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ninjaink's avatar

The Tomb of the Primes

I know some of you hated the 2nd movie... but just imagine how awesome this would be.

I did, and my head exploded.
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StriderSyd's avatar
I would rather have seen THIS, than the actual movie that did come out.
Powalski13's avatar
*hysteriacl laughter* Good word swap!
And what's the connection between both franchises? Shia Labouf is in both.
Mystic2760's avatar
this would make a totally kick-ass movie.
Desiinurface's avatar
is this a real movie?
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a masterpeice compared to Revenge of the Fallen
TheRavensBastard39's avatar
agreed. though Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wasn't great, it at least managed to be a decent and enjoyable return to the world of Indiana Jones. Revenge of the Fallen sucks donkey nads. 
I actually liked Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, sure it was stupid but I think it has to be appreciated for what it is. I'm not seeing the new Transformers movie. The first I was able to forgive because it was introducing the characters, the rest suck. They need to reboot the franchise and do it right this time.
KeeperoftheSystem's avatar
fuck yes I love this. When my bf linked me I was like "please be Indiana Jones, please be Indiana Jones"

This is the most awesome thing. Ever.
Bitex93's avatar
Hah! Brilliant idea! Want to see that movie!
Oh my gosh YES. I would line up for the midnight premiere of this in a heartbeat.
An author I know recently snuck in that Sam's mom was Indy's niece or something like that ;)

Someone needs to write this crossover!
Neville6000's avatar
I had no big problem with Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull-those that did just wanted the same thing as The Last Crusade, Temple Of Doom and Raiders, and didn't get it. This poster is very well done.
DJKennedy90's avatar
A-freakin'-men. Crystal Skull isn't a bad movie, at worst it's kinda mediocre. But I have to say that as a series on the whole, I enjoyed the Indiana Jones movies MORE than Star Wars. Even taking the prequels out of the equation. But all six Star Wars are alright, if you don't take them seriously.
Neville6000's avatar
Crystal Skull isn't mediocre at all, and I can give you a review that sums up why it's the best in the series:

"..we still have the issues about the direction we'd like to take. I'm in the future;
Steven's in the past. He's trying to drag it back to the way they were, I'm trying to
push it to a whole different place. So, still we have a sort of tension. This recent one
came out of that." - George Lucas

Two brains made a movie. George Lucas' exponentially more complex story-lining
and Steven Spielberg's amiably increasing Antonionisms merge for convulsive
weirdness in the latest install of the Indiana Jones epic. Tossing aside the thinning
plot styles of the last two Jones films, Crystal Skull is a mutation of key themes
established in Raiders, essentially a return to form (return is a theme the film layers
on), and outlays an attempt to bridge Old Testament and (potential) future
testaments. The Jones films are about myth and our reckless use and awareness of
their power(s). Look closely into Skull and you'll see the act of preserving myth is
the nail humans hammer dead-on into the collective coffin, the film offers lavish
deceptions underneath the plot you think you are watching, and shows both real
and perceived coffins for us to relish our deaths in one day, or crystallize a way out
into newer tropes of time use (the goal of the film is achievable for humans only
outside the film's timeline since the characters misinterpret the skull and its uses
entirely). Ultimately Skull will only be understood by the 9 year-olds out there in the
dark that feel the magic enough to dream the solution.
Ultra visually astute thinkers, Lucas and Spielberg aim for simplicity: they use the
warehouse that ends Raiders as a form/structure that the final throne room of
Crystal Skull embodies, though scale is altered and the form has been rendered
circular. They saucerize it and alter the enclosure scheme: treasures are left
exposed for viewing and the boxes become the throne room. These forms animate
scene-to-scene until the final saucer departs. The key mystery: the skull's power
and process by which it is returned is entirely explained by this form-changing, the
myth of the skull's stealing is just that, a myth. The skull is a lure to a planet of
treasure seekers to test our right to evolve. Crucially the mystery remains unsolved
at film's end, Spalko, Jones or Oxley still do not understand what they have seen,
yet this visual transformation of warehouse to saucer throne room explains it to us

Defying the current swell to digitalize fully, Spielberg has reverted to a strictly
celluloid release, forever condemning any hi-res masterpieces the ILM personnel
are taping all over the canvas to the unusually able distortion of filmed optics (in a
way, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a time-machine since it resembles films with
effects from the 90's set in the 50's made late in the 00's). If you were to stare at a
matte painting used in Raiders of the Lost Ark (see image above), you could or
would see brush strokes that become mountains once put under the lens and into
the bath. Celluloid hides many secrets digital formats can't. What you see is still the
negative/positive and its density of blacks (the dark) that brought blockbuster
abstraction to the first two Jones films.
The retro Paramount logo appears, it dissolves to a small mound. Immediately the
tip crumbles, the upper sides cascade and the scale is proven by a prairie dog, who
dusts himself off and races away from a tire that smashes his exit. There is a veiled
dis to Paramount, look above, studio politics can become subtle motion glyphs. We
don't even see the first human form intrusion is a circle with a chrome hubcap, it
blurs by so fast, but we can hear the engine. The metaphor: humans dominate here
without being aware of their actual path: an earth/animal paradox. The prairie dog
and the ants seen in the jungle both emerge from the ground, but where the prairie
dog must flee, the ants do not. And don't forget, like Indiana, the ants and prairie
dogs are earth diggers.
The Red-Flamed, 'Hound-Dog' blaring, '32 Ford, a reference to Milner's Coupe from
American Graffiti, is a materially formed American object. The Coupe zips across
open grassland and reaches two-lane blacktop where a military-starred Army
convoy speeds, a vehicular storytelling style not unlike how ships approach planets
at the opening of Star Wars films. Don't forget the cars are 25 years apart in design,
they bridge the era of Raiders with the one that this film is set in. Consider how we
perceive their differences, to us they appear from the same era. And the song has a
sly under-meaning: Jones and his son are both named after George Lucas's dogs.
Soldiers inside stare at them impassively: these are not North Americans (they
would be cheering). The kids driving the Coupe, screaming in an exact replica of the
audience's screaming for the film's opening night, ride up in the oncoming-lane and
are shown mirrored in the Army's olive drab Ford's shiny hubcaps: the first
recognizable saucer.
This bookends the sequence with the first tire-shot, a mirror of mirrored saucers.
These saucers the film references reflect our culture in ever magnifying scope. This
saucer is being used to push metal with carbon-based fuel. As a film about saucers
and the metaphysics of why our species imagines this spatiodynamic object as a
vehicular metaphor (see Jung's Flying Saucers for greatest details), Kingdom of the
Crystal Skull is about our imagination and the metaphors we experience time-travel
through, and paradoxically, the reasons these goals are unachievable. Imagining
immortality has a dynamic place in film. Making fun of our quest for it is even
Spielberg responds to Lucas's maddeningly digital mirroring of the later Star Wars
films with his own on-set mirrors, some are in landscapes, the clearest example is
the first and only cut inside the troop vehicle, the dark edge of the tarp roof makes
a mountain shape that mirrors the previous landscape.
Panning from interior to exterior, the reveal shot shows the Soviet driver's face
looking in camera at us in his circular rear-view (forcing us to 'become' the
dragsters in their Coupe, this shot is cut from the hubcap mirror in perfect flow) and
panning to them in reflection as well, gaining ground. Look at all the circular
objects. Mirrors, headlamps. They come parallel to the lead car, containing the
Muscle-Man leader of the Soviets, who warns his driver not to race the kids across
from him. The kids swerve, avoiding a truck, but are undaunted, they plead with the
driver, who is young, to join them and he does once the females are framed,
speeding off, his vehicle separating from the column. The kids cannot see this trunk
hides our hero and whether he likes it or not, Indy is part of this contest. Spielberg
has condensed the space-race and cold war into an innocuous drag. A flame vs. a
nationalist star that happens to represent both Soviet and U.S. ideologies.
Splitting from the road, the Army column takes a right at the Atomic Cafe, an actual
place, during an actual time. The sign rises, final placement just above the horizon:
a perfect prediction of the mushroom cloud that ends this next opening sequence
mirrored perversely here, bookend number two. Neon hums. Dusk is arriving. The
echoes of "Hound Dog" become hollow. A major opening scene was to occur here in
Frank Darabont's early draft of the film, it remains a ghost here of that paranoia.
The title appears "NEVADA 1957" on a landscape that includes an unusually saucerlike
cloud form on the right vista.
After killing guards that have declared a 24 hour cut-off in access to a desert
facility, they drive in, on left a U.S. Flag and on the right, a series of crosses
(telephone) that disappear behind a Restricted sign. Spielberg & co. suggest this is
a somewhat nationalist - Christian undertaking, whatever this combustion column
has as an underlying myth, it is unified by a cruciform. All these forms ride above
horizon, their dominance is implicit. Telephone poles bookend later in establishing
the Peruvian locale, seemingly emanating from the central church's main cross. The
second view of the column penetrating the area is first overlaid with a black and
white barrier and then our view is bisected by a foreground of Old Glory, the second
five-pointed star we have spotted. Our star designed in reflection to our being.
Click on image to see Skull's other checkpoint. Notice similarities, look very closely,
some hints: the B&W angled stripes of the raised barriers become the angles of the
crypt's door AND the serpents that descend upon opening, Stop signs become the
dual warning masks. Differences: notice the parallax horizon aimed left here and
right there. Spielberg is insisting this beginning mirrors the ending, this is also a
Kingdom of a Crystal Skull, as one is kept here, buried and awaiting unlocking.
Once ejected from the trunk, and preceded by his hat, a circle with a bump in it,
Indy is surrounded by a circle of men aiming rifles at him. The film reuses Indy's hat
shape as a saucer shape. The endless uses of it, especially shadowed, indicate how
close Indy is to comprehending Spalko's search. Our shadowed hero stands in front
of the car's star (military, is the atomic bomb also a military star?), the golden sun
behind him off-camera: he stands between our actual star off-screen, and our
identification star, the five pointed one, between a mirror of asymmetrical stars.
Showcasing Indy's form as silhouette, this film is about creatures that not only do
not block light, they generate it. These glyphic shot-compositions, of contrasts
between light, body and symbol, suggest the aliens are combinations of properties
we worship without knowing how to integrate them into our evolution.
Lower right is the saucer that ends the film. Myth, vehicle, persona, state, inversion,
theme all in one image.
A man punches Indy after removing his brimless hat, and then an arrival stops him
from continuing: Through a cloudy, dusty car window (a gray haze) appears Irina
Spalko. Craving next-level consciousness, she looks, dresses and acts foreign: She
mocks her own role practically as an illegal alien. Her outfit, gray, her skin,
porcelain white, her back and belt affixed with five-pointed stars. He singles her to
show us her blue eyes and red lips, but the coloration is subtle. Despite the warm
glow of the incandescent bulbs or the setting sun, she is ghosted with unearthly
light. Her hair/helmet suggest the spheres of Lucas' magnum opus villain: Vader -
she carries swords around as if a duel is ready to happen at any minute. Having
requested and repeatedly been denied the chance to direct one of the new Star
Wars films by Lucas, this is his replacement chance.
Welcome to Steven Spielberg's Star Wars film.
"you're not from around here."
The questioners and questioned form a five star-pattern of bodies. She tells Indy
that she wants knowledge buried inside his head and opens her hand in an attempt
to read his mind psychically. He laughs at her and she tells him that he is hard to
read. She soft slaps him in a mirror of Indy's first punch, and now he mocks her
further by replying 'ouch.' The words know and knowledge are used repeatedly in
contrast to gold and treasure. These white-skinned Westerners have separated
these concepts and are now adrift in an unconscious, somewhat underground
intrafaith war. Indy, though he searches for ancient relics (that she boldly shatters
and sweeps away underfoot mimicking the opening shot), doesn't know the
purpose of this quest. Neither do, actually. Each film references a differing rationale,
he is hired by the U.S. Gov't in Raiders, stumbles into a desiccated village-in-need
in Temple of Doom and chases after his kidnapped father in Crusade. Each film
showcases Indy's realizations played out as central theme, here little or no purpose
is realized. Our nemesis Spalko, provides the balance, she is the film's purpose, not
unlike the Smith character in The Matrix, a catalyst that hides the full possibility of
knowledge. A dangerous and unconscious division of labor.
A wide reveal shows us a massive building, on the scale of several aircraft hangars,
where two Soviet technicians stand staring at its security and with a flourish, Spalko
repeats the gesture of reading Indy's mind, and the door's lock explodes, the
gateway doors part for them to reveal a massive warehouse, the warehouse that
ended Raiders of the Lost Ark. Gears opening this door are mirrored at film's end
with the flooding gears that crush their escape route, like Lucas' Star Wars films,
Skull is littered with scale-mirrors that create a visual dialogue no one inside the
film seems to be aware of. This throwaway Force gesture: the massive warehouse is
much easier to 'read' than Jones' head, both are filled with similar information of
differing types. Perversely labeled only on the inside, "51," the facility's appearance
as the first archeological decrypt (Indy's skills are normally used to find ancient
treasures in original settings), means this film is evolving the notion of treasure.
Indy himself has contributed artifacts here (his complicity is in question). The room
is both maze and reliquary locale, cobwebs blanket the anonymous and endless
wooden crates like other tombs of earlier empires: a powerful indictment of modern
America's concept of itself. It simply collects the previous civilization's treasures
and hides them, not with the panache of a mystical or mythical want, but with coldheaded
bureaucracy/technocracy. A soulless empire that counts Indiana as a
In a reverse of Raiders, this film starts in the warehouse and ends in the South
American jungle exactly 20 years later. Indy protests and is shown the tip of her
sword. The box she is looking for Indy has already seen, a box among boxes. She
tells him that the contents were inspected ten years earlier and he remembers. He
asks for a compass, and his companion Mac turns the directions into an identity
when he underlines "west;" the screenplay is commenting on the futility of claiming
a point on the horizon as our own. He commandeers gunpowder, since the contents
of this particular box are highly magnetized, and begins a sinister search, the group
following the shifting ghost movements of the powder high above the boxes. Spalko
even uses the wording paradoxically: "What is the point Dr. Jones..?"
Notice similarities to the chamber at film's end? She stares again at a blinding light
at that height differential, this is a throne-room shot which represents the scaled
power of knowledge. The alien replaces Indiana here in the final scene, a transition
in evolutionary terms. The point of this shot is to create a differential in light with
the alien, who is the summary of the light and the body (the skeletons generate the
spotlights in the final scene), while here Indy and the light are separated,
uncombined, unevolved.
Once found, the box opens and metal in all directions begins to follow it, even the
light fixtures are pulled, saucer shapes resembling UFO's. The Soviets have opened
several boxes nearby and the metal contents of other secrets begin to follow the
chosen one under its magnetic power: This treasure causes all other treasures to
follow it, it is 'above them' in a way. A sealed steel box is opened like a large trunk:
an unearthly shroud is cut and an Alien is revealed, the product of the Roswell
crash. As the coffin is opened, Spielberg shows us Spalko in the mirror of the
Surreally the body is covered in a gray rubberized form, an allusion to her, and as
she reverently cuts open the gray, she is cutting open her mirror in the film. Indy,
not having seen the being, escapes and commandeers a truck, attempting to
escape with the contents. MacHale (Ray Winstone) tells his Soviet driver, engaged
in a game of chicken with Jones in an alley-like passage, that he doesn't know what
he is dealing with in car-dueling with Indy, the opening drag race is now reverted:
he repeats "you don't know, you don't know!' as both cars implode; Indy escapes
and is caught by the Soviet head man and they fall into a new room with a glass
disc on the floor (a Star Wars-type element and a saucering reference that portals
with the squared aisles of boxes above).
and they fall again, into a room with a platform lit in cool fluorescent bulbs (Star
Wars references that mimic the jet-sled that follows below)
and below is a glass sealed observation room, a massive jet engine on a testing
sled - tracks lead out into the darkness. The duel triggers a countdown and the the
two men are sent into the desert at Mach speeds, where prairie dogs watch the
flaming jet race by mirroring the opening shot, car to jet. The animals are watching
a needless human comedy to dominate speed not travel. The flames mirror the '32
coupe. The jet comes to rest at a terminal taken visually straight out of Close
Encounters of the Third Kind's landing site. In many ways, Skull has its core lifted
from CE3K: Harold Oxley is this film's Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus), whose psychic
implant/vision leads him to the Devil's Tower ending, suggesting in parallel only
Oxley is suitable to enter the next stage of the saucer's consciousness/vision.
Indy escapes into the night, and finds a canyon (another Star Wars visual reference)
that exposes into a distant suburban town. Far below, in what appears to be a
perfect suburban landscape he narrowly escapes being discovered by his Soviet
pursuers as he jumps a backyard fence and enters a house through the kitchen,
where faucets run dry (paradoxically, staged car washing has real water: see
above). Unlike the suburban settings of previous Spielberg films, imperfect, nicked,
dusty, these are falsely perfect, it is his latest comment on his origins in suburban
Phoenix. The TV blares "What time is it?" as in Howdy-Doody time, a perversely
perfect reference to the film's subliminal message as a time-travel corpus. The
place is a frozen (in time) set to test Atomic bombs. Indy quickly finds shelter in a
lead-lined refrigerator (mimicking the alien corpse's container) and once the bomb
explodes, a shot shows the blast taking the TV out first, he is propelled into the air,
outrunning the unlucky Soviets who stare at the new missile-refrigerator: they are
consumed in the fireball. Spielberg vaporizes his former locale: a fake suburbia, a
place he reverently used to refer to (Poltergeist/ET). The fridge settles on the
ground, expels Indy, who stares at a prairie dog that hides from him, mirroring the
opening shot.
Mimicking the first shot of Indy's reveal from the car trunk, military star left, real
one right. Indy and his Saucer-hat in the middle, again this is a shot-image glyph
that suggests these are separations of what the alien combines to achieve
As if to barrel the mirroring point across, the film pans establishing a desert AFB,
replete with the new sound of jet engines, and a hangar where Indy is taken. Inside
a room that seems identical to the one that he and the Soviet crashed into earlier,
Indy is scrubbed of his annoyance: radiation poisoning. The film then has its reverse
of Raider's Federal scene, U.S. Agents suggest paranoia as a rule and dispute all
claims of patriotism. Knowledge has many values. Indy angrily recounts how little
he was made aware of the stored material in question, and for the second time he
has been disallowed from knowing what the government has found. The state is
complicit in humanity's lack of consciousness about the ethereal AND the real. As a
film without true heroes and villains, Crystal Skull is a daring blockbuster. The
return of the Crystal Skull is the film's central mystery. The vectors for the return
happen to be a legend that becomes a myth. The U.S. Govt is powerless to stop it
and the Soviet state is powerless to control it. Each is measured in its humiliation as
custodian of the potential of the inherent 'crystal' knowledge, and each fall under
the spell of the military star to contain its use within the culture. Lucas and
Spielberg suggest as conquerors/graverobbers of the preexisting American cultures,
we are separated from the ability to achieve consciousness while we regard our
math, our cosmology as pinnacle/peerless. How can we learn from something we
Returned to teaching, Indy is quickly removed from his post once the FBI begins to
rifle through his files, and he flees for a job offer in Leipzig (once a place of enemies
in earlier films, now an accepted scholarly destination). Materializing out of fog,
Indy's own personal sequel Mutt (a joke-reference since Indiana is named for a
former dog of Lucas's, and referenced larkishly by the film's opening song: Hound
Dog), initiates his next grave-digging, luring the Jones scion with a letter and the
promise of a crystal skull, the lost city of Akator (known commonly as "El Dorado")
and the grave of famed searcher of Akator, Francisco Orellana.
But not before the Jones team is chased biker vs. car across the Yale/Marshall
campus, culminating in a Soviet car knocking down a statue of Marcus Brody, his
head separating and crashing through a windshield: a perfect warning for the film's
ending in which a statue's head is reattached. Knowledge is regained in the koanic
reversal. This is the first throne (maybe the only) to a kingdom we are shown.
Indy ably converts Mutt's incipient play with conflict (he wets his comb in a soc's
Coke, takes a pending beer that Indy replaces) into an escape device. Fending off
the pursuit, Indy directs his son (in their first chase scene) to ditch into the library
where they slide to a slow end just missing a student carrying a stack of books. He
tells his students to get out of the library and do real field research, grabbing a hold
to his progeny and darting away. A plane-traveling shot reveals the view below (a
view down that "only the gods can see") of Nazca lines, a lost civilization that
created massive pictograms aimed at eyes staring down from the sky. Wickedly,
they show you a spider (the weaver of consciousness), and a spiral, the film's
motion evolution AND the motion of the plane's propeller. This film is perhaps the
most vehicular of the Indy films: even the final river passage is on a gas combustion
amphibious auto. Once in Peru, a long tracking shot moves from Mutt's spinning his
knife (spirals) to a colonial South American church that frames the background, the
seat of spiritual power once, through a market to an archway that frames a
telephone pole that represents a Christian cross. The market showcases the various
levels of conquest/cultural identity remains that the European presence created, in
a nod to Raiders, Indy spits, mirroring Marion's in a similar market in Cairo. The
scene is the only time we see ethnicities interacting somewhat in harmony. This
cross motif has followed us all the way from the Atomic checkpoint, where
telephone poles drift in the distance, to here, where they come into frame from the
distance: Mac stands underneath this ending cross, identifying an intra-Christian
war for the skull. Paradoxically, even members of the same faith find new ways to
go to war: the border.
As subliminal commentary on the conquest of America (the film references
Orellana's El Dorado quest but mentions this word only once, replacing it with a
Star Wars-ish trademarkable fiction: Akator), the film is set continuously in a
western construct that created domain/order over American indigenous spirituality,
the college (an enlightenment neo-gothicism), the book that first shows us the
Nazca lines (that duplicates 'god's eye's view' for any consumer), the Church to
Asylum tracking shot, each illustrate a determined and unconscious colonialism. As
the only Jones film set entirely in this hemisphere, the creative team may be going
for broke with their thematic embrace of the American/colonialism idiom. Voyages
into hidden cities under ruins allows for contact with mythically dangerous
protectors. The first scene is basically an indoctrination into American
consciousness, hot-rod to convoy to base/storage-control to nuclear inception via
suburban freeze frame Apocalypse. As a film series that once showed a slight,
National Geographic-like respect towards the primitive/dark, this film is a process of
skin-tone and relations discordance. The campus is populated only by white people
(he shows you a white-on-white socs vs. greasers rumble in the coffee shop, fills an
anti-communist rally of all whites). And to contrast, the natives that guard tombs
now walk and move supernaturally, if subtly. As a film about racism laced in
'treasure seeking,' the dice are loaded differently.
The overarching magnetism of racism is the one emitted by the first blockbuster in
the Americas. The Birth of a Nation was a sentimental superscape of reconstruction
southern justice grafted on Woodrow Wilson's white man's burden, looped around
fears of the dark and of a burrowing fear of the rising weight of black identity. Like a
lighting strike into every movie theater, Americans thronged to see this opera of
hatred dressed as a patriotic counterpoint to WWI. Its power was so unique it alone
instigated the Klan's resurrection and is no doubt indirectly responsible for the
deaths of humans. The blockbuster was born here with a bang, and its maker
Griffiths no doubt comprehended the potential furor his film was to cause. As if to
counterweight Griffiths, the makers decide to satirize the form, the genre they've
recreated once before, they now see its problematic groove, so the answer is to
build a Flaubert-like trap. If you don't laugh at it, you're probably it.
The film at its hidden core a self-consciously twisted parody-commentary of ethnic
relations as dark primeval men defend palaces with white skinned otherlings
grasping for keys (or in one case, possessing them) to eternity. This is a dark film
that suggests a hell-bent satirical lens on obvious racial relations in mirror
conquests occurring here in 5000 BC (when the 'Aliens' land and build Akator) and
then in 1500 AD (when Orellana comes close to achieving what Indy/Oxley/Spalko
go half way with), essentially a view inside the myth of conquest. The elements are
not riddles, in fact the riddles that appear are distortions that hide the real meaning
of the film from the audience, in effect a sly send-up to other films like National
Treasure, but the film itself is a heaving, gaping riddle, it acts as both paradigm and
teaching tool. The question becomes: do we want these keys to eternity? Inside the
insane asylum, past dark skinned inmates, rotored ceiling fans and a spinning vinyl
record disc of soothing music, they are shown Oxley's former cell,
a skull reverted as a room, and dialogue that uses the word 'mind' repeatedly: the
windows make eyes, a motif reversed once arriving in Akator where eyes peer from
behind a bas relief skull. The skull has been carved into the wall and the phrase
'return' is listed in all languages its occupant knew: Oxley is telling the key idea to
the audience: Return. It is a direct command to the children in the audience. The
word also decodes Oxley's two discoveries, he returns to the chamber he found the
skull to hide it and of course they decrypt the resting place, a pyramidal structure
overlooking Nazca lines, a previously unfound city where 'living dead' guardians
attempt to kill grave-robbers. Pointedly, the guardians are the heroes here, Indy and
son are ambiguously allowed to enter, they are the Christian poachers among an
indigenous group, Indy satirically mutters: "It's good we're not grave robbers."
When Mutt thinks he sees someone, Indy blares out satirical racism "Ah, you're
jumpin at shadows."
Deep in the bowels of the temple are chambered passageways. One opening
passes over a disc (a saucer), an Aztec calendar dial, that levers to expose another,
deeper chamber. If Skull begins with a western wheel flying across the plains, it
bisects here with a Mesoamerican (Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mayan) time wheel
literally and allegorically used as a passageway. Crucially the Maya like the Aztec
did not invent or use the wheel in transportation, Lucas is suggesting the alternate
use of the wheel is to re-imagine time, and crucially Indy does not recognize it for
us: our culture doesn't see it, we see the combustion-engine wheel as our claim to
Inside are seven wrapped bodies, members of Francisco De Orellana's entourage.
One is exposed to the world by Indy cutting using Mutt's knife (he cuts through
brown/tan/white colors ie: Indy's own outfit) and we see his pale face decompose (it
looks like he died yesterday), and the rigorous (and futile) attempt to gain
immortality is shown to the children in the audience, the what and how the
deception of immortality works (or is hoped for): white skin decomposes to dead
tissue. A motif of accelerated decrepitude, the dissolving face has made an
appearance in earlier Jones films (even the heartless sacrificial of Doom has his
head scalded). This momentarily perfectly preserved face is Indy's mirror (in
counterpoint to Spalko's alien, she is gray cutting through gray). Once Orellana's
body is found: a paradox is shown. We view the decomposed body of Orellana
protected by armor, capped by a golden face mask (humans mistake the gold of
treasure with its metaphor: the sun's rays that hide a doorway to time-travel) , a
clearly poor use of materials to achieve an everlasting life. The Kingdom Milton
speaks of is not here or in Akator, but buried inside every conqueror, whether
conquistador or archeologist. Calling it a Kingdom may be its undoing, its paradox,
the title tells us why the Skull's treasure is unachievable. Underneath the body
however, hidden behind his head, is the real prize, the crystal skull Orellana had
stolen and Oxley had rediscovered and returned to hide from the Soviets. Indiana
mutters a key word: "Unbelievable" and in his hands is the opposite of the bodies
around him, this being is eternal having fused the materials from their dimensional
home and made the bone and brain/neuron elements longer lasting than mere
flesh. Possession of it is pointless, it must be returned for its secrets to be known.
Again, all other metal treasure follows this unusual magnetism. A treasure above all
others. The Skull might be the most intimate metaphor for the computer and its
elementally purified circuitry, a solid state living consciousness by all appearances
inert. The neuron evolved progressively.
Once outside the temple, Soviets appear and take the Skull for their own and Indy
and Mutt are taken prisoner and sped to the Amazon. Deep in the Amazonian
jungle, a Soviet camp is exposed to us, where Indy sits strapped in a tent, and the
forest's edge is lit by a campfire surrounded by dancing Russians. Mac reminds him
the real goal is to find Akator, where a city of gold is promised. He is replaced by
Spalko who suggests the crystal skulls are products of an unearthly civilization.
Notice the opaque nets that project Indy's hat-shape and whose head is inside the
saucer shape. Oxley is then presented and his madness of the Skull seems to be a
subtle form of telepathy (he seems to 'hear' Indy think later in the film once the
skull's 'magic' is performed on him). Apparently the skulls open up new areas inside
the mind, the purpose is unknown except Oxley presents a barely logical being,
speaking in riddle, barely aware of the physical, and gesturing in mid air. Indy is
forced to experience the power of the skull, which is uncovered and charged with
electricity and sends a signal into Jones's brain. The effects cause a series of
spasms. As in other films, Indy appears to have been transformed.
It is clear Oxley's transformation by the skull was not like Indy's, he seems to have
been taken over, his eyes never engage others, he auto-writes. Indy's
transformation is artificial. Oxley's door to consciousness is opened (and she
misidentifies him as weak-minded).
Discovering that Oxley auto-writes in mid-air when asked questions, the images he
gestures with turn out to be logograms of Mayan that create a riddle for the location
of Akator. Indy decodes these, and after a half-baked escape attempt that reveals
Mutt's role as Indy and Marion Ravenwood's son (set in sinking dry sand), find
themselves on a journey across the Amazon basin to find it.
Leading the path through the jungle is a Soviet jungle-leveling machine, descendant
directly from the mythology of Star Wars Episode I in which a Trade Federation
behemoth shreds jungle without blinking. Tied up are the newly reunited family
Jones, where their escape is guaranteed, and fraught with inter-family squabbling,
humorously son cries out 'oh, shit' in relief when Indy opens a switchblade from
behind his back to cut his bindings. Indy's first move to disrupt the convoy is to aim
an RPG at the jungle shredder between son and wife, and it causes the disc cutter
to be propelled directly at them, bisecting each car in succession (a mirror of the 32
coupe's bisecting the prairie dog's mound, the process continues, amplifies,
As ingenuity of fighting continues absurdly (Mutt duels Spalko ala Vader and Luke),
and the Skull changes cars and hands multiple times, Mutt is lifted from the convoy
by a vine, where he encounters a canopy of monkeys, and he faces one who
sheepishly looks at him. Outlandishly he follows them as they swing away, adding a
Tarzan mythology to the unfolding hilarity.. he tracks them as Indy and Spalko carduel
against a cliff wall, another motif from Raiders appears. As Spalko prepares to
erase Jones, Mutt lands into her car, grabbing the skull and leaping to the other car.
Spalko angrily hurls a monkey.
Crashing into a clearing, both vehicles are overrun by giant ants that swarm and
attack the highest mammals and consume their bodies once fallen. The Skull
provides a void from the ants, who avoid it in an invisible field that surrounds it. It
attracts all metal and repels insects. Spalko escapes by climbing onto a vine and
suspending herself (she uses Mutt's escape in mirror), even crushing an ant that
manages to crawl along an air bridge made of innumerable ants, its innards
splattering onto the lens in an ape of a previous Spielberg film. The lens is an (until
now invisible) disc we view the film through. The ants don't run from the vehicles
like the prairie dog does.
Marion rescues them by leaping off the cliff and repelling off a bending tree that
slides them into the Amazon softly. The Soviets follow behind.
After three drops of the waterfalls, a parody of Temple of Doom's improbable
opening air escape, the group finds themselves facing a skull-shaped outcropping
that pours water, this serves as the entrance to Akator. Once inside the murals
indicate a prehistoric civilization that possessed incredible technology, and
attended by long-headed humanoids that were worshiped like kings, 13 of them,
the shadowed skull overlayed onto a golden shimmering equal figure.
A deeper tour shows them a dark series of passageways that lead to a promenade.
Out of a bas-relief wall skull, peer eyes that follow the intruders. And then the walls
crumble and protectors of the 'Kingdom' appear. The warriors hurl boleadoras to
trip our heroes, until they see the crystal skull, and they withdraw in awe.
Indy and group make it up the next temple, which has a four pronged roof element
and a sunken platform. Sand is improbably at this raised platform's deck. Indy
decodes Oxley's interpretation and they begin to pull out mask elements that hold
back a chamber of sand (the idols are suggestive, elongated skulls), and once in
motion, the massive pyramid top reveals a collapsing stone form that draws the
four prongs into a central object: an Obelisk. Music cues indicate the theme from
War of the Worlds. The burial of these ships in both films is a conscious parallel. The
obelisk is a war-god. They fall into it not unlike his and Marion's sand escapade. The
sand placed atop a pyramid suggests our use of sand as time counting medium: the
hourglass. The forms used in this sequence, the obelisk assembly, the stepped
platform to sand, the withdrawing rectangular steps are all allusions to real and
filmic objects from outside sources.
Inside the chamber below a series of cork screw steps are revealed that slowly
withdraw, forcing them to race time and reach the bottom before they tumble onto
spikes that have killed previous violators.
In another chamber deeper in the temple, a massive storage room of other
civilizations is revealed, Etruscan, Sumatran, Greek, Mongol. The appearance of so
many differing time-scales forces the audience to resolve what time-frames are
being layered here. Indy tries to help by muttering: "They were archeologists."
Treasures of metal again follow the Skull. Or were they archeologists in disguise?
Are these artifacts simply a lure created through a myth, in case the treasure is not
activated? Or are they evidence the Saucer Beings gather to determine whether or
not to implement the Skull myth and its lure? Simply put: the aliens know the
planet's (perhaps this is occurring on many other planets with semi-sentient beings
like us) future-cultures will use archeology on a quest for awakening all treasures,
and in effect, the Saucermen 'test' the culture to see if it can be evolved into their
crystal dimension. Here obviously humanity comes close, but fails. Note the
treasures are destroyed when the Saucer departs, they had no use for the material.
Consider the strangeness of the dilmena, the Skull was never 'stolen,' the paradox
of the throne room's entrance checkpoint: how could Orellana have gotten past
this? The aliens arrived in 5000BC, collect artifacts from FUTURE societies, lure
conquerors/archeologists, who repeatedly 'find' the skull (its legend about being
stolen is only half true, who actually entered the final throne room: no one, the skull
was intentionally circulated to make its return necessary and a key to opening the
doorway to the next stage). If the phrase is 'return,' then interestingly, perhaps our
time system is going backwards and this saucer civilization is going forwards. Even
as metaphor science has a correlation potential in physics.
At the chamber's center is a Doorway where Oxley seems to think the Skull belongs
and Indy finally utilizes the Skull's magnetism as it was intended. This is the second
checkpoint in the film, look at their shared properties (yes, go back to the
beginning, the subtleties are amazing). Notice the colorless world of the artifacts
surrounding and the colorful doorway that seems to have defied aging. Notice this
is a visual mutation of the first warehouse, only now the boxes and the enclosed are
separated, the boxes make up the forms that compose the throne room and its
entrance way. What we held as precious in our warehouse they use a decoration to
the doorway of their treasure. A fertilization allegory doorway is enacted, this is a
Time Machine they are entering, as the Skull draws an arrow down separating
layers of forms that part to reveal a corbelled passageway that opens into a
chamber floored by an Aztec calendar disc. The lighting is spotted like the initial
warehouse, except now the saucer forms on the ceiling that were light sources are
merged with the beings: they glow, a summary of the image of Indiana atop the
boxes, now they are. On thirteen thrones are crystal skeletons, they sit inert. One is
missing a head, the 'stolen' skull's body. The camera's movement showcases the
mirror theme (see below). The thirteen are a nod to the Mayan uses of 13, a
number beyond our basic acceptance of decimal thinking (and perhaps we reject it
supernaturally through fear: triskadephobia), suggest to the audience that the
successful search for nuances in math that lead to quantum leaps may be out of
our reach as long as we discard or misunderstand vastly complex lost civilizations.
The saucer theme, the seven notes that sound haunted, are a reduction of the
Raiders theme,play both in your head: a dark, creepy musical response to the
theme that plays heroically throughout the series.
Spalko, having traced their route, enters the chamber as Oxley presents the Skull to
the skeleton. She proclaims them a hive mind, an observation no less flawed than
Indy's, both mistake their mirrors as their conquest-by-labeling, they apply the
meaning without comprehending the totality. She grabs the skull and proceeds to
complete the uniting of the two parts, mind and body. As she returns the skull, it
lurches and flies back to its place under its own power. Listen to it clang in place,
the noise is meant to suggest the impossibility of separating them, hinting the
separation was their choice. It immediately stares at Oxley, clearly chosen to
receive the Skull's inter-dimensional 'treasure' who begins speaking
(telepathy/ventriloquism) in Mayan. The chamber begins to revolve and collapse,
the boxes/bricks break apart Lego-style (slyly referring to both the initial warehouse
and the Lego tie-in toys), its 13 inter-dimensional parts now reunited and ready
itself to 'return'. Spalko, sensing that Oxley is about to receive its knowledge,
interrupts the exchange and demands it for herself, she returns to her role as a king
worshiper, as in the frame earlier in the warehouse observing Indy scattering
shotgun pellets. The being turns to her and begins to transmit. "I can see" she
claims as it begins. Sunlight glints inside through holes in the collapsing chamber,
Spalko receives unearthly light (as in Raiders) and embodies the image glyphs of
Indy in front of both suns and sun objects). The sole goal of the previously inert
crystal beings IS to await Oxley's/humanity's potential transformation.
Oxley, Indy, Mutt, Mac and Marion quickly figure out the chamber is doomed as
pieces (boxes) of it begin to rise up to a four pronged portal into another dimension
(an upwards mirror to the obelisk assembly). They escape but not before Mac is
consumed by the whirlwind, his greed making him susceptible. As the chamber
dissolves, the 13 beings are reunited into a central, fleshed alien (proof this is one
being's separated dimensions as separate skeletons) that continues to flood Spalko
with unearthly wisps of ghostly energy, but now it is too much. Not having been
primed like Oxley to receive the treasure (is it the treasure of Quantum
consciousness?), the knowledge that may have injected humanity and evolved us is
now lost as Spalko is consumed, she demands that the flow stop "Cover it" is her
begging, assuming the skull is inert and under her command as before. The alien
crushes her in a reverse of her crushing the ant, each creature distanced by
perhaps 100's of millions of years of evolution; hinting at: these are probably
beings evolved from humans that have traveled back in time from their future, time
IS space. Imagine the crystal skull that Oxley could have grown (obviously you are
given one with this consciousness), the attempted crystallization of Spalko's brain
killed her. Sensing her rejection, the alien sneers at her, a gesture repeated many
times in the film across knowledge chasms both between humans and between
humans and previous evolutionary chains, vaporising her into oblivion. The treasure
is lost, the alien departs. The humans of the future having rejected us just as we
have rejected them by misinterpretation.
As the remaining group escapes past massive gears that collapse (as mirrors)
together that flood (the gears are part of an entire complex designed and built to
release the saucer and cover its tracks) with water (in a parody of Apocalypto's
ending, the family Jones is ejected by a spiraling water spout that projects them
onto a cliff overlooking the temple). From above they watch as the pyramid and
obelisk (our war-gods) collapses and a giant saucer (their time travel) rises inside a
funnel of massive chunks of earth, finally disappearing into the sky. A large scale
(perpendicular) mirror to the opening smashing of the prairie dog's mound. And it is
an inversion of the mushroom cloud, Spielberg slowly incorporates the sun into the
shot as mirror economically making the graphic connection.
In the coda, set in a brightly lit church, Indy and Marion are married and as a final
metaphor, wind blows open the door sending Indy's fedora to the feet of Mutt (the
entire theme of the film is this saucer form: knowledge searching for immortality),
who attempts to try it on until Indy swipes it, departing the church. The act itself a
mirror for the audience's exit.

KBM, August 2008
DJKennedy90's avatar
... I liked Crystal Skull, I was just saying that even at it's worst it wasn't bad. Plus, you could have just posted the link to the review.
archus7's avatar
also requires Giant Snake Transformer.
archus7's avatar
Fallen: "Myyyyyy.. MATRIX!!"
Indy: "It belongs in a museum!!"
also pretty amusing concept that Shia is Indy's kid (since Crystal Skull) so it's like Sam, or 'Mutt' went on his own little Indiana-esque adventure.
This still sounds better than The Crystal Skull. BAM. I went there. At least THIS is unabashedly obviously sci-fi.
samurai0taku's avatar
Not that surprising really.
IaconStargazer's avatar
Time travel would have to be involved somehow - either the Transformers (with 21st-century alt modes) in the 1950s or the 50-something Indiana Jones in the present day.

Either way, this poster is awesome! :)
youngerthanthesoul's avatar
...well they ARE making another Indiana Jones movie...

Might as well save time an money and combine the third TF with the new Indy.
KnuxfanEO's avatar
*Head explodes*
Greatest. Movie. Ever!
I personally didn't mind TF2. A few things about the plot in relation to the first one irked me, but that's about it. Didn't think it was as good as the first one, but it was still a fun watch.
Excellent work, as always!
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