograph. Even decades past their prime, Hollywood's leading men just don't want to give up their image as strapping young action heroes, as Ford proves in his return as Indiana Jones. REUTERS/David James/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>