Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Frank Marshall
Denis L. Stewart
George Lucas
Kathleen Kennedy
Written by Screenplay:
David Koepp
George Lucas
Jeff Nathanson
Starring Harrison Ford
Cate Blanchett
Karen Allen
Ray Winstone
John Hurt
Jim Broadbent
Shia LaBeouf
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Janusz Kamiński
Editing by Michael Kahn
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) May 22, 2008
Running time 123 min.
Country USA
Language English
Budget $185,000,000
Gross revenue $682,961,044
Preceded by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 2008 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. Set in 1957, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones film series pits an older Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) against agents of the Soviet Union, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), in the search for a crystal skull. Indy is aided by his former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the greaser "Mutt" Williams (Shia LaBeouf), and fellow adventurer Mac (Ray Winstone). John Hurt and Jim Broadbent also play fellow academics.

The film was in development since the 1989 release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because Spielberg and Ford disagreed over Lucas' original concept. Screenwriters Jeb Stuart, Jeffrey Boam, Frank Darabont and Jeff Nathanson wrote drafts, before David Koepp's script satisfied all three men. Shooting finally began on June 18, 2007, and took place in New Mexico; New Haven, Connecticut; Hawaii; Fresno, California; and soundstages in Los Angeles. In order 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.

Plot Edit

In 1957, Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko(Cate Blanchett) and a convoy of Soviet agents posing as U.S. soldiers infiltrate a military base in the Nevada desert. They force Indiana Jones(Harrison Ford) to lead them to a crate in "Hangar 51", which holds the remains of an extraterrestrial creature that crashed ten years before in Roswell, New Mexico. Jones attempts to escape but is foiled by his partner Mac(Ray Winstone), who reveals that he is working with the Soviets. After a fight and an elaborate vehicle chase through the warehouse, Jones escapes on a rocket sled into the desert, where he stumbles upon a nuclear test town and survives a nuclear blast by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. While being debriefed, Jones discovers he is under FBI investigation because of Mac's Soviet ties. Jones returns to Marshall College, where he is offered a leave of absence to avoid being fired because of the investigation. While leaving, Jones is stopped by greaser Mutt Williams(Shia LaBeouf) and told that his old colleague, Harold Oxley (John Hurt), disappeared after discovering a crystal skull near the Nazca lines in Peru.

In Peru, Jones and Mutt discover that Oxley was locked in a church-operated psychiatric hospital until the Soviets kidnapped him. In Oxley's former cell, Jones discovers clues to the grave of Francisco de Orellana, a Conquistador who went missing in the 1500s while seeking Akator(also known as El Dorado). Jones finds the crystal skull that Oxley hid in Orellana's grave. The skull is elongated in the shape that indigenous peoples formed their own skulls into, but the Soviets believe the skull, which magnetically attracts even non-ferrous objects, is from an extraterrestrial life-form and holds great psychic power. The Soviets capture Indy and Mutt and take them to the camp where they are holding Oxley, who has suffered a mental breakdown from the powers of the skull, and Mutt's mother, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), who reveals that Mutt is Jones's son. The four escape from the camp, leading to a lengthy vehicle chase involving sword fights and a pair of Soviet soldiers being killed by siafu ants. Escaping on an amphibious vehicle, Mutt, Marion, Mac, Oxley, and Jones arrive at the Temple of Akator, a Maya-style pyramid in the Amazon rainforest. Claiming that he is a CIA double agent working against the Soviets, Mac enters the temple with Jones and the group, but reveals his true allegiance by leaving a trail for Spalko to follow.

The group enters the temple and Jones uses the skull to open the door to a chamber tomb, where thirteen crystal skeletons, one missing a skull, are seated on thrones. When the Soviets arrive and reveal Mac's complicity, Spalko places the skull onto the skeleton, and it begins communicating to the group through Oxley using an ancient Mayan dialect. Jones translates this to mean that the aliens want to give them a great gift. Spalko demands to know everything, and the skulls begin transferring knowledge into her mind. As a portal to another dimension appears over the room, Oxley regains his sanity and explains that the aliens are inter-dimensional beings who taught the Maya their advanced technology. Jones, Mutt, Marion, and Oxley escape from the temple, but Mac is sucked into the portal. The skeletons form into a single alien which continues to feed Spalko with knowledge; however, the knowledge overwhelms Spalko, causing her to ignite and disintegrate, with her scattered essence sucked into the portal as well. The temple crumbles, and a flying saucer rises from the debris and disappears. Back home, Jones is made an associate dean at Marshall College and marries Marion.

Cast Edit

Harrison Ford plays Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. To prepare for the role, the 64-year-old Ford spent three hours a day at a gym, and relied on a high-protein diet of fish and vegetables.[1] Ford had kept fit during the series' hiatus anyway, as he hoped for another film.[2] He performed many of his own stunts because stunt technology had become safer since 1989, and he also felt it improved his performance.[3] He argued, "The appeal of Indiana Jones isn't his youth but his imagination, his resourcefulness. His physicality is a big part of it, especially the way he gets out of tight situations. But it's not all hitting people and falling from high places. My ambition in action is to have the audience look straight in the face of character and not at the back of a capable stuntman's head. I hope to continue that no matter how old I get."[4]

Ford felt his reprise would also help American culture be less paranoid about aging (he refused to dye his hair for the role), because of the film's family appeal: "This is a movie which is geared not to [the young] segment of the demographic, an age-defined segment [...] We've got a great shot at breaking the movie demographic constraints."[3] He told Koepp to add more references to his age in the script.[5] Spielberg said Ford was not too old to play Indiana: "When a guy gets to be that age and he still packs the same punch, and he still runs just as fast and climbs just as high, he's gonna be breathing a little heavier at the end of the set piece. And I felt, 'Let's have some fun with that. Let's not hide that.'"[6] Spielberg recalled the line in Raiders, "It's not the years, it's the mileage",[6] and felt he could not tell the difference between Ford during the shoots for Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[7]

Shia LaBeouf plays Henry "Mutt" Williams / Henry Jones, III, a motorcycle-riding greaser and Indiana's sidekick and son. Frank Marshall said Mutt brings humor to the story because of his youthful arrogance, causing banter with the older and wiser Jones.[8] Koepp credited the character's creation to Jeff Nathanson and Lucas.[5] LaBeouf was Spielberg's first and only choice for the role.[9] Excited at the prospect of being in an Indiana Jones film, LaBeouf signed on without reading the script and did not know what character he would play.[10] He worked out and gained fifteen pounds of muscle for the role,[11] and also repeatedly watched the other films to get into character.[12] LaBeouf also watched Blackboard Jungle and The Wild One to get into his character's mindset, copying mannerisms and words from characters in those films, such as the use of a switchblade as a weapon.[13] Lucas also consulted on the greaser look, joking that LaBeouf was "sent to the American Graffiti school of greaserland".[6] LaBeouf pulled his hip's rotator cuff when filming his duel with Spalko, which was his first injury in his career. The injury got worse throughout filming until it pulled his groin.[14]

Cate Blanchett plays the villainous Soviet agent Irina Spalko. Screenwriter David Koepp created the character.[5] Frank Marshall said Spalko continued the tradition of Indiana having a love-hate relationship "with every woman he ever comes in contact with".[15] Blanchett had wanted to play a villain for a "couple of years", and enjoyed being part of the Indiana Jones legacy as she loved the previous films.[16] Spielberg praised Blanchett as a "master of disguise", and considers her his favorite Indiana Jones villain for coming up with much of Spalko's characteristics.[6] Spalko's bob cut was her idea, with the character's stern looks and behaviour recalling Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love.[17] Blanchett learned to fence for the character, but during filming, Spielberg decided to give Spalko "karate chop" skills.[18] LaBeouf recalled Blanchett was elusive on set, and Ford was surprised when he met her on set outside of costume. He noted, "There's no aspect of her behavior that was notTemplate:Sic consistent with this bizarre person she's playing."[3]

Karen Allen reprises the role of Marion Ravenwood, under the married name of Marion Williams, who appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Allen was not aware her character was in the script until Spielberg called her in January 2007, saying, "It's been announced! We're gonna make Indiana Jones 4! And guess what? You're in it!"[19] Ford found Allen "one of the easiest people to work with [he's] ever known. She's a completely self-sufficient woman, and that's part of the character she plays. A lot of her charm and the charm of the character is there. And again, it's not an age-dependent thing. It has to do with her spirit and her nature."[3] Allen found Ford easier to work with on this film, in contrast to the first film, where she slowly befriended the private actor.[20]

Ray Winstone plays George "Mac" McHale, a British agent whom Jones worked alongside in World War II, but has now allied with the Russians due to his financial problems. The character acts as a spin on Sallah and Rene Belloq - Jones's friend and nemesis, respectively, in Raiders of the Lost Ark.[21] Spielberg cast Winstone as he found him "one of the most brilliant actors around", having seen Sexy Beast.[18] Winstone tore his hamstring during filming. "I keep getting these action parts as I’m getting older," he remarked.[22] Like John Hurt, Winstone wished to see the script prior to committing to the film. In interviews on British TV[23] Winstone explained that he was only able to read the script if it was delivered by courier, who waited while he read the script, and returned to the US with the script once Winstone had read it. His reasoning for wanting to read the script was, "If I'm gonna be in it, I want to be in it." He also stated that once filming was completed he had to return the script, such was the secrecy about the film. He has since been presented with a copy of the script to keep.[24]

John Hurt plays Harold Oxley, Mutt's surrogate father and an old friend of Indiana, whom he lost contact with in 1937. Six months prior to the events of the film, he went insane after discovering the crystal skull, which commanded him to return it to Akator. Frank Darabont had suggested Hurt when he was writing the screenplay.[25] The character is inspired by Ben Gunn from Treasure Island.[18] Hurt wanted to read the script before signing on, unlike other cast members who came on "because Steven — you know, 'God' — was doing it. And I said, 'Well, I need to have a little bit of previous knowledge even if God is doing it.' So they sent a courier over with the script from Los Angeles, gave it to me at three o'clock in the afternoon in London, collected it again at eight o'clock in the evening, and he returned the next day to Los Angeles." Hurt only appears in the film's second half.[26]

Jim Broadbent plays Dean Charles Stanforth, an academic colleague and friend of Jones. Broadbent's character stands in for Marcus Brody, whose portrayer, Denholm Elliott, died in 1992.[18] As a tribute to Elliott, the filmmakers put a portrait and a statue on the Marshall College location, and a picture on Jones' desk.

Igor Jijikine plays the Russian Colonel Dovchenko. His character stands in for the heavily-built henchmen Pat Roach played in the previous films (Roach died in 2004).[18]

Joel Stoffer and Neil Flynn cameo as FBI agents interrogating Indiana, in a scene following the opening sequence. Alan Dale plays General Ross, who protests his innocence. Andrew Divoff and Pavel Lychnikoff play Russian soldiers. Spielberg cast Russian-speaking actors as Russian soldiers so their accents would be authentic.[7] Dimitri Diatchenko plays Spalko's right hand man who battles Indiana at Marshall College. Diatchenko bulked up to 250 pounds to look menacing, and his role was originally minor with ten days of filming. When shooting the fight, Ford accidentally hit his chin, and Spielberg liked Diatchenko's humorous looking reaction, so he expanded his role to three months of filming.[27]

Sean Connery turned down an offer to reprise his role as Henry Jones Sr., as he found retirement too enjoyable.[28] Lucas stated that in hindsight it was good that Connery did not briefly appear, as it would disappoint the audience when his character would not come along for the film's adventure.[29] Ford joked, "I'm old enough to play my own father in this one."[3] A picture of the character is seen in Indiana Jones' house and it is revealed that he died.

Production Edit

Development Edit

Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars script by Jeb Stuart, dated February 20 1995:

The second draft's prologue is set in Borneo in 1949, with Indiana proposing to Dr. Elaine McGregor after defeating pirates. She abandons him at the altar, because the government requests her aid in decoding an alien cylinder (covered in Egyptian, Mayan and Sanskrit symbols) in New Mexico. Indiana pursues her, and battles Russians agents and aliens for the cylinder.

The script featured army ants, a rocket sled fight, Indiana surviving an atomic explosion by sealing himself in a fridge, and a climactic battle between the US military and flying saucers. Henry Jones, Sr., Short Round, Sallah, Marion and Willie cameo at Indiana and Elaine's wedding(s). Indiana is also a former Colonel of the OSS.

During the late 1970s, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg made a deal with Paramount Pictures for five Indiana Jones films.[31] Following the 1989 release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucas let the series end as he felt he could not think of a good plot device to drive the next installment, and chose instead to produce The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which explored the character in his early years. Harrison Ford played Indiana in one episode, narrating his adventures in 1920 Chicago. When Lucas shot Ford's role in December 1992, he realized the scene opened up the possibility of a film with an older Indiana set in the 1950s. The film could reflect a science fiction 1950s B-movie, with aliens as the plot device.[32]

Ford disliked the new angle, telling Lucas "No way am I being in a Steve Spielberg movie like that."[19] Spielberg himself, who depicted aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, resisted it. Lucas came up with a story, which Jeb Stuart turned into a script from October 1993 to May 1994.[32] Lucas wanted Indiana to get married, which would allow Henry Jones Sr. to return, expressing concern over whether his son is happy with what he has accomplished. After he learned that Joseph Stalin was interested in psychic warfare, he decided to have Russians as the villains and the aliens to have psychic powers.[33] Following Stuart's next draft, Lucas hired Last Crusade writer Jeffrey Boam to write the next three versions, the last of which was completed in March 1996. Three months later, Independence Day was released, and Spielberg told Lucas he would not make another alien invasion film. Lucas decided to focus on the Star Wars prequels.[32]

In 2000, Spielberg's son asked when the next Indiana Jones film would be released, which made him interested in reviving the project.[34] The same year, Ford, Lucas, Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Kathleen Kennedy met during the American Film Institute's tribute to Ford, and decided they wanted to enjoy the experience of making an Indiana Jones film again. Spielberg also found returning to the series a respite from his many dark films during this period.[20] Spielberg and Lucas discussed the central idea of a B-movie involving aliens, and Lucas suggested using the crystal skulls to ground the idea. Lucas found those artifacts as fascinating as the Ark of the Covenant,[35] and had intended to feature them for a Young Indiana Jones episode before the show's cancellation.[32] M. Night Shyamalan was hired to write for an intended 2002 shoot,[34] but he was overwhelmed writing a sequel to a film he loved like Raiders of the Lost Ark, and claimed it was difficult to get Ford, Spielberg, and Lucas to focus.[36] Stephen Gaghan and Tom Stoppard were also approached.[34]

Frank Darabont, who wrote various Young Indiana Jones episodes, was hired to write in May 2002.[37] His script, entitled Indiana Jones and the City of Gods,[32] was set in the 1950s, with ex-Nazis pursuing Jones.[38] Spielberg conceived the idea because of real life figures such as Juan Perón in Argentina, who protected Nazi war criminals.[32] Darabont claimed Spielberg loved the script, but Lucas had issues with it, and decided to take over writing himself.[32] Lucas and Spielberg acknowledged the 1950s setting could not ignore the Cold War, and the Russians were more plausible villains. Spielberg decided he could not satirize the Nazis after directing Schindler's List,[6] while Ford felt "We plum[b] wore the Nazis out."[19] Darabont's main contribution was reintroducing Marion Ravenwood as Indiana's love interest, but gave them a 13-year old daughter, which Spielberg decided was too similar to The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[32]

Jeff Nathanson met with Spielberg and Lucas in August 2004, and turned in the next drafts in October and November 2005, titled The Atomic Ants. David Koepp continued on from there, giving his script the subtitle Destroyer of Worlds,[32] based on the Robert Oppenheimer quote. It was changed to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as Spielberg found it more inviting a title and actually named the plot device.[39] Koepp wanted to make Mutt into a nerd, but Lucas refused, explaining he had to resemble Marlon Brando in The Wild One; "he needs to be what Indiana Jones' father thought of [him] – the curse returns in the form of his own son – he's everything a father can't stand".[32] Koepp collaborated with Raiders of the Lost Ark screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan on the film's "love dialogue".[5]

Filming Edit

File:Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.jpg

Unlike the previous Indiana Jones films, Spielberg only shot the film in the United States as he did not want to be away from his family.[40] Shooting began on June 18 2007[12] at Deming, New Mexico.[41] An extensive chase scene set at Indiana Jones's fictional Marshall College was filmed between June 28 and July 7 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (where Spielberg's son Theo was studying).[42][41][43]

Afterwards, they filmed scenes set in the Peruvian jungles in Hilo, Hawaii until August.[43] Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the biggest film shot in Hawaii since Waterworld, and was estimated to generate $22 million to $45 million in the local economy.[44] Because of an approaching hurricane, Spielberg was unable to shoot a fight at a waterfall, so he sent the second unit to film shots of Brazil's and Argentina's Iguaçu Falls. These were digitally combined into the fight, which was shot at the Universal backlot.[43]

Half the film was scheduled to shoot on five sound stages at Los Angeles:[45] Downey, Sony, Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal.[26] Filming moved to Chandler Field in Fresno, California, substituting for Mexico City International Airport, on October 11, 2007.[46] After shooting aerial shots of Chandler Airport and a DC-3 on the morning of October 12, 2007, filming wrapped.[47][48] Although he originally found no need for re-shoots after viewing his first cut of the film,[38] Spielberg decided to add an establishing shot, which was filmed on February 29 2008 at Pasadena, California.[49]

Design Edit

Spielberg and Janusz Kamiński, who has shot all of the director's films since 1993's Schindler's List, rewatched the previous films to study Douglas Slocombe's style. "I didn’t want Janusz to modernize and bring us into the 21st century," Spielberg explained. "I still wanted the film to have a lighting style not dissimilar to the work Doug Slocombe had achieved, which meant that both Janusz and I had to swallow our pride. Janusz had to approximate another cinematographer’s look, and I had to approximate this younger director’s look that I thought I had moved away from after almost two decades."[35] Spielberg also did not want to fast cut action scenes, relying on his script instead for a fast pace,[35] and had confirmed in 2002 that he would not shoot the film digitally, a format Lucas had adopted.[50] Lucas felt "it looks like it was shot three years after Last Crusade. The people, the look of it, everything. You’d never know there was 20 years between shooting."[40]

While shooting War of the Worlds in late 2004, Spielberg met with stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong, who doubled for Ford in the previous films, to discuss three action sequences he had envisioned.[51] However, Armstrong was filming The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor during shooting of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so Dan Bradley was hired instead.[52] Bradley and Spielberg used previsualization for all the action scenes, except the motorcycle chase at Marshall College, because that idea was conceived after the animators had left. Bradley drew traditional storyboards instead, and was given free rein to create dramatic moments, just as Raiders of the Lost Ark second unit director Michael D. Moore did when filming the truck chase.[17]

Effects Edit


Producer Frank Marshall stated in 2003 that the film would use traditional stunt work so as to be consistent with the previous films.[53] CGI was used to remove the visible safety wires on the actors when they did their stunts (such as when Indiana whips on to a lamp).[17] Timed explosives were used for a scene where Indiana drives a truck through a wall, which was dangerous because one explosive did not set off and landed in the seat beside Ford.[54]

During filming, Steven Spielberg estimated 30 percent of the film's shots would require CG matte paintings,[48] which contributed to the total 450 effects shots, which also include monkeys, army ants, the infinite warehouse crates, the flying saucer, the City of Gold, its gods and the atomic explosion. Spielberg initially wanted brushstrokes to be visible on the matte paintings for consistency with the effects of the previous films, but decided against it.[19] The script required a non-deforested jungle, but this would have been unsafe. Visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman (who worked on Spielberg's War of the Worlds and Munich) traveled to Brazil and Argentina to photograph elements that were composited into the final images.[55]

Music Edit

Main article: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (soundtrack)

John Williams began composing the score in October 2007;[8] ten days of recording sessions wrapped on March 6, 2008 at Sony Pictures Studios.[56] The soundtrack features a Continuum, an instrument often used for sound effects instead of music.[57] The Concord Music Group released the soundtrack on May 20, 2008.[58]

Release Edit

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2008, ahead of its worldwide May 22 release date. It was the first Spielberg film since 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to premiere at Cannes.[59] The film was released in approximately 4000 theaters in the United States, and dubbed into 25 languages for its worldwide release.[35] More than 12,000 release prints were distributed, which is the largest in Paramount Pictures' history.[60] Although Spielberg insisted his films only be watched traditionally at theaters, Paramount chose to release the film in digital cinemas as part of a scheme to convert 10,000 U.S. cinemas to the format.[61]

Marketing Edit

For a broader view of the franchise's revival in 2008, see Indiana Jones franchise.

Howard Roffman, President of Lucas Licensing, attributed the film's large marketing campaign to it having been "nineteen years since the last film, and we are sensing a huge pent-up demand for everything Indy".[62] Paramount spent at least $150 million to promote the film,[63] whereas most film promotions range from $70 to 100 million. As well as fans, the film also needed to appeal to younger viewers.[64] Licensing deals include Expedia, Dr Pepper, Burger King, M&M's and Lunchables.[64] Paramount sponsored Marco Andretti's car for the 2008 Indianapolis 500, and his racing suit was designed to resemble Indiana Jones's outfit.[65]

The Boston-based design studio Creative Pilot created the packaging style for the film's merchandise, which merged Drew Struzan's original illustrations "with a fresh new look, which showcases the whip, a map, and exotic hieroglyphic patterns".[66] Hasbro, Lego, Sideshow Collectibles, Topps, Diamond Select, Hallmark Cards,[67] and Cartamundi all sold products.[68] A THQ mobile game based on the film was released,[69] while a Lego video game based on the past films was also released.[70][71] Lego also released animated spoofs directed by Peder Pedersen.[72] Stern Pinball released a new Indiana Jones pinball machine, designed by John Borg, based on all four films.[73] From October 2007 to April 2008, the reedited episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles were released in three DVD box sets.[74]

Random House, Dark Horse Comics, Diamond Comic Distributors, Scholastic, and DK published books,[62] including James Rollins' novelization of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,[75] a two-issue comic book adaptation written by John Jackson Miller and drawn by Luke Ross (Samurai: Heaven and Earth), children's novelizations of all four films,[76] the Indiana Jones Adventures comic book series aimed at children,[77] and the official Indiana Jones Magazine.[78] Scholastic featured Indiana and Mutt on the covers of Scholastic News and Scholastic Maths, to the concern of parents, though Jack Silbert, editor of the latter, felt the film would interest children in archaeology.[64]

Reviews Edit

The film recieved mostly positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 200 reviews, with a 61% rating from selected notable critics.[79] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 65 out of 100, based on 40 reviews.[80] The film received an average score of 71.8% from 69 film critics according to Movie Tab.[81] Yahoo! estimated an average rating of B from 15 reviews.[82] The Associated Press reported the film received a "respectful – though far from glowing – reception," saying that "some viewers at its first press screening loved it, some called it slick and enjoyable though formulaic, some said it was not worth the 19-year wait...," adding that J. Sperling Reich, who writes for, said: "It really looked like they were going through the motions. It really looked like no one had their heart in it."[83] USA Today claimed reviews were "mixed" and reviewers felt the "movie suffers from predictable plot points and cheesy special effects".[84]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, stating that "I can say that if you liked the other Indiana Jones movies, you will like this one, and that if you did not, there is no talking to you."[85] James Berardinelli gave the film 2 stars out of 4, stating the "wisest course would have been to leave movie-goers with their memories".[86] George Lucas, recalling the backlash against his Star Wars prequels, anticipated such negative reviews, saying, "We're all going to get people throwing tomatoes at us. But it's a fun movie to make."[87] The Chicago Tribune similarly agreed that the film does not "extract much fun from a cockamamie story provided by George Lucas involving aliens".[88]

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation has called for the film to be banned, accusing the production team of demonizing the Soviet Union. Party official Andrei Andreyev said: "It is very disturbing if talented directors want to provoke a new Cold War."[89] Another party official commented that "in 1957 the USSR was not sending terrorists to America but sending the Sputnik satellite into space!"[90] Spielberg responded that he is Russian, as his ancestors came from Ukraine, and explained: "When we decided the fourth installment would take place in 1957, we had no choice but to make the Russians the enemies. World War II had just ended and the Cold War had begun. The U.S. didn't have any other enemies at the time."[91]

Impact Edit

Secrecy Edit

Frank Marshall remarked, "In today's information age, secrecy has been a real challenge. [...] People actually said, 'No, we're going to respect Steven's vision." Fans on the internet have scrutinized numerous photos and the film's Lego sets in hope of understanding plot details; Spielberg biographer Ian Freer wrote, "What Indy IV is actually about has been the great cultural guessing game of 2007/08. Yet, it has to be said, there is something refreshing about being ten weeks away from a giant blockbuster and knowing next to nothing about it."[17] To distract investigative fans from the film's title during filming,[92] five fake titles were registered with the Motion Picture Association of America; The City of Gods, The Destroyer of Worlds, The Fourth Corner of the Earth, The Lost City of Gold and The Quest for the Covenant.[93] Lucas and Spielberg had also wanted to keep Karen Allen's return a secret until the film's release, but decided to confirm it at the 2007 Comic-Con.[94]

An extra in the film, Tyler Nelson, violated his nondisclosure agreement in an interview with The Edmond Sun on September 17 2007, which was then picked up by the mainstream media. It is unknown if he remained in the final cut.[95] At Nelson's request, The Edmond Sun subsequently pulled the story from its website.[96] On October 2 2007, a Superior Court order was filed finding that Nelson knowingly violated the agreement. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[97] A number of production photos and sensitive documents pertaining to the film's production budget were also stolen from Steven Spielberg’s production office. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department set up a sting operation after being alerted by a webmaster that the thief might try to sell the photos. On October 4 2007, the seller, 37-year old Roderick Eric Davis, was arrested. He pled guilty to two felony counts and will serve two years and four months in jail.[98][99][17]

Box office Edit

Box office revenue Box office ranking Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
$291 million $392 million $683 million #31 #29 [100]

Unlike most film franchises, Paramount is only the distributor of Indiana Jones, whose copyright is owned by Lucasfilm, and their original deal entailed they would only earn 12.5% of the film's revenue. As the $185 million budget was larger than the original $125 million estimate,[93] Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford turned down large upfront salaries so Paramount could cover the film's costs. In order for Paramount to see a profit beyond its distribution fee, the film must make over $400 million. At that point Lucas, Spielberg, Ford, and those with smaller profit-sharing deals will also begin to collect their cut.[63]

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released Thursday May 22 in North America and grossed $25 million its opening day.[101] In its opening weekend, the film grossed an estimated $101 million in 4,260 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office,[102] and making it the third biggest opening of all time.[103] Within its first five days of release, it grossed $311 million worldwide. The film's total $151 million gross in the United States ranked it as the second biggest Memorial Day weekend release, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.[104] It is currently the 29th highest grossing film of all time, and is the highest grossing film of 2008 worldwide.[105]

References Edit

  1. "Indiana Jones 4: A fit Ford", Monsters and Critics, 2007-02-27. Retrieved on 2008-03-29. 
  2. Scott Bowles. "Here come Harrison (in fine form) and 'Indiana Jones'", USA Today, 2008-02-12. Retrieved on 2008-02-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Steve Daly. "Harrison Ford Q&A: Indy speaks!", Entertainment Weekly, 2008-04-19. Retrieved on 2008-04-18. 
  4. "Space Cowboys and Indianas",, 2008-04-28. Retrieved on 2008-04-30. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Template:Cite journal
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Steve Daly. "Steven Spielberg and George Lucas: The Titans Talk!", Entertainment Weekly, 2008-04-16. Retrieved on 2008-04-17. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Heather Newgen. "Spielberg Talks Indy 4, Transformers & Tintin!",, 2007-10-10. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 
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Box office number-one films of 2008 (USA)
May 25, 2008
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