Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Crystal Skull"

one-of-the-13-crystal-skulls.jpgLegend says that a crystal skull was once stolen from a mystical lost city of gold in the Amazon jungles of Peru. It is supposedly guarded by the living dead, and it is said, that whoever returns the mystic skull to the Temple of Akator, will be given control over its powers.
Today at the Cannes film festival, the world press will get it’s first glimpse of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. However, advance internet reviews have already spread like wildire, causing a minor sensation with their largely negative assesments. Perhaps most importantly, The New York Times deemed the bad early reviews worthy enough for a feature story.

I for one think this is unfair, since I believe the ideas behind the new INDIANA JONES movie hold a great deal of promise. If it took nearly 20 years before both Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spielberg could agree on a script, it would seem to make it nearly impossible for this new Indy film to be as bad as some of the early comments indicate, and I’m quite sure it will be far better than INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM!
However, one of my own biggest fears after hearing that production was preceding on a fourth INDIANA JONES movie, was the absurd idea of showing us a 64-year old Harrison Ford trying to mimic the stunts he performed when he was 38. Thankfully, Lucas decided to allow Harrison Ford to age gracefully and play his own age. Obviously that automatically gives the film a great deal more verisimilitude than it would have otherwise, especially given the fantastic nature of the stunts in all the previous movies. And what is wrong with that? It can actually be a source for a great deal of humor, as witnessed by several of Clint Eastwood’s recent films, where Mr. Eastwood the director allows Eastwood the actor to play his own real age. He doesn’t foolishly try to pretend to be the young action hero he was from 30 years ago.
Of course, isn’t that also the whole point of introducing Shia LeBouf into the new picture, playing Indiana and Marion’s 19-year old son, Mutt Williams? At the age of 21, LeBouf plays a motorcycle riding drop-out, modeled after such iconic rebels as Marlon Brando and James Dean. In his role as a fifties rebel with a cause (finding his mother), he will certainly be far more believable doing stunts than his 64-year old on-screen father. Of course, even if they look unbelievable on-screen, Mr. Ford was in such good shape he still managed to do ALL of his own stuntwork!
Interestingly enough, Steven Spielberg notes that he has always referred to the INDIANA JONES movies as “Raiders” pictures. “That’s what I love to call them,” reports the director. “The world knows them as INDIANA JONES films,’ but I call them ‘Raiders’ pictures.”
Once upon a time, that is also what George Lucas called them. In interviews after the phenomenal success of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in 1981, Lucas claimed all the sequels would be called RAIDERS OF… (followed by the name of whatever occult object Indy was searching for.)  By that formula, the title for the newest adventure – and presumably the one that Steven Spielberg would prefer – should be RAIDERS OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.
However, it seems that concept was discarded sometime before the release of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, when Lucas realized that a title like RAIDERS OF THE SANKARA STONES, would be a huge drag on box-office results. So instead, Indiana Jones became the operative word in all the subsequent titles, even to the point of re-titling the first film, INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK!

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