The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Will The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Deliver?

Written by: Ron Bricker

ImageOn the heels of the three-and-a-half minute standing ovation that the Cannes Film Festival opening night crowd bestowed upon Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystall Skull, I find myself wondering more than ever before – will this movie rock or suck?

An electric current of nostalgia shot up my spine when I heard about the new Indiana Jones’ film, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I was instantaneously transported back to my childhood. There was Indiana desperately running from a huge ball in Raiders of the Lost Ark. There was Indiana on a wobbly bridge forced to make a decision with potentially deadly consequences in The Temple of Doom. There was Indiana racing down the back roads of Germany with his father in tow while being chased by the Nazis in The Last Crusade. In all honesty, I believed The Last Crusade had a double meaning. It was not just about the last knight on a crusade to protect the Holy Grail; it was the last adventure for Indiana. Indiana’s ability to triumph over situations bigger than him, his unwavering coolness under pressure, his ability to crack sharp witted comments as flawlessly as his whip, and his constant pursuit for truth, and even fortune and glory, would become just another set of DVDs. The thrilling adventures, like the arc of the covenant, were now stored in a large warehouse and almost impossible for a new viewer to discover. A memory of scenes and a fleeting recollection of dialogue were all that was left for the original fan.

Being a fan since my youth, I secretly hoped Indiana would return to theaters. Then five years passed. Then 10 years. My hopes seemed to be in vain and I forgot why I even cared. Then I heard a familiar theme song on television and it caused an uncontrollable physical reaction where the corners of my lips reached upwards and I shook my fists with glee. I moved up on my seat and gazed at the screen. Indiana was back. He was older, yes, but still the rugged and tough individual I remembered. His hat was neatly resting on his head. The leather jacket was well worn, but it still fit. He had his whip, his gun, and…Shia LaBeouf? What the hell? After the preview, my mouth went dry and my eyes fluttered. Had I drank a cocktail filled with poison? I don’t know how long I passed out for, but I remember 2 distinct visions. I was at Stephen Spielberg’s house. A group of teenagers were mocking Indiana Jones by pretending to feebly swing a whip. Angry older fans were force-feeding Mr. Spielberg poisoned dates and screaming, “Nice try, Lao Che!” My other vision was a happier one. Kids dressed in leather jackets and fedoras were holding hands around Mr. Spielberg’s house while chanting the theme song. The original fans hoisted Mr. Spielberg and Harrison Ford upon their soldiers and gallantly walked into the sunset.

These visions inspired me to think long and hard about this new Indiana adventure. Will it inspire new fans and satisfy the old ones or will it be a forgettable mess? We will not know until May 22. For now, I can only speculate. The grid below is a preliminary list of possibilities. I encourage you to come up with your own to pass the time until the film is released. Or you can practice leaping over your couch while reaching for a trophy that is dangling from your ceiling. Of course, that is how I tore my groin muscle.

Kingdom of the Crystal Dull Kingdom of the Crystal YES!
1. Any gratuitous one-liners related to Indiana’s age, such as “I’m too old for this shit or I made a stinker in my diaper.” 1. Indiana punching one guy in the face and his head slams into another guy’s face and both those guys fall down the steps.
2. Indiana slapping Shia in the face for blasphemy 2. Indiana running from anything or fighting anyone massive
3. Shia Lebouef wearing Indiana’s hat 3. Indiana ripping out the heart of Jar Jar Binks
4. Bourne Identity style action 4. Indiana getting credit for discovering the Ark of the Covenant
5. Indiana complaining about his cholesterol

5. Indiana and Marion moving to an island, buying a bar, and searching for the treasures of the deep