Spoiler Alert: This article will deal with details about the plot of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, reader beware. You might learn some things you don’t want to know just yet.
For Indiana Jones fans, a new movie has been a long time in coming. A fourth film was originally suggested by George Lucas nearly 18 years ago. The idea has re-surfaced several times since then but the principal creative partners (Mr. Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford) could not agree on a script until David Koepp completed a version sometime around 2005. Other screen writers attached to the project over the years include Jeffery Boam, M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Darabont, and Jeff Nathanson. Drafts by all these writers have centered around the idea of Indy searching for crystal skulls.
Given the time in development and the abundance of top-notch screenwriting talent, it is surprising that the screenplay of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is a bit of a mess. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is far from awful. Parts of the movie play out simply as set pieces however, in part because of a lack of tight internal logic in the script. The movie left me asking questions about how or why certain things happened. After 18 years and several screenwriters, shouldn’t all these questions be answered?
Here’s the top five unanswered questions from Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.
- How did we get to a happy ending? I don’t understand how Indy not only gets his job back, but a promotion at the end of the film. He’s forced out of his job for suspicions about his loyalty because he’s been in contact with both Russian commandos and a Russian secret agent. He then shakes his FBI tail, leaves the country for South America, and meets up with both the Russians and the Russian agent. This is what the FBI might call “suspicious behavior.” When the city of Akator is finally destroyed, anyone/anything he might be able to bring back to placate the FBI (e.g., Irina Spalko or Mac McHale) is lost or killed. Does he return the alien body to the government or something? How does he prove his loyalty?
- Is Irina Spalko really psychic or merely crazy? At the start of the film, Irina Spalko seems to attempt to read Indy’s mind and apparently fails (with comment “Your will is very strong.”) Does she really have psychic abilities or not? We never see her attempt to do this again anywhere during the film. She babbles on a lot about how Oxley’s mind has been warped by the skull and is unreadable, but we never establish that she can successfully read another mind.
- Where did all the roads in the middle of the jungle come from? When Indy, Mac, and Mutt set off with the Russians through the un-mapped jungle, they are following what can only be called the “Model 37 ‘Josef Stalin’ Glorious People’s Jungle Road Maker and Farming Collective Grain Harvester.” This is making the road they are driving on. Indy destroys this vehicle with an anti-tank weapon (an always useful item to bring to the jungle). A protracted high-speed car chase follows where, a) cars and trucks are able to travel two abreast, and even along the edge of a cliff, and b) they are able to travel pretty much where they want to go. This makes less than no sense.
- Had anybody heard of the term “multi-dimensional beings” in 1957? Once Oxley regains his sanity in the temple of Akator, he says “they are multi-dimensional beings.” This is a pretty standard science fiction term in the 21st century, but the notion of parallel universes had just been proposed in quantum mechanics in 1957 by Hugh Everett. Fictional notions of parallel universes had been around since 1941, but were still only infrequently mentioned in sci-fi stories of the 1950s. The explanation sticks out like a sore thumb.
- Why bother with the Akator natives? They appear. They are afraid of the crystal skull. They get machine-gunned off screen by the Russians. Why bother? You might as well at least make a joke of it and give them all red shirts or something.
I liked a lot of things about the movie, I really did. I think Harrison Ford was great in it. It was certainly lovely to see Karen Allen return as Marion Ravenwood. The visual of Indy confronted by the mushroom cloud is one that will stay with me for quite a while. It’s just that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg claimed to be in search of the right script. Would it have killed them to take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out if they had missed any holes in the plot?
You hate this and like the mushroom cloud thing? Um.
Comment by unwesen — June 3, 2008 @ 2:51 pm
To answer the second question I always thought that when she tries to read Jones mind that it is a inside joke about Star Wars and the force. Just like the line “I have a bad feeling about this” and a few other things.
I enjoyed the movie very much and think that itÂ´s not that bad that everybody says. Another thing that makes me sad is that all around the Internet everybody just complains about the movies and all the faults on cgi or acting. Hey. ItÂ´s just a very enjoyable movie that is fun watching nothing more. ItÂ´s no Ingmar Bergman.
Comment by Kenneth — June 3, 2008 @ 3:13 pm
@Kenneth I think the hand movements might be “Force” reference, but wasn’t she studying psychic stuff? I think that’s why she thought she was all psychic, but she was obviously nuts.
Comment by angelad — June 3, 2008 @ 6:30 pm
There were other instances of her powers, but nothing 100% substantial. At the beginning, it seems that it’s her powers that cause the door lock to bust open in a shower of sparks. That, and the rather zombie-like remote control of the Soviet soldiers. I’m referring to the part where Indy has the machine gun trained on Spalko.
Comment by Scott Lyons — June 3, 2008 @ 7:04 pm
Completely agree about Indy and the mushroom cloud. Powerful image.
Like the movie but took a weird turn with that whole jungle scene. From the amazon already has roads to the Shia playing Tarzan reference…all absurd. Its like George was off or on his medication when we wrote that scene – not sure what he’s on these days. Didn’t anyone on the film think, “Hey this is kinda stupid” or were they too afraid to hurt the egos of Steve and George.
And wholly Associate Dean…McCarthy wouldn’t give that “Red” his job back much less a promotion.
Comment by shinebox — June 4, 2008 @ 4:41 pm
anyone have a good theory about how Indy’s father dies since he drank from the Grail??
Comment by andrew seely — June 4, 2008 @ 4:42 pm
I hate how everybody is like “aliens? aliens?! WTF?!”…..if they took the time to google the “ancient astronaut theory” they’d know that aliens fit in with the mythological based archaeology that the previous movies dealt with. There’s probably even more people who believe in that theory than believe that the Holy Grail or Arch of the Covenant are real.
Comment by blooboy — June 4, 2008 @ 4:43 pm
The “shower of sparks” on the door was caused by a small detonator that was set off by the guy standing next to it.
While I didn’t love the film I didn’t hate it either. Sure there was stuff that bothered me, the fridge, the Tarzan bit, the aliens.
Some of the questions above will be explained in the SECOND DVD release of the movie, with EXTRA UNRATED BONUS EXPLANATION FOOTAGE! $69.95 in blue ray thank you very much. I think a bigger question is, “Where was Marion during half of the car chase?” She wasn’t even in the long plate shots! Also who was pushing up Harrison Ford out of the sand pit, if you watch the sand it actually lava flows out around him as he’s “climbing” out.
I think the real villain here was the lousy story, you know they could have just done a whole film in Area 51, never showed or mentioned an alien, and I might have enjoyed that.
Just my 2Â¢,
Comment by Kelvington — June 4, 2008 @ 4:44 pm
The thing that bothered me was the book that the Dean retrieved from the drawer right before the wedding scene. What was it?
Comment by Sean — June 4, 2008 @ 4:45 pm
What are teenagers doing cruising in the desert around Area 51? Maybe they are off duty militaryâ€¦why didnâ€™t they recognize the communists in U.S. clothing? Why are they cruising around a live missile test area? If they are civilian why hasnâ€™t the military locked down the area? Letâ€™s not mix words here, The opening of this movie was horrible. And whats with the prairie dogâ€™sâ€¦seriously ???
Comment by User1138 — June 4, 2008 @ 4:48 pm
I had some issues with the plot as well. In particular Oxley is introduced by name, but I never got a feel for the character until he was introduced. This made the whole middle of the movie feel a bit soft to me. Introducing Sean Connery’s character in the last film was a lot smoother. Perhaps it would have helped if we had seen him in a photo on Indy’s desk with Sean Patrick Flannery. I also thought the appearance of the alien corpse in the tent was too overt, and they should have saved the visual presence of an alien for the end.
Comment by Ed Holden — June 4, 2008 @ 4:52 pm
Okay, I have a couple more questions –
1)If putting the final skull on the skeleton makes the skeletons merge into one living alien and the space ship take off, what were the skeletons doing BEFORE somebody removed the last skull? Just sitting there? But wait, I thought when you have all the skulls together the skeletons merge and the spaceship…
Which leads me to –
2) How did the skull get taken in the first place, and by who?
Comment by ChrisKC — June 4, 2008 @ 4:52 pm
The answer to #1 through #5.
It’s a movie.
Comment by Zushiba — June 4, 2008 @ 4:59 pm
not to mention that the amazon river and the foz do iguaÃ§u falls are about 5000 km away from each other
Comment by daniel — June 4, 2008 @ 5:02 pm
> top-notch screenwriting talent
Are you serious?
That film was like watching a poorly spun press release.
Comment by imajica — June 4, 2008 @ 5:03 pm
I guess it’s time to go back and write out the questions not answered in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because there are just as many. It’s quite odd that I’ve never seen such ridiculous nitpicking of the original trilogy, but this new one, which is no more ridiculous than any of the other three, receives all kinds of bitching and moaning… but I suppose this is what happens in a world where No Country For Old Men is seen as a serious, solid movie. Everyone wants dull and bland, instead of fun and entertaining.
Comment by CRAW DAD — June 4, 2008 @ 5:07 pm
I got a few more questions:
If they needed the skull to get through most of the traps; how did the Spanish get their hands on the skull?
Why didn’t Indy or any of his group get “a gift”. Seems to me the multi-dimension being was kind of an ingrate, especially after waiting 7,000 years for his head.
What about the dead alien they retrieved? How come he didn’t split into 13 skulls?
Why bother collecting all those artifacts if you were just going to destroy the place?
Why open a dimensional gate when you planning on “flying” your ship out of there?
I’ll be honest most of the movie was good (I thought the nuclear bomb and swinging with monkeys a bit much) but the ending is where most of these dangling questions come from. It was like they ran out of time/money and just wrapped them up quick. The rest of the movie was B+, the ending was a D.
Comment by Rick Sotomayor — June 4, 2008 @ 5:12 pm
The big question for me, was… why were the aliens hanging around? Theoretically, they first showed up thousands of years ago. Then, in the 1500, one of the skulls was stolen. Why were they still there? When the skull is returned, the aliens up and leave, which kind of implies they could have done so at any point prior to the theft. So… why were they still hanging out?
Comment by Tony — June 4, 2008 @ 5:12 pm
There has been a lot said about ‘finding the perfect script’, and supposedly Spielberg and Lucas rejected 7 previous drafts of this script. So, yes it is completely reasonable to say, “Um, guys, did it occur to you that…” There were parts that were terrific – such as the mushroom cloud, and Harrison Ford – and I enjoyed it immensely because I went for the ride at the time. BUT, afterwards I thought back to the original Indi film, and really, they fell far short of the mark this time. I hated the ending too. Too neat and pretty and just, schlock. But yeah, Harrison Ford pulled off his part.
Comment by Sandy Barker — June 4, 2008 @ 5:13 pm
about #3, ive been to the amazonian jungle and iguazu falls where this takes place and there are many dirt roads throughout the area. Now I was there 2 years ago but that area has been a national park for a long time so who knows. Another thing I noticed is the last waterfall they go down is the very first one they would encounter if they were coming down the delta its called devil’s throat. but hey its a movie i know
Comment by eddie — June 4, 2008 @ 5:16 pm
#1. They did leave that a little open as to exactly how it ended happily. I assumed that him killing off a ton of KGB agents and russians in the jungle of south america helped prove he was not working for the russian govt.
#2. I guess thats a good question. But It was made clear in the movie that the crystal skull had supernatural powers – that being said, if she could control those powers then I guess she would be psychic. Afterall, isn’t that the whole point of why the russians were after the crystal skull? They wanted to gain psychic/mind control abilities. If Spalko really had psychic powers of her own then the russians would have already had the power they were seeking. Still, that is a pretty interesting questions.
#3. I agree that the number of roads in the jungle was an obvious supporting device for the vehicle chase scenes, however, they did write in a fix for that and it was the jungle clearer/road making truck. True, they did blow it up early on, but the view is lead to believe that the russians had a presence in the Jungle for some time – certainly enough time to clear some roads.
#4. I think your just nitpicking and trying to get to a nice round number of “Five questions not answered…” You answered it yourself by stating “Fictional notions of parallel universes had been around since 1941” So yes, somebody had heard of the term. I mean, keep in mind the movie is a work of fiction including alien worshiping native south americans, cities of gold, and a warehouse located at area 51 that stores alien bodies and presumably the ark of the covenant/embodiment of god on earth.
#5. Is that a question not answered in the movie? Really? I am assuming the inhabitants were the protectors of this secret city/descendants of the alien worshiping civilization. Their death was gratuitous but then again, so were the crazy indians inhabiting the temple of doom.
Comment by Joshua — June 4, 2008 @ 5:21 pm
Answers in Order. Enjoy
#1 – Indy is able to get his job back because he received true psychic powers after he looked into the crystal skull and used them on the school board.
#2 Merely Crazy. That was easy to see.
#3 From the previous takes of that same scene. The first take was so rough since the lack of road caused the camera men to not get a good shot of the action.
#4 You are really asking this question. My question is why did Steven Spielberg try to bring Indiana Jones and Close Encounters of the Third Kind together.
#5 The Akator natives where the reason for all those years why no person has ever traveled to the city and returned. The Akator natives did not go near it because the feared it so. And did not want the â€œmulti-dimensional beingsâ€ to be angry with them if their space ship was disturbed.
How did you not get these answers from the movie….
Comment by haker85 — June 4, 2008 @ 5:31 pm
The one that really bugs me:
Remember the giant sand trap that opens the entrance to the chamber holding the crystal skulls? It’s opened by the crystal skull. So how did the conquistadors enter the chamber to steal the skull in the first place if the chamber is opened by the skull itself?
You need the skull in order to steal the skull. Brilliant.
Comment by Evan — June 4, 2008 @ 5:34 pm
How about, um, is Indiana immortal after drinking from the Holy Grail? That was kind of on my mind too. Like, a lot.
Comment by Phil — June 4, 2008 @ 5:35 pm
6. Shortly after Marion, Indy and Mutt have a kick-fest with the “Russian General” while traveling through the jungle, Mutt tosses Indy his switchblade. The switchblade lands on Indy’s shoulder, then drops back behind him. It opens and Indy gives us an “Uh, Oh!” face. Why? Indy cuts himself loose and it is like nothing went wrong.
Comment by Jonathan — June 4, 2008 @ 5:44 pm
Why does he refer to them as multidimensional beings and such? Because he’s been to the temple before, which is well established in the film, and the aliens have already been in his head, which is why he went mad. So he’s familiar with their crazy futuristic gobbldegook.
By the way, those space aliens sucked. Only missing one head and they couldn’t just go get it themselves? Losers.
Comment by Russell — June 4, 2008 @ 5:50 pm
Here’s another unanswered question for you…
They’re all searching for a skull for the alien, because they want to go home. So what the hell happened to the skull and body they got from the warehouse in the beginning? Didn’t IT want to go home? Why didn’t that skull lead them back to the lost city? After the opening montage, it’s gone and never mentioned again.
Comment by Wavie Davie — June 4, 2008 @ 5:59 pm
The immortality only lasted while inside that cave, since they had to leave it cause of some structural issues they were no longer immortal…
Comment by DlE — June 4, 2008 @ 6:05 pm
Andrew and Phil,
You have to drink from the grail every day to stay immortal (that’s why that poor knight never left the cave).
Comment by tvscifi.com — June 4, 2008 @ 6:13 pm
Scott makes a great point: while her mind-reading powers never pan-out, she does POINT at the control box for the door — it sparks, then opens. I guess that’s supposed to make the viewers feel that she DOES have real powers, but that Indy is so damn awesome he keeps her out.
Comment by bill — June 4, 2008 @ 6:14 pm
Didn’t the old knight say the only way to be immortal was to stay in that room, hence all the shaking and quaking after they left with the cup?
Comment by DrMutt — June 4, 2008 @ 6:16 pm
regarding 4. Parallel universes(or at least multiple independent universes) had been described already in 1937, in Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker. The book was held in high regard by many writers of that time (Borges,Woolf,C.S.Lewis,H.G.Wells). C.S.Lewis wrote his Perelandra trilogy partly as a rebuttal of the religious views espoused by Stapledon.
The book is well worth a read, even though the style is very old fashioned and dry.
He also describes Dyson spheres(before Dyson),virtual reality/the matrix and many more fascinating things.
Comment by qc_dk — June 4, 2008 @ 6:19 pm
my explanation for the aliens:
come to earth hang out, skull get stolen.
aliens: whoops hey, times are a changing, people aren’t just bowing down to us anymore as soon as we get Melvin’s skull back were outta here.
rest i cant really defend, but i buy the above given the atmosphere of the movie.
didnt hate it, didnt love it, the first is still unbeaten in my eyes.
Comment by joe — June 4, 2008 @ 6:45 pm
@blooboy – I don’t see anyone all like “aliens, aliens?, WTF” except you. wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman
I also don’t think that Zacharia Stichin (alien archeologist author guy) has more fans than Dan Brown (holy grail author guy, maybe you’ve heard of him?). In fact, I hate Stichin’s work and for all I know he could have written the screenplay (yeah, i know it was really the spiderman/jurassic park guy). Stichin’s intellectual life revolves around ancient pyramids and gruops of 13 god-like aliens.
But I still enjoyed the movie without having to search for plot/editing problems… You forgot a few by the way: Indy is like 70 years old in this movie – how the hell does he stand up to a russian thug half his age and twice his size? much less survive the fridge thing, the waterfalls, etc. Good call on the “interdimensional travel doesn’t require flying craft” catch, too.
Comment by dut — June 4, 2008 @ 6:46 pm
Irina did have a scene where her “psychic powers” are displayed. Inside the spaceship, she uses them to make Ox give her the skull. Sure, he may have lost a staredown contest and just given it up, as per the rules. But I would like to think that she made him do it because he seemed more confused about not having the skull than normal.
Comment by misplacedme — June 4, 2008 @ 6:54 pm
“Donâ€™t get me wrong, the movie is far from awful.”
Let’s start with that statement….the movie is not only close to awful, it IS awful. It’s more of a satire of an Indy movie than a fourth chapter in the series…John Landis should have directed this, at least it would have been entertaining. The only redeeming qualities of this train-wreck of a script, is the directing and acting. Lucas, please stop ruining my childhood. Here are some more problems with it:
1. I never need to see this movie again. The first three are classics that can be watched over and over again…they had soul and made you believe in the stories (as far fetched as they were).
2. Yeah, the nuclear blast was cool looking, but seriously…he survived it by hiding in a refrigerator. A NUCLEAR BLAST! Not only that, but he BOUNCED a few times, and was able to walk away. WOW. A bit hard to suspend belief when theres NO WAY in HELL thats possible.
3. Shia swinging through the jungle like tarzan and landing in the car at the EXACT right moment. Really Mr. Lucas…REALLY?!
4. The snake/quicksand bit…sigh.
Comment by Owens — June 4, 2008 @ 7:04 pm
Indy looked ridiculous riding on the back of Mutt’s motorcycle. He should have jacked his OWN bike too, and the chase would have been much, much cooler.
The movie was disappointing for me, but not hateful.
Comment by MS — June 4, 2008 @ 7:05 pm
[…] Given the time in development and the abundance of top-notch screenwriting talent, it is surprising […]
Pingback by FuzzLinks — June 4, 2008 @ 7:31 pm
These guys also covered what was wrong with the movie pretty well in their podcast. It’s on the longer side, but its damn pretty funny how they rip into the film (i.e. the scene leaving rocket chair, lol)
Comment by Mark — June 4, 2008 @ 7:43 pm
The answer to all your grail questions:
In the Last Crusade the knight stated that the cup could not pass the seal as “This is the price of immortality”. So yes it could heal, etc but I took this as if you don’t keep drinking from it there is nothing to keep you “healed”. So, since the grail is gone…
Comment by Blackforge — June 4, 2008 @ 8:46 pm
For those who keep mentioning the grail:
In “The Last Crusade”, the knight told them that the grail could not past the great seal, “this is the price of immortality”. I took this to mean that you must keep drinking out of the grail for it to maintain the healing effects/immortality. Otherwise…
Comment by Blackforge — June 4, 2008 @ 8:49 pm
The fact of the matter is that George Lucas lost it a long time ago, probably when he went bald. You just can’t trust a man who has to wear $20000 worth of fake hair on his head. The mans confidence has been diminished causing him to make poor judgements.
Comment by chris — June 4, 2008 @ 9:22 pm
My biggest dissapointment of the movie, is that this line was never spoken: “Mutt?! Mutt was the dog’s name!”
Comment by CB — June 4, 2008 @ 9:31 pm
You forgot about the scene with the monkeys. Why the heck do they follow the kid and then start attacking the bad guys. Makes absolutely no sense.
Comment by kyledeb — June 4, 2008 @ 9:33 pm
Seems to me that people are disappointed in the movie because of these “glaring” inconsistencies. Are you saying that there aren’t inconsistencies of any given type in the older movies? Does that now degrade the old movies to just “meh”?
Comment by brbmustshower — June 4, 2008 @ 11:21 pm
You forgot to mention how the movie was a gigantic piece of shit. Aliens, fucking aliens in an Indiana Jones movie?
Comment by Binxalot — June 4, 2008 @ 11:29 pm
I just saw a promo on TV about the movie and Indy mentions that the city is protected by the living dead. Did I miss the section in the movie where he explains that or did you have to see the commercials to understand what was going on in the movie?
Comment by STF — June 4, 2008 @ 11:44 pm
This was the worst movie I’ve seen since Spiderman 3, and that was the worst movie I’ve seen since Batman and Robin. Like those other two movies, The Crystal Skull went beyond “awful,” and well into the realm of “legacy-destroying.” At this point, I can’t even stomach the idea of watching any of the first three Indiana Jones films ever again. And I’m totally done with both Lucas and Spielberg. They’ve lost their mojo entirely, I’m sorry to say.
Here’s my list, not so much of questions unanswered, but scenes that sucked the life and soul out of the movie:
â€¢ Marion grinning like a deranged idiot throughout the whole movie (well, except for the time when she and Indiana argue with each other in the back of the truck, like a scene from a cheesy, third-rate sitcom)
â€¢ Marion driving off a cliff, on purpose, smiling all the while
â€¢ Surviving three waterfalls unscathed, any one of which would realistically have killed all aboard
â€¢ The double-agent — no, triple-agent — no, double-agent — no, free-agent guy
â€¢ Indiana Jones in the quicksand, makes Mutt say that he’s throwing him a “rope” before he’ll grab the snake to save his own life
â€¢ Indiana Jones in the quicksand, obviously filmed on the set of Gilligan’s Island
â€¢ The many, many times that Indiana Jones and company are surrounded and captured by gun-toting Russians, to no ill effect, and no increased security
â€¢Â The killer ants that can pull a thrashing, 200-pound soldier down into an anthill
â€¢ Surviving a nuclear explosion by hiding in a refrigerator
â€¢ Indiana Jones instantly able to decipher Ox’s Aramaic riddles (just like the TV version of Batman could with the Riddler’s messages)
â€¢ The entirely ridiculous, cliched sword-fighting scene
â€¢ The entirely ridiculous, cliched “swinging through the trees” scene
â€¢ The over-wrought beginning
â€¢ The overly-happy ending
â€¢ Nearly everything in between
Comment by buddhistMonkey — June 4, 2008 @ 11:56 pm
Two more questions:
1. When they finally escape from the KGB agents after Indiana Jones meets LeBeouf, where do they go? Back to Indiana Jones’ house. Brilliant! The KGB would never look for a man there.
2. What’s the point of the whole damn movie? (I get that there really doesn’t need to be a point.) If Indiana Jones had never existed and the Communists had found their way to the crystal skull exactly as they wanted to, they would’ve died the exact same death and the result would be the exact same. No reason for this movie at all.
Comment by ragglefrock — June 5, 2008 @ 12:24 am
I was 10 minutes into Indy 4 when it occurred to me, Hollywood has done a bad, bad thing here. I was TEMPTED to walk out midway through, but HAD to sit through the end to see it, if for no other reason than to warn others. This moved SUCKED, with a capital UCK. It was WORSE than any of the “new” Star Wars movies…and that’s saying something.
George, Stephen, you’ve done a grave disservice to the Indiana Jones story, and to your careers as directors. Shame on you both. I want my money back.
Comment by Bill — June 5, 2008 @ 12:50 am
Actually, the thing about the aliens coming from another dimension does not have anything to do with quantum physics or parallel universes. This was probably what pissed me off more than anything else. If a being is truly transdimensional, it would shift it’s shape and would not need a weird UFO. The whole ending was pretty nonsensical. The other Indy movies simply explained the ‘magic’ stuff by mythology and religion which worked well. If they absolutely insist on using science this time, at least make it sound the least bit credible.
Comment by Pseudonym — June 5, 2008 @ 5:11 am
I will only pose the questions not already written here by other observant fans
I just saw this last night…Did i miss something? Did he not have his whip the entire time? I guess so because that would’ve been a better tool to use to escape that sand pit than a snake.
What was all that “treasure” doing down in the alien tomb? Was it mentioned HOW it got there and WHO put it there? Was it implied that the Aliens went booty collecting all over the world and throughout time before they were sealed in there somehow? So confused!
Also…the relationship between Marion & Indy was so strange. I mean she was REALLY pissed in the first movie about him leaving and that’s before she was engadged and pregnant. But then I remember Lucas has had something to do with this script and then I remember the love scene dialog and chemistry between Padma & Anakin. It makes me wonder what Lucas’s home life is like.
Comment by Pepper — June 5, 2008 @ 5:33 pm
I stopped reading after “Donâ€™t get me wrong, the movie is far from awful.” You’re perspective is off; you’re asking the wrong questions here. Instead of trying to figure out whether the Russian broad was psychic, or why the scull’s magnetic field was so selective and could be canceled out by GD burlap sack, ask yourselves this:
Why did this film make me vomit into my popcorn?
Comment by Enraged — June 9, 2008 @ 3:44 pm
I haven’t seen this movie so I have a serious question: Is it really worse than “Temple of Doom”? As I recall that movie had (1) a ridiculously cheesy opening sequence, (2) an infinitely annoying (not even slightly cute) kid sidekick, (3) the ridiculous nonsense about pulling peoples hearts out and (4) some really unpleasantly racist undertones. Not to mention a script that seemed like they just decided to throw everything at the screen and see what sticks.
So I think the rule here is, “odd-numbered Indiana Jones movies = Win, even-numbered movies = Suck”. I’m holding out for Indiana Jones and the Retirement Home of the Raiders of the Temple of the Crusade of Did I Ever Tell You About That Time In The Jungle?
Comment by Carl — June 9, 2008 @ 9:05 pm
The Aliens and Mayans reference is from the Hack Archaeology from a psuedoscientist named Eric Von Daniken. He thought he saw ray guns in Mayan stelea. This movie took everything that was good about the Indiana Jones triology and ruined it. There was a degree of realism in the earlier films with only bits of the supernatural here and there. Regardless, the laws of physics still applied to the rest of the film! Indy surving a nuclear blast in a lead linded frigidair is incredulous, it would have melted and he would have broken all his bones on impact when it fell. Cute CGI monkeys do not belong in the movie! Neither do CGI killer ants that can make ant-trees out of their bodies to reach victims.
Further more to give attention and validation to a hack that makes a serious field look bad like Von Daniken is irresponsible to the film makers. Comon while we are at it lets write A Beautiful Mind Two and make it about TimeCube and have Jar Jar Binks be the main character.
Comment by A REAL Archaeologist — June 9, 2008 @ 11:14 pm
“Neither do CGI killer ants that can make ant-trees out of their bodies to reach victims.”
yeah, ants actually do that. they can span cracks in the ground to get from their hills to food. They also gather into balls of ants and float across water. Ants are ka-razy.
Comment by phoenixM — June 10, 2008 @ 8:14 am
Actually the Knight in the Last Crusade said that the the grail could not pass beyond the great seal because “that is the BOUNDARY and the PRICE of IMMORTALITY.”
So basically, you could go to the cave, and take a drink from the grail, but as soon as you you try to leave and you pass beyond the “immortality boundary” you will be mortal again. Oh well. Who wants to live forever in a boring cave anyway?
Comment by Zibby — June 10, 2008 @ 7:12 pm
Another unanswered question is what was the point in trying to beat the Russians to return the skull? Spalko returned it and she was killed. What was the point?
To answer the person’s question above, Indy’s father died even after drinking from the grail because the grail gave eternal life to everyone who drank from it so long as they never crossed the great seal in the temple. Crossing that seal was the price of immortality as the Knight said.
Comment by Ken F. — June 11, 2008 @ 9:00 am
I just wanted to ask Karen Allen what was it like to developed her role of being Marion Ravenwood from all these 19 years ? How did it changed your life as an actress ? Was it difficult to do all of your stunts compared from the beginning of Raiders Of The Lost Ark ? Whatever happens to the $5,000 dollars at hand when she says that she wanted to rebuild her own bar in Nepal somewhere else maybe perhaps ?
Comment by Lynn Angela Pisco — June 11, 2008 @ 8:02 pm
Ken F.: the “point” was that Indy realized the ‘mission’ was to return the skull to its circle of bretheren; that would be the only way to discover the ‘power of the crystal skull’ – after learning *that*, they would know whether such power was ‘controllable’ for their own purposes. The exact same silly question could be transposed to the first & third films in the series:
“what was the point in trying to beat the Germans to unearth the Ark? Belloq opened it and he was killed. What was the point?”
“what was the point in trying to beat the Germans to find the Grail? Donovan drank from it and he was killed. What was the point?”
I don’t mean to pick on Ken F. – I mean, he was spot on about the ‘eternal life/great seal’ explanation, which so many of the above posters don’t understand… from a film that’s been around since 1989!
But there would have been exactly the same hue & cry from netizens over the movie-logic and great feats in this adventure serial over the first 3 films… had the Internet been in existence during their release. In fact, I notice that there are a ton of misremembering of details from posters, which is the natural symptom of so many seeing the film once, wanting to join in on the ‘net-bound bashing to be ‘tre cool’, and then coming up with ‘plot-holes’ and half-remembered points, which AREN’T actually FROM THE FILM.
Look at the original questions – they’re not really relevant or thought-out questions or they are easily answered:
1. Happy ending: although not-at-all required by the film experience, it can pretty easily be assumed that after fighting with a Russian secret police/army contingent (which did exist in RL in the 50s-60s) and preventing them from achieving their imperialist goal (with three witnesses. including one who had been a US gov. consultant,) Indy was cleared, reinstated and given a better title. Because it is made clear and stated that he had been a trusted US agent in WWII, this would be relatively easy – the ‘doubts’ over his loyalty came from particular FBI agents early in the film, and it is no stretch that by the end of the events in the film, saner heads at the FBI prevailed. This happened in RL, and it happens today. How in the world is THIS any sort of big issue?
2. – That lock was shown being rigged and blown, not ‘psychic-ly opened in a shower of sparks.’ Irina is described and shown as a mind-reader, not a user of ‘powers’. She is a succubus of knowledge as a mind-reader. Its pretty clear (if you’re smarter than a mold-spore) that she is ‘mind-reading’ the alien, and the vast amounts of knowledge overwhelm her human capacity, and she is destroyed – undone by the sheer amount of ‘knowledge’ of the alien being, like a flood when she was expecting to drink a glass of water. Really not complicated, kids.
3. – “Un-mapped” does not mean “Unexplored” or “Un-traversed”. The Russians were cutting a more direct route through the jungle with the RL jungle-brush-cutter, which would be desirable to prepare a direct path for a motored convoy, which the Russians would want to create in case they were to decide to excavate or transport whatever they found in the alien ruins (which, at that point in the film, they knew was the destination). The path that the dueling trucks took after the cutting craft was destroyed was a narrow and winding dirt road that followed the bend of the river and the crest of the mountains, which are what almost all ancient-civilizations’ roads did. The temple was a place where the aliens ‘landed’ and rested, but the natives built the edifice further *around* the alien craft, and lived there for generations afterwards, watching over the ‘resting’ craft. I would have assumed that there would have been ancient-style dirt roads approaching the grounds where these natives lived – and there was never any indication to the contrary in the film. In fact, the explanation is clear when we actually see that there *are* still native living there…. which makes Question #5 pretty silly too.
#5. – As if there weren’t old tribes of natives guarding their sacred treasures in the 3 previous films. Heck, in “Crusade”, there were even 2 groups – the Order of the Grail (which was only slightly more effectual than the natives in ‘Skull’) and the 900-year-old Knights (2 of them had perished before). At least in “Skull”, they were portrayed as actively hiding, lying in wait as part of the ‘danger’ of the chamber itself, distinguishing them from the ‘natives’ in the previous films.
All in all, its a damn good thing that the Internet wasn’t around from 81-89. We’d *still* be bitching about: “God-powered lightning, melting, exploding and electrocuting all those that He found ‘evil'”, “reaching an island via tying one’s self to a submarine”, “Heil Hitler-saluting Monkeys”, “anthropomorphic rats that go “Uh-Oh!” when the “power of God” causes a Nazi symbol to self-burn”, “An entire tribe of over a hundred Hovito Indians chase him with spears, bows and arrows, and blow-darts —- and *not one* hits him?!?”, “a man is dragged for at least a mile behind a speeding truck – and he *survives*?!?”.
These, and more, are from the first film only. And that one’s unquestionably the best one – there are even more examples in the next two, but there’s only so much time.
Unless, of course, there’s thousands of sour nitpickers, with *lots* of time on their hands, who want to be kewl and bash away, and – these days – a way to do it. Then there’s plenty of time.
But it certainly does miss the point! Good luck with all that!
4. – As many have noted correctly above already, dumb question. Such theories were being expounded upon by the 40’s, and any brilliant researcher into the paranormal and religious beliefs of ancient civilizations would be quite familiar with them. [Also pretty sweet is that the “spaces in-between” is the popular way to describe the very-modern “string theory”, of other, unseen dimensions co-existing in our plane, but that we are too limited by human capacity to observe and/or describe.] It is also not odd in the least that a ‘spaceship’ would be required to ‘visit’ such ‘space between spaces’: its entirely speculative to describe or show what type of craft or mechanism one would need to use to get to this ‘other dimension’. We never actually see this “spaceship” go into space – it vanishes between edits. For all we know, the implication is that this craft/machine is what is required to travel between dimensions, and earthlings have just been assuming that “UFO sightings” were from outer-space and not ‘between-space’. Either way, there’s nothing at all “wrong” about the theory or the ‘spacecraft’.
Comment by Jerry G — June 11, 2008 @ 9:51 pm
I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this or not (there is a lot to read here) but a number of these questions can be answered by reading the James Rollins novel that is based on the screenplay. It’s very well written (I read the book before I saw the movie and what Rollins describes is exactly what one sees on screen) but he mentions that he was privy to some of the back story. It at least answers the Spalko question. But the back story can be very helpful. I recommend the novel.
Comment by codarwin — June 15, 2008 @ 11:51 am
Am I the only one who was bothered by the most glaringly anachronistic thing I’ve seen in a movie recently? There was an LED matrix display board for the countdown on the rocket sled at Area 51. A friend I went to see the film with said, “It’s Area 51 so it has better technology.” Well it doesn’t quite work that way. LED’s were not manufactured until the early 1960’s and I don’t recall ever seeing them arranged in matrix display boards until the mid 1980’s. What would have looked very cool, very high tech and very accurate for the period would have been a display board with Nixie tubes. They are a type of display that used a filament to form the entire digit. Ten filaments (0-9) are stacked in what looks like a vacuum tube. Current passing through the filament makes it glow and the number is now displayed. Since they’re stacked a change in the number, like in a countdown, makes the number in a tube appear to move forward or back. A nice side effect from this is it would make a countdown look even more menacing. They were invented in 1954 so they easily fit the time period. They are also not that hard to come by as they continued to be used and manufactured in the Soviet Union after LED displays made them obsolete in the US and western Europe. One can easily find them for sale on eBay and some people have used them to build decorative clocks. Maybe when Speilberg digitally removes the guns and replaces them with walkie talkies he can have a CGI Nixie display put in instead :)
Comment by SkyWayManAz — June 20, 2008 @ 10:19 pm
ok whoever wrote this is dumb. the term was interdimensional beings not multi-dimensional, there is a difference.
Comment by Jon — June 22, 2008 @ 1:23 am
[…] other news… 5 Questions Not Answered by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Beware – Includes spoilers). June 5, 2008 // Film/TV, News […]
Pingback by NOPAL — May 16, 2010 @ 12:27 pm
Part of question 1 can be answered. The people that were chasing Indy and his kid on the motorcycle weren’t FBI. They explicitly said they were KGB.
Comment by Alex Crossnoe — December 9, 2010 @ 9:35 pm
the torch is runnning ouuuutttt
Comment by marion — January 11, 2011 @ 10:22 am
What about the other knights that were protecting it like the guy that told Indie where the Germans were holding his dad?
Comment by RandomGuy — September 29, 2012 @ 4:55 pm
That skull was slightly different. Irina said it was and called it a ‘distant cousin, perhaps’
Comment by RandomGuy — September 29, 2012 @ 4:56 pm
The conquistadors didn’t steal the skull, Ox put hid it with them, but the question does then still stand.
Comment by RandomGuy — September 29, 2012 @ 4:58 pm