'Indy': the buzz has just begun

Jaded film critics jones for 'Jones'

CANNES -- "It's just a movie," someone yelled as a swelling crowd of journalists pushed and shoved to get past the barricades and up the red carpet for the first ever screening of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in the Palais des Festivals early afternoon in Cannes.

Despite five days of marathon screenings of films In Competition for the Palme d'Or, the enthusiasm for seeing something almost certainly well-made and entertaining was palpable -- even among the notoriously jaded coterie of international film critics.

Rumors that the Gallic guards at the gate would be confiscating cell phones so as to avoid blogging during the screening were quickly dispelled as the hordes were herded surprisingly quickly through the frisking security process.

The movie was due to start at 1 p.m., to be followed shortly thereafter by a press conference that would include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford.

Not that everyone among the critics is gung ho about this latest installment of the "Indiana Jones" saga.

A number of critics here have speculated that Ford may be too old to carry off the role sufficiently well to attract global audiences en masse.

"Prove it to me" is what this contingent of critics is demanding.

Most of the audience seemed intent during the two hour, five-minute spectacle, with a number of fans in the balcony applauding the opening credits, especially Lucas and Spielberg's names. (The two apparently were not present for the screening.)

There were, however, guffaws from the press corps at some of the lines in the somewhat stilted opening sequences but by and large the auditorium remained attentive throughout.

Toward the end of the movie several dozen cognoscenti of festival rituals started climbing over other colleagues to make for the exit, and grab a seat at the press conference upstairs at the back of the Palais.

The back balcony was already packed to the rafters with cameras and operators, and the room filled quickly with reporters and critics.

First comments from the room before the filmmakers arrived:

Several journalists said they liked the movie though they weren't bowled over. "A little too long, a little too juvenile," a few suggested. But others praised the special effects and Ford's aplomb.