Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 2008 American adventure science fiction film. It is the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise, created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. Released nineteen years after the previous film, the film acknowledges its star Harrison Ford's age by being set in 1957. It pays tribute to the science fiction B-movies of the era, pitting Indiana Jones against Soviet agents—led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett)—for a psychic alien crystal skull. Indiana is aided by his former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent are also part of the supporting cast.
Screenwriters Jeb Stuart, Jeffrey Boam, Frank Darabont, and Jeff Nathanson wrote drafts before David Koepp's script satisfied the producers. Shooting began on June 18, 2007, and took place in various locations including New Mexico; New Haven, Connecticut; Hawaii; and Fresno, California, as well as on sound stages in Los Angeles, California. To keep aesthetic continuity with the previous films, the crew relied on traditional stunt work instead of computer-generated stunt doubles and cinematographer Janusz Kamiński studied Douglas Slocombe's style from the previous films.
Marketing relied heavily on the public's nostalgia for the series, with products taking inspiration from all four films. Anticipation for the film was heightened by secrecy, which resulted in a legal dispute over an extra violating his non-disclosure agreement and the arrest of another man for stealing a computer containing various documents related to the production.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released worldwide on May 22, 2008, to generally positive reviews. It was also a financial success, grossing over $786 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of the franchise when not adjusted for inflation, the second highest-grossing film of 2008 and the third highest-grossing film ever produced by Lucasfilm, after Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
In 1957, World War II hero Indiana Jones and his partner George "Mac" McHale are kidnapped by a group of Soviet agents led by Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko. The Soviets infiltrate a warehouse labeled "Warehouse 51" in Nevada and force Jones to find a crate containing the remains of an extraterrestrial that crashed ten years earlier near Roswell, New Mexico. After finding the crate, with its highly magnetic contents, Mac, bribed by the Soviets, double-crosses Jones. After a running battle with the Soviets, Indiana manages to escape on a rocket sled into the desert; he stumbles into a deserted town, part of a nuclear test site and survives a nuclear detonation by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. He is later debriefed by the FBI, who believe he's also working for the Soviets. Shortly after returning to Marshall College, Jones is offered an indefinite leave of absence to avoid being fired because of the incident.
At a train station, Jones is stopped by greaser Henry "Mutt" Williams, who tells him that his old colleague Harold Oxley was kidnapped after discovering a crystal skull in Peru. Jones tells Mutt about the legend of crystal skulls found in the mystical city of Akator and whoever returns the skull to the city would be given control over its supernatural powers. Mutt gives Jones a letter from his mother, who is also being held captive, containing a riddle written by Oxley in an ancient Native American language. This leads them to the Nazca Lines in Peru. There they discover that Oxley was in a psychiatric hospital, after suffering a mental breakdown from handling the skull, and was kidnapped from his cell by the Soviets. In Oxley's cell, they find clues that lead them to the grave of Francisco de Orellana, a Conquistador who went missing in the 16th century while searching for Akator. They discover the skull at the grave, with Jones reasoning that Oxley had hidden it there.
Shortly afterward, Jones and Mutt are captured by the Soviets and taken to their camp, where they find Oxley and Mutt's mother, who turns out to be Jones' old love Marion Ravenwood, who reveals that Mutt is Jones' son, Henry Jones III. Spalko believes that the crystal skull belongs to an interdimensional being and holds great psychic power, and proves her theory by showing that the corpse stolen from the warehouse has an identically shaped skull. She also believes that returning the skull to Akator will grant the Soviets the advantage of psychic warfare. Jones, Marion, Mutt and Oxley escape from the Soviets into the Amazon; however, they are recaptured after Jones falls into a swamp and Oxley fetches the Soviets to help. While being taken through the rainforest to Akator, Marion and Indiana argue so much that their guard gags Marion. However, Jones and Mutt manage to overpower him, after Jones frees himself with Mutt's hidden knife. He ungags Marion, then Mutt frees her while Jones takes over the truck. The group escapes and makes it to the city, but only after evading the Soviets and a brush with bullet ants, negotiating three waterfalls in a duck and narrowly avoiding being killed by a tribe guarding the long-abandoned city. Mac, who again switched allegiances and claims to be a double agent, has been secretly leaving a trail for the Soviets to follow.
Inside the central temple, they find artifacts from several ancient civilizations. Jones deduces that the creatures were kindred spirits; they too were "archaeologists" studying the different cultures of Earth. The five enter a chamber containing the crystal skeletons of thirteen alien beings seated in a circle, with one missing its skull. After the Soviets arrive, Spalko replaces the skull. The aliens communicate to the group through Oxley using an ancient dialect and promises to reward them with a "big gift"; Spalko demands to "know everything". The skeletons grant her request and transfer their collective knowledge into her mind. At the same time they activate a portal to another dimension. Jones, Marion, Mutt and the now restored Oxley escape the temple, but Mac and the other Soviets are sucked into the portal. Meanwhile, the skeletons combine to form a single being and the knowledge transfer overwhelms Spalko, causing her to disintegrate; her dust is then drawn into the portal. The survivors watch as the temple walls crumble, revealing a massive flying saucer slowly rising from the debris; it hovers for a second before disappearing into the "space between spaces".
Sometime later, after Jones is reinstated at Marshall College and made an associate dean, he and Marion are married in a church.
Classic Cars in the Movie
- 1951 Buick Special De Luxe
- 1948 Chevrolet 3112
- 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Special
- 1957 Chevrolet Two-Ten
- 1956 Dodge Coronet
- 1950 Ford De Luxe
- 1931 Ford Model A
- 1961 GAZ 69 M
- 1950 Oldsmobile 88
- 1954 Oldsmobile 98
- 1958 Rambler American