“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” stars Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, and John Hurt. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Jaws) and based on the story written by George Lucas (Star Wars).

Harrison Ford reprises his role as the whip-cracking archaeologist and part-time teacher Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones in another epic adventure across the world, closely following history along the way. Legend has it that the crystal skull holds unspeakable powers and if reunited with the other twelve crystal skulls, these powers will be unleashed. Captured by an army of Russians in search of the crystal skull, Indy must keep this sacred item from the wrong hands and┬áreunite it with the twelve other skulls.

Harrison Ford’s acting improved from “The Last Crusade” greatly, never overacting and recapturing the true Indiana Jones for the first time in 24 years. Cate Blanchett gives a commanding performance as the villain usually played by a male. Her performance isn’t anything special, but it was decent and worked well for the film. Indy’s new rad-tad sidekick, played by young actor Shia LeBeouf, was surprisingly professional. I was expecting him to be the comic relief of the film. Instead, the comic relief was actor Ray Winstone’s character who sneaks in a couple quips worthy of giggles. Karen Allan returns in a role that doesn’t quite give her much to work with but is a welcome return none-the-less.

This very pleasant entry in the Indiana Jones series recaptures the spirit of “Raiders of the Lost Arc”, the non-stop action that came with “The Temple of Doom”, and a pinch of the humor without the unnecessary slapstick that was present in “The Last Crusade”. This is the perfect adventure film with everything from greed, deception, and surprises to scorpions, swashbuckling, and of course snakes.

The fourth entry into the fan craved series is sure to be Oscar nominated for special effects, set design, sound, and music. The only complaint that I have is Indiana Jones rarely cracks his famous whip and the score isn’t as powerful as “Raiders of the Lost Arc”. The non-stop action scenes were shot with style and grace. In fact, the action was so around-the-clock and spectacular, when the film slowed down to explain important plot points I was somewhat bored. The antics performed here are much more amusing than any found in “The Last Crusade”, which I would consider to be the dud in the series. The spirit is back along with the thrills, fun and edge-of-your-seat entertainment everyone was longing for from the return of Director Steven Speilberg’s beloved character Indiana Jones.