ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should I Watch..? Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

Updated on August 7, 2018
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin has been reviewing films for over ten years and has seen more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Promotional poster for "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull"
Promotional poster for "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" | Source

What's the big deal?

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull is an adventure sci-fi movie released in 2008 and is the fourth film in the Indiana Jones series created by George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg. Released nineteen years after the previous instalment Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the film reflects on the passing of time with the film now set in the Fifties and reflects both Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union as well as being a homage to sci-fi B-movies of the era. Despite a mixed reaction, the film became the most successful in the franchise's history grossing $786 million worldwide and was the second most successful film of that year behind the juggernaut that was The Dark Knight. Plans remain for a possible fifth film but as yet, there has been little sign of any such film being released.

Forgettable

2 stars for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

What's it about?

In the midst of the Cold War in 1957, Indiana Jones and his partner Mac are captured by Russian troops led by self-proclaimed psychic Dr Irina Spalko. They are escorted to Warehouse 51 in Nevada and told to locate an alien corpse with a crystal skull recovered ten years earlier. After failing to retrieve the skull from the Soviets, Indy escapes into a atomic bomb testing site and after a tense escape in a lead-lined fridge, is arrested by the FBI for colluding with the enemy. However, he is released but given a leave of absence by Marshall College.

Later meeting up with greaser Mutt, Indy is told of a old friend Harold Oxley who found one such crystal skull in Peru but later went mad as a result. Believing him and Mutt's mother to be in trouble, Indy reluctantly sets off to Peru to locate this crystal skull. Spalko, meanwhile, believes that the skulls hold enormous power and the key to winning the war against the US. Once again heading off on another adventure, Indy little realises the dangers that await him as well as some ghosts from his past...

Trailer

Main Cast

Actor
Role
Harrison Ford
Dr Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr.
Shia LaBeouf
Mutt Williams
Cate Blanchett
Dr Irina Spalko
Ray Winstone
George "Mac" McHale
Karen Allen
Marion Ravenwood
John Hurt
Harold "Ox" Oxley
Jim Broadbent
Charles Stanforth

Technical Info

Director
Steven Spielberg
Screenplay
David Koepp *
Running Time
122 minutes
Release Date (UK)
22nd May, 2008
Genre
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Razzie Award
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel
* story by George Lucas & Jeff Nathanson, characters by George Lucas & Philip Kaufman
Ford once said that it's not the years but the mileage. He looks haggard on both counts.
Ford once said that it's not the years but the mileage. He looks haggard on both counts. | Source

What's to like?

It's rare for a long-running film series to acknowledge the passing of time - I don't ever recall anyone mentioning the different faces of James Bond or how the world has changed from 1962's Dr No. So credit the film-makers for not trying to pull the wool over our eyes - setting Indy in the Fifties as opposed to the Thirties is the right thing to do as it opens up new avenues for the characters to explore and replaces the overused Nazi menace with the Soviets instead. I also liked how the film made references to legends and myths of the time such as the Roswell incident and the atomic bomb testing. The world of Raiders Of The Lost Ark suddenly feels quite old fashioned indeed.

The action doesn't quite use as much CG as it might but it uses the technology to enhance the old-school antics that were the hallmarks of the first three films. Ford, for his age, works hard to recapture some of the old magic but younger actors like LaBeouf get their chances to shine as well. And unlike the grim and dark second film Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, the film wisely retains Indy's tongue-in-cheek humour as well as referencing previous adventures and characters. Die-hard fans of the character should get a real buzz out of this.

Fun Facts

  • Ford kept himself in such good shape over the years that his costume measurements had not changed since the last outing in 1989. Ford also performed many of his own stunts as he had before, claiming it helped his performance.
  • The kung-fu fighting Aztecs in the graveyard might not be as idiotic as you might think. Pre-Spanish Incas actually did use a martial art called Rumi Maki which means 'hard hands'.
  • Both John Hurt and Ray Winstone insisted on reading the script before signing on, both of whom had less than a day to read it before the courier took it back. Shia LaBeouf was so excited about doing an Indy movie that he didn't bother reading it.

What's not to like?

Firstly, the screenplay is awful as the film feels composed of several drafts clumsily stitched together. Even for a series with immortal knights guarding the Holy Grail, this feels so far-fetched that suspension of disbelief is impossible. Take Indy's gobsmacking escape from an imminent atomic bomb test by crawling inside a lead-lined fridge. Even if the fridge hadn't been melted from the blast, the impact on landing would probably have broken every bone in his body and yet Indy pops out as if nothing had happened, ready to slug a Commie. That's why the phrase "nuking the fridge" has replaced "jumping the shark" in Internet parlance but the meaning, sadly, is still the same.

The cast never really convince either, besides Ford who's probably just happy the costume still fits. LaBeouf is a thinly disguised plot device, Blanchett is pretty forgettable as Spalko and Winstone can only ever play East End hardmen anyway. The CG is not of a great standard and this is noticeable when entire sets become computer generated. Worse still, the 'interdimensional beings' (aliens to you and me) also look pretty poor and lack imagination. The film lurches horribly from one setting to another with little in the way of explanation - I cannot explain how Indy goes from a car chase in his hometown to fighting what look like Aztec warriors using kung-fu somewhere in South America. It simply isn't as much fun as the earlier movies - references are fine in small numbers but constantly harking back to the original trilogy only made me want to watch them instead.

Don't call him an alien...
Don't call him an alien... | Source

Should I watch it?

If only to complete the set. Fans of the earlier films will find their patience tested by poor plotting and dodgy CG while newcomers will wonder what exactly the fuss is all about. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is easily the lowest point of the series which festered for too long to make a sequel feasible - in many ways it almost feels like a reboot, especially when the truth about Mutt is revealed (assuming you hadn't guessed it). It's not the worst film ever made but by the high standards of its stablemates, it is a massive disappointment.

Great For: nostalgic film directors and stars, fans who waited a long time for this sequel

Not So Great For: fans of the original trilogy, CG animators, screenwriters

What else should I watch?

Of the earlier trilogy, the original Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade are the best ones to watch - thrilling, fun, gripping, edge-of-your-seat stuff that audiences crave from a proper adventure movie. Although Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom still has its moments like the iconic mine-cart roller-coaster sequence, it is considerably darker with its depiction of human sacrifice and overall tone to make it suitable for very young viewers.

Of course, Ford is not short of an iconic role in his illustrious career. The recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens will give him a chance to relive his finest hour as Han Solo while as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner and the excellent follow-up Blade Runner 2049 alongside Ryan Gosling, he will always be the star of one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

© 2015 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Benjamin Cox profile imageAUTHOR

      Benjamin Cox 

      3 years ago from Hampshire, UK

      I think Star Lord might have a busy few years coming up so I wouldn't recommend it anyway!

    • ArianaLove profile image

      ArianaLove 

      3 years ago

      I was also glad to see Karen Allen return and I love Indian Jones, they're my go to movies, but I was displeased with this one. Mainly because in the previous films, he was so involved in history and science and then now we're talking aliens. That bothered me.

    • profile image

      Pat Mills 

      3 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      I'm a guy with a soft spot for Indy. The fourth film is certainly no Raiders, but I'm glad Karen Allen returned. That said, I hope this is the last of the series, and that nobody tries to reboot the franchise with Chris Pratt or anybody else.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)