Before I comment on the movie, I have to say that I rented the blu ray version and it didn't play well on my PS3. The movie paused at several points then seemed to move forward with a small skip. - It was frustrating but I was determined to watch it through its entirety. Overall between the playback issue and the story line, I was shall we say underwhelmed.
At best, the movie looked "tired" and was akin to many movies were they run into problems keeping the audience in the same state as originally found in the first of a series. The Matrix and The Mummy come to mind here.
The Indiana Jones stories at one time paid tribute to the movie serials of yore. As such it was a nice touch and allowed people to suspend disbelief as the film, story line and such were well crafted. The 2D villains were "painted in" to a level that added to one's desire to cheer on Indiana. In this installment, we are left with the female anti-hero being poorly drawn, a friend of the hero turn bad (reminded me of the wimpy guy in The Mummy who by greed got left in the pyramid and eaten by the scarab beetles), and a bunch of Russian soldiers that were just "extras" in the film.
I believe that if we listed all the movie vehicles used we would all agree there were some really good ideas. Sadly, I find virtually all of them poorly exploited and the film suffered for it.
One might have known the movie was in trouble the minute they decided to stray in the opening scenes from an Indiana Jones experience that set's the tone. What they did give us was a tone that was just shy of formula TV and lackluster precision (the Russians taking over a ware house; yes, so very exciting not). This was a fast and cheap way to set the story line on tract and rob the viewer of the expected opening face off.
The juxtaposition of the red scare and the russians was an amusing background for the movie but as stated, the russians fell short of being a well drawn out entity. For younger audiences, they wont understand the construct of American fear and that yes there was a real threat but mostly, unpublished actions.
Some scenes in the movie were derivative at best. As the saucer (prepared to leave the earth) took off, one can't help be reminded of the swirling disappearance of the pyramid in one of the Mummy movies. The greedy traitor in this movie gets his just desserts in a similar fashion to the little wimpy secondary character in the Mummy series who eventually gets eaten by the scarab beetles. - I can go on and on about similarities to other films.
Overall, its a pity that they, to coin my self - ' told the wrong part of the story' which might have focused better on the father/son aspect, the fantasy exploits of the skull, and I guess I would have opted to NOT show a saucer. The continuity was amusingly strange here. Why was there a need for a "portal" AND a saucer? The portal would have sufficed and more time spent with a subplot on this turn of the story. (The Roswell part could be explained as smaller ships coming through the portal.)
As a 4th and perhaps last installment of a series, more care has to be taken to tie up ends properly, open a few new doors (such as his son) and remain true to the original story. I believe this makes for a good series of movies. Indiana Jones barely passes on this and it is a pity.
Just peanuts from the gallery here and if you enjoyed this movie I am glad and if not, then you might want to watch it and see what things you find bothered you and replay the original so you get that "shine" back on the Indiana Jones character.