"Worth the Wait"
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL starts off with a literal bang and hardly ever lets up. Once again, Steven Spielberg shows he can handle state-of-the-art, edge-of-your-seat action sequences as well as, and better than, practically any other film director living.
The movie opens in 1957 Nevada. A rock-and-roll beginning to the tune of Elvis Presley singing “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hounddog” introduces viewers to a convoy of Army vehicles. The Army convoy turns out to be a ruthless cadre of Russian Communist Army spies led by Irina Spalko, an icy Soviet agent with short coal black hair. The Russians gun down a group of Americans guarding the infamous Area 51 (the movie doesn’t show the bullets entering the bodies of the poor Americans).
The Russian convoy stops at a large warehouse inside the secret base. Spalko’s men open the trunk of one of their vehicles. Out spill Indiana Jones and his longtime British friend Mac, who served together during World War II and as spies against the Russians. Spalko forces Indy to help her locate the mysterious Roswell findings. Indy barely escapes her clutches during a big fight, wherein Indy learns that the Russians have hired Mac to help them. Indy also barely escapes the testing of an atomic bomb!
Back at Marshall College, Professor Jones learns that the incident with the Russians has made him the object of suspicion, despite his patriotic record. His close friend, Dean Stanforth, has had to resign in the wake of this, so Indy decides to get out of the country for a while. At the train station, Indy is waylaid by young Mutt Williams, a rebellious youth whose mother has disappeared looking for Professor Oxley, a classmate of Indy’s. Oxley and Mutt’s mother have disappeared in Peru, where Oxley was looking for the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination, superstition and fear.
In Peru, Indy and Mutt realize that Irina Spalko and her ruthless comrades are also looking for the crystal skull. Irina believes that the skull is an alien artifact with occult powers that can help the Russians control minds. The real adventure begins, with many surprises along the way.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL may be the most exciting Indiana Jones movie since RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. There are tremendous chase scenes, fight scenes and close shaves galore. It also has lots of humor. Harrison Ford deftly reprises his signature role, one of the most iconic and beloved figures in all of cinema. Along for the ride is the wonderful and feisty Karen Allen, who reprises her RAIDERS role of Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s true love (though he doesn’t know it). It is definitely worth the 19-year wait since the last Indiana Jones adventure, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.
Despite the storyline regarding mystical crystal skulls and ancient aliens from another dimension, which smacks a little bit of Erich van Daniken’s New Age CHARIOTS OF THE GODS, the lesson that Indiana Jones continues to learn is that knowledge and wisdom are more important than money and power. Like THE LAST CRUSADE, the movie includes some pro-family content. Such content ends the movie on a very upbeat note. Thus, true wisdom for the characters (and the audience) involves making strong commitments to close family relationships, in good times and bad. Finally, despite the movie’s politically correct, exaggerated view of 1950s “blacklists” in the first act, the rest of the story contains very strong anti-Communist sentiments. The Russian Communists are shown to be really bad villains. Not only do they gun down American soldiers in cold blood, viewers find out that they also gunned down the Indians guarding the temple of the crystal skull. The Commie villains also kidnap and threaten Indiana Jones and his friends. It’s about time a major contemporary Hollywood movie made the Russian Communists into the evil thugs they really were!
KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL includes some foul language, however. Also, some of the action scenes, including scenes of large carnivorous red ants and exploring tombs with skeletal remains, are rather intense or spooky. This content, and the content regarding mystical alien crystal skulls, merits caution for children 12 and under, especially younger ones. Movies about alien visitors aren’t necessarily anti-biblical, but they many people have used them to lead people away from God’s Truth, including the historical truth of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because of the movie’s anti-Communist theme, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is a good starting point for teaching children the history of why Communism is such an evil, morally bankrupt and fallacious ideology. The movie could also provoke positive conversations about traditional marriage and traditional family values. Finally, parents should discuss with their children the meaning and value of true godly wisdom, which shuns lust for money and power, especially occult power divorced from God. They could even contrast this movie and the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA movies with HARRY POTTER.
(BBB, ACACAC, PP, C, Pa, O, PC, RH, LL, VV, N, A, M) Very strong moral worldview with very strong anti-Communist content, strong pro-American content, some positive family content, the search for wisdom and knowledge is extolled above the lust for money and power, a positive reference to God, and part of a Christian wedding ceremony with a minister who quotes the words of Jesus in the New Testament (Jesus is not mentioned specifically, however), mitigated by some Erich van Daniken (CHARIOTS OF THE GODS) science fiction New Age content placing occult powers in the hands of intelligent high-tech beings from another dimension, but the hero does not seek such occult power, unlike the villain, who does, plus a light politically correct, slightly revisionist history scene with the hero objecting to a McCarthy-esque government blacklist; 15 obscenities, three light exclamatory profanities such as “for God’s sake” and one English “bloody”; plenty of strong action violence, some of it scary but with little blood and no gore, includes chase scenes with guns firing, a precarious sword fight, some intense fist fighting, tumbling down waterfalls, implied murder of defenseless people, large carnivorous red ants cover two men to eat them (one shot shows the ants entering a man’s mouth but there is no gore), a plunge off a cliff, explorations of a graveyard and a tomb, dead alien body appears to have been burned to death; no sex scenes but woman says that she became pregnant and married a man who was not the real father because the real father was not there with her and didn’t write after he went away until she had married the other man about a year later; brief upper male nudity; alcohol in one scene; no smoking; and, Communism overtly rebuked multiple times, kidnapping, extortion, death threats, betrayal, and a wedding kiss.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL starts off with a literal bang and hardly lets up. This time, Indiana Jones is up against some ruthless Russian Communists, led by the beautiful but deadly Irina Spalko. With the help of his old flame Marion and her rebellious son, Mutt, Indy fights the Russians to return a mysterious crystal skull to an ancient Mayan Temple in the Amazon. Irina believes the skull is an alien artifact with mystical powers the Communists can use to control people’s minds. They learn something quite different, but not before lots of exciting adventures.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL has chase scenes, fight scenes and close shaves galore. Steven Spielberg and his team, led by Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, and Cate Blanchett, provide enough spine-tingling chills, thrills and positive emotions for several movies. Best of all, they provide a very strong moral outlook that’s pro-family and anti-Communist. KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL includes some foul language and intense action, however. This content (and the content regarding mystical crystal skulls) merits caution and guidance for children 12 and under.