What’s so bad about KOTCS?

No Ticket

Administrator
Staff member
I just rewatched it again and I have to say that with time I come to appreciate it more and more. I had a lot more trouble accepting it the very first time in 2008, but now I just think… why did I ever doubt Harrison’s age? He was great in it. He’s actually still very believable in all the action scenes. Gives me more confidence in Indy 5. I know a lot of people still have their hang ups with it, but I think it actually stands up pretty well.

My biggest issue with it is probably just the script. It’s got a few bad ideas here and there (monkeys) and the plot is a little bit convoluted. But otherwise I think it’s great.

I really feel it gets a bad wrap and it was so close to pulling everything off, just got stuck with a few hang ups.
 

tubasthebest

New member
I agree, that rewatching it now, it is not as bad as I first thought. I think everyone's expectations were a little too high when it was released. It really is a fun movie, that I don't mind watching as part of the series, even if it is the weakest.

My main complaints have to do with the toning down of the realism, and increasing the cartoonism of the characters. KOTCS has almost zero blood, despite giant saws and multiple fight sequences. Not that I love blood in movies, but the first three have much more realism going on. The CGI complaint is valid, and the effects and setting of the movie is obviously composited together in a weird way. The boat car landing in the tree and then gently setting down into the river is far worse to me than the nuked fridge, even though I get those complaints.

All in all, I'm not a hater of KOTCS. But because this one came out in my lifetime, I have more of the "what if" mentality as if it could be changed. The original trilogy felt like history and I had no imagination of what could have been done different, because it was all ready done.
 

Forbidden Eye

New member
I saw Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull earlier this year in a theater(we rented the place) one of the people attending was a elementary school student whose favorite Indiana Jones movie was Crystal Skull.

I think time is being kind to Indiana Jones 4, kinder than some will have you believe. Like the Star Wars prequels, the biggest critics of the movie are teenagers, 20-30 year olds who are just pissed they’ve grown up rather more than have substantial criticisms of the movie.

Not that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is perfect, but the over the top attacks people throw at it are so ridiculous, when you actually go back and rewatch it, you realize it doesn’t live up to its bad reputation, especially if like a film critic you see most movies that get made in a single year(which is partly why this movie has a 78% RT score). It’s certainly better than average.

Of course the reception Indiana Jones 5 gets will change the dynamics again completely, kinda like how the prequels really started to get nostalgized after the sequel trilogy came. But I think we are seeing that as a new generation that has no real memory of a time where Indiana Jones 4 didn’t exist grows up and that they have a less nostalgic view of the original trilogy, the hatred start to die out.
 

Bo Invader

New member
I think KOTCS is great. I love what they did with Indy as a character. Even though he still has those classic Indy charms like swinging on a whip and beating up baddies, you can tell that he's grown. He gives advice to his son, becomes the dean of Marshall College, and he's gotten married. Seeing my favorite character of all time grow in a simliar light to his viewers is truly beautiful.
 

TheDogIndiana

Moderator
Staff member
Fujny enough, when I watched the Indy films, I basically watched them all together, in the span of a few months. I commented elsewhere that I’ve seen the original 3 movies on dvd as a gift from someone else. A few months later and then I saw crystal skull on dvd too. So I was introduced to the franchise and saw all the movies pretty close to each other, so I didn’t have that sense of nostalgia when first viewing all of them. And I’ll tell you, Fords age didn’t pop out to me as a bad thing. In fact I really liked the 50s culture and setting. But they should’ve tightened up the script more better. Would’ve been neat to get Lawrence Kasdan to write another Indy script. It should been made earlier for Douglass slocombe to shoot it, and it should’ve been made in the same sense as a b movie, using as much practical effects as possible. And I think the aliens plot could’ve been swapped for a Macguffin that utilizes aliens as the users of an artifact, rather than the artifact itself. That way you can incorporate the 50s obsession with aliens, but not have aliens in the actually movie. You didn’t need to see gods face in Raiders, you didn’t see the god of shiva in the temple of doom, and you didn’t see Jesus take back his cup in last crusade. Same rule should be applied to crystal skull. Also a shorter name would’ve been better.
 

Fortune&Glory

New member
Crystal Skull has grown on me over the years. I never really hated the film, just disappointed. Overall I think it’s solid until the jungle scene. The third act IMO is the weakest part of the film (jungle chase and Mutt swinging with monkeys). The look of the film was a bit off. Most of the film looked like it was poorly shot in studio. Also I felt like the sense of danger wasn’t really present. I never thought the good guys were in peril. It definitely leaned into the Last Crusade humor and missed on danger of Raiders or Temple. Love all the films but this one is for sure my least favorite.
 

No Ticket

Administrator
Staff member
I think sticking to the B-movie concept would have actually been a bit better. Perhaps also making them actual aliens and not “inter-dimensional beings” just because Spielberg couldn’t get over making another picture with aliens haha.

After seeing the behind the scenes stuff on this again lately, it is no surprise Spielberg isn’t directing Indy 5. He obviously didn’t even want to do KOTCS. He even said he thought he’d probably produce and get some young director to do it on the special features. It’s still pretty good despite all of that, but I am sure it would have been better had Spielberg wanted to make it!
 

TheDogIndiana

Moderator
Staff member
I think sticking to the B-movie concept would have actually been a bit better. Perhaps also making them actual aliens and not “inter-dimensional beings” just because Spielberg couldn’t get over making another picture with aliens haha.

After seeing the behind the scenes stuff on this again lately, it is no surprise Spielberg isn’t directing Indy 5. He obviously didn’t even want to do KOTCS. He even said he thought he’d probably produce and get some young director to do it on the special features. It’s still pretty good despite all of that, but I am sure it would have been better had Spielberg wanted to make it!
I’m not sure what got Steven to get on board with the aliens idea in the first place. I remember seeing that behind the scenes feature you mentioned, and he was pretty much against the idea until George said inter dimensional beings” which is just another name for aliens. Hell, they even went as far as to outing a whole ufo in the film. I’d understand if inter dimensional being was a new take on something similar to aliens, but it’s literally aliens lol
 

No Ticket

Administrator
Staff member
I’m not sure what got Steven to get on board with the aliens idea in the first place. I remember seeing that behind the scenes feature you mentioned, and he was pretty much against the idea until George said inter dimensional beings” which is just another name for aliens. Hell, they even went as far as to outing a whole ufo in the film. I’d understand if inter dimensional being was a new take on something similar to aliens, but it’s literally aliens lol

Well Steven says “well what are they gonna look like George?” And George says, “Aliens… but we’ll call them inter-dimensional beings.” And you can visibly see Steven’s eye roll and he says “Okay George.” He basically gave up since George was never going to change his mind about aliens haha.

Technically they’re aliens, with a flying saucer, but they go out of their way to make it clear they’re not going into space. Which is sort of dumb to me haha. If you’re gonna go for the b movie flying saucer just GO for it!
 

Canyon

Member
Where do you want me to begin?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago:


About a week or so ago, I really felt like watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What’s so special about that, I hear you ask? Most people known I am a big Indy fan. Well, to be honest, I haven’t seen that movie in at least two years, (maybe even longer). I can hear your audible gasp from here! Here’s the thing. Even though I saw Crystal Skull several times in the theatre, there was a period where I really liked it, but then I found myself finding a lot of faults with the movie. At one time, I actually had a love/hate relationship with Skull, but have recently come to appreciate it in a new light.

Despite its many flaws, I actually enjoyed watching the movie and it was good to see Harrison back in the role. My main complaints about the movie are as follows:

When Spalko first meets Indy, I feel that the line when he comments on how she pronounces her w’s and the lighthearted slap she gives him on his cheek was too jokey. I just think that it should have been a bit more of a serious scene.

Indy should have said something to Mutt when he makes the comment about his age. Personally, I would have slapped him upside the head.

When Indy and Mutt were captured at the cemetery, in the following scene at the campsite, I would have made Indy’s clothes look dusty and worn.

In the scene where they escape in the jungle, I certainly would have cut out that ridiculous scene with the snake and cut to the next scene, after Indy says: “He’s my son? Why the hell didn’t you make him finish school?!?” I press the next scene button at this point. In the next scene they could have explained how they were recaptured.

At the end, when the skull is replaced on the 13th skeleton, I certainly would NOT have had you see the alien. I would have done something similar to when the Ark was opened in Raiders. Also, Spalko’s death was over too quickly and there was absolutely no build up whatsoever.

The changes I would have made to the script are as follows:

Dovchenko: “You recognize building, yes?”
Indy: “Go to hell! I’m sorry. I meant, go to hell, comrade.”

Mutt: “I think I just saw something!”
Indy: It’s your imagination, kid.”

Mutt: “This way down.”
Indy: “You okay, kid?”

Mutt: “Well, what’s he gonna do now?”
Marion: “He’s your father. He doesn’t plan that far ahead.”

Indy: “They all had the same problem.”
Marion: “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
Indy: “They weren’t you, sweetheart.”

Indy: "Ox, how did you get past..." Grabs the skull from him and uses it to scare the tribe. "Never mind..."

Speaking of dialogue, when Indy replies to Mutt’s question with “Part time”, the cut from the trailer was much better, and felt more natural. It’s a real shame that they used a different cut for this scene in the movie.

People complain about the plot in Temple of Doom, by saying it is weak, but I disagree. I feel that Crystal Skull’s plotline is definitely the weakest. The ‘so called’ plotline about Oxley putting the skull back is just not very well thought out. The other thing I feel was badly thought out is the character of Mac and how he goes from being Indy’s friend, betraying him, being his friend and betraying him again. To me, that made no sense whatsoever.

Now for the Indy gear. The fedora looked awesome on Harrison and I am thrilled to call myself a friend to Steve Delk and Marc Kitter, of Adventurebilt Hats. However, I really would have love to have seen the jacket look more distressed as it just looked too new to me. They could have sent the jackets to me and I would have distressed the heck out of them! It’s a real shame that we didn’t get to see Indy use his pistol and whip more and it feels as if each Indy installment has less and less use of the whip. I just wished by the end of the movie, the gear would have looked a bit more lived in, as it didn’t look distressed enough. My other major complaint was that there was too much CGI used and not enough real life sets. One of the things that I love about the Indiana Jones trilogy is that there were so many real sets built for the movies and it just feels more realistic to me. There were parts of Crystal Skull where I just felt that the environment looked fake. My other complaint was that parts of the plotline felt like something out of a fan fiction novel (not that I have anything against fan fiction, as I write it myself). The part where we find out that Indy has a son, was so obvious and I felt that the wedding at the end was also pretty clichéd. It is almost as if the writers couldn’t come up with anything more original, and they got their ideas from a bunch of online posts on message boards and fan fiction sites.

On a positive note, my favorite lines from the movie are:

Indy: “Damn! I thought that was closer!”

Indy: “You wanna be a good archaeologist? You gotta get out of the library!”

Indy: “Treat her right, kid. You only get one, and sometimes not for that long.”

Mutt: “You’re a teacher?”
Indy: “Part time.”

Indy: “Dance on your own time, will you?”

Marion: “You still leaving a trail of human wreckage, or have you retired?”

Indy: “Yeah, Marion! Let’s not let the kid see mom and dad fight!”

Indy: “Scooch over, will you son?”
Mutt: “Don’t call me son! Don’t!”

Regarding the scene near the end where Indy is telling Mac to hurry up, I would have completely rewritten that to give it some more substance.
Indy: "Use your legs Mac! I can't do it alone!"
Mac: "I'll be all right, I'll..."
The whip is taut, with Mac hanging on for dear life.
Mac: "I'm scared, Jonesy! I don't wanna die!"
Indy: "Hang on, Mac, just..."
At that moment, Mac is no longer able to hold on to the end of the whip and he screams in terror as he is pulled away by the inertia of the temple crumbling away.

My conclusion is this. Is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a good movie? Well, it’s a fun movie and one that had me laughing out loud at times but I don’t know if I would class it as a good movie. Here’s the thing. I think I have finally come to terms with it, as long as I don’t take it too seriously and remind myself that hey, it’s just a movie after all. I guess that I feel after reading Frank Darabont’s unused
script, that would have been a much better movie than the one we were given, and to be honest, I feel that George Lucas is to blame. In my opinion, Darabont’s script was very well written and I would have especially loved to have seen that on the big screen, especially the scene near the end where Indy receives the Congressional Gold Medal by President Eisenhower. Okay, yes, there was wedding at the end, but it was brief, followed by Indy and Marion’s wedding party. I just can’t help but think that this would have made a much better movie, as the writing was beyond what David Koepp could ever come up with.

Lastly, does Crystal Skull measure up to the Indy trilogy? In my opinion, absolutely not. I feel that it’s nowhere near as good as Raiders, Temple of Doom or Last Crusade. I have always felt that you have the trilogy and then the fourth movie is separate and I do not see it as a quadrology.
 

No Ticket

Administrator
Staff member
Where do you want me to begin?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago:


About a week or so ago, I really felt like watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What’s so special about that, I hear you ask? Most people known I am a big Indy fan. Well, to be honest, I haven’t seen that movie in at least two years, (maybe even longer). I can hear your audible gasp from here! Here’s the thing. Even though I saw Crystal Skull several times in the theatre, there was a period where I really liked it, but then I found myself finding a lot of faults with the movie. At one time, I actually had a love/hate relationship with Skull, but have recently come to appreciate it in a new light.

Despite its many flaws, I actually enjoyed watching the movie and it was good to see Harrison back in the role. My main complaints about the movie are as follows:

When Spalko first meets Indy, I feel that the line when he comments on how she pronounces her w’s and the lighthearted slap she gives him on his cheek was too jokey. I just think that it should have been a bit more of a serious scene.

Indy should have said something to Mutt when he makes the comment about his age. Personally, I would have slapped him upside the head.

When Indy and Mutt were captured at the cemetery, in the following scene at the campsite, I would have made Indy’s clothes look dusty and worn.

In the scene where they escape in the jungle, I certainly would have cut out that ridiculous scene with the snake and cut to the next scene, after Indy says: “He’s my son? Why the hell didn’t you make him finish school?!?” I press the next scene button at this point. In the next scene they could have explained how they were recaptured.

At the end, when the skull is replaced on the 13th skeleton, I certainly would NOT have had you see the alien. I would have done something similar to when the Ark was opened in Raiders. Also, Spalko’s death was over too quickly and there was absolutely no build up whatsoever.

The changes I would have made to the script are as follows:

Dovchenko: “You recognize building, yes?”
Indy: “Go to hell! I’m sorry. I meant, go to hell, comrade.”

Mutt: “I think I just saw something!”
Indy: It’s your imagination, kid.”

Mutt: “This way down.”
Indy: “You okay, kid?”

Mutt: “Well, what’s he gonna do now?”
Marion: “He’s your father. He doesn’t plan that far ahead.”

Indy: “They all had the same problem.”
Marion: “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
Indy: “They weren’t you, sweetheart.”

Indy: "Ox, how did you get past..." Grabs the skull from him and uses it to scare the tribe. "Never mind..."

Speaking of dialogue, when Indy replies to Mutt’s question with “Part time”, the cut from the trailer was much better, and felt more natural. It’s a real shame that they used a different cut for this scene in the movie.

People complain about the plot in Temple of Doom, by saying it is weak, but I disagree. I feel that Crystal Skull’s plotline is definitely the weakest. The ‘so called’ plotline about Oxley putting the skull back is just not very well thought out. The other thing I feel was badly thought out is the character of Mac and how he goes from being Indy’s friend, betraying him, being his friend and betraying him again. To me, that made no sense whatsoever.

Now for the Indy gear. The fedora looked awesome on Harrison and I am thrilled to call myself a friend to Steve Delk and Marc Kitter, of Adventurebilt Hats. However, I really would have love to have seen the jacket look more distressed as it just looked too new to me. They could have sent the jackets to me and I would have distressed the heck out of them! It’s a real shame that we didn’t get to see Indy use his pistol and whip more and it feels as if each Indy installment has less and less use of the whip. I just wished by the end of the movie, the gear would have looked a bit more lived in, as it didn’t look distressed enough. My other major complaint was that there was too much CGI used and not enough real life sets. One of the things that I love about the Indiana Jones trilogy is that there were so many real sets built for the movies and it just feels more realistic to me. There were parts of Crystal Skull where I just felt that the environment looked fake. My other complaint was that parts of the plotline felt like something out of a fan fiction novel (not that I have anything against fan fiction, as I write it myself). The part where we find out that Indy has a son, was so obvious and I felt that the wedding at the end was also pretty clichéd. It is almost as if the writers couldn’t come up with anything more original, and they got their ideas from a bunch of online posts on message boards and fan fiction sites.

On a positive note, my favorite lines from the movie are:

Indy: “Damn! I thought that was closer!”

Indy: “You wanna be a good archaeologist? You gotta get out of the library!”

Indy: “Treat her right, kid. You only get one, and sometimes not for that long.”

Mutt: “You’re a teacher?”
Indy: “Part time.”

Indy: “Dance on your own time, will you?”

Marion: “You still leaving a trail of human wreckage, or have you retired?”

Indy: “Yeah, Marion! Let’s not let the kid see mom and dad fight!”

Indy: “Scooch over, will you son?”
Mutt: “Don’t call me son! Don’t!”

Regarding the scene near the end where Indy is telling Mac to hurry up, I would have completely rewritten that to give it some more substance.
Indy: "Use your legs Mac! I can't do it alone!"
Mac: "I'll be all right, I'll..."
The whip is taut, with Mac hanging on for dear life.
Mac: "I'm scared, Jonesy! I don't wanna die!"
Indy: "Hang on, Mac, just..."
At that moment, Mac is no longer able to hold on to the end of the whip and he screams in terror as he is pulled away by the inertia of the temple crumbling away.

My conclusion is this. Is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a good movie? Well, it’s a fun movie and one that had me laughing out loud at times but I don’t know if I would class it as a good movie. Here’s the thing. I think I have finally come to terms with it, as long as I don’t take it too seriously and remind myself that hey, it’s just a movie after all. I guess that I feel after reading Frank Darabont’s unused
script, that would have been a much better movie than the one we were given, and to be honest, I feel that George Lucas is to blame. In my opinion, Darabont’s script was very well written and I would have especially loved to have seen that on the big screen, especially the scene near the end where Indy receives the Congressional Gold Medal by President Eisenhower. Okay, yes, there was wedding at the end, but it was brief, followed by Indy and Marion’s wedding party. I just can’t help but think that this would have made a much better movie, as the writing was beyond what David Koepp could ever come up with.

Lastly, does Crystal Skull measure up to the Indy trilogy? In my opinion, absolutely not. I feel that it’s nowhere near as good as Raiders, Temple of Doom or Last Crusade. I have always felt that you have the trilogy and then the fourth movie is separate and I do not see it as a quadrology.

There’s definitely some bad dialogue here and there. I think they should have given the script to Carrie Fisher to punch it up a bit. Lines like “don’t call it a snake!” Are a bit too cheesy for Indiana Jones. I agree that “w” line in the beginning felt out of character a bit.

But one line that really irks me is when Mac says “I’ll be okay” at the end and winks at Indy. He just spent the whole movie being a greedy two-timing son of a bitch and he’s suddenly acting like he has the moral high ground and is accepting of death? That seems entirely the opposite reaction he should have. Nobody really mentions that line but I can’t stand it.

But all that being said, it still held up way better than I had remembered.
 

Pappy

New member
I just did a Crystal Skull re-watch recently. I actually had not watched it in a few years. I watch the first three multiple times in a year, but I rarely watch Crystal Skull, however I still do like it. As an homage to the B-movie science fiction of the 1950s, it is pretty fun, but not up to the quality of the first three. Strangely though, I actually enjoy the refrigerator moment. In fact, the whole Nevada sequence (gophers aside) is pretty great. I love the shot of Indy looking toward the mushroom cloud. It's when they get to South America that the film goes a little off the rails.

I was not a huge fan of the cemetery sequence and like many I really dislike Mutt's vine-swinging. The jungle chase in general is a bit underwhelming (maybe it's the overuse of CGI or just the multiple absurd occurrences throughout it). Cinema Sins also made an interesting point about the "big damn ants". If ants capable of consuming a human so quickly like that actually existed, South America would be uninhabited. I always thought the ant scene was a little too much like something from the Mummy franchise anyway.
 
Top