I have been lurking on this BBS since 2001, but haven't a good reason to contribute to it. Until now.
Seven years ago I wrote an article for Film Threat entitled “Indiana Jones and the Impossible Sequel”, which this website kindly posted a link to:
In case any of you are interested in reading the article, here are the direct links (the article has since been archived, and as such the original ‘part’ links embedded in the article’s HTML code no longer work):
Part 1: http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?...eatures&Id=297
Part 2: http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?...eatures&Id=298
Part 3: http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?...eatures&Id=299
Part 4: http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?...eatures&Id=300
The contention of the article is betrayed by its title. When I wrote it, I honestly believed that Lucas, Spielberg, et al, were indulging in wishful thinking, not because I thought they couldn't make a great film (almost a guarantee with Spielberg at the helm), but because “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was designed as a send off, with closure and finality encoded in its DNA. Because of this, I was convinced that a fourth film would crush under the weight of the trilogy's sense of completeness, even though the three films are not bound by a single narrative like the “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” trilogies.
When speculation as to the fourth film's MacGuffin hit fever pitch a few months ago, I thought there was a chance I could become a “true believer” -- but only if it turned out that Jones was on a quest to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant from a thieving gaggle of Russian spies and scientists, who had discovered evidence supporting the theory that the Ark was a lot more than a transmitter to God or a supernatural, God-powered super weapon. If the MacGuffin was once again the Ark, albeit a more faceted Ark, at once familiar and fresh, almost like a metaphor for the film -- and the “trilogy” -- itself, then I thought the fourth film would have the connective issue to give it instant legitimacy, and would function as the perfect bookend.
But when the title for the fourth film was announced in September last year, I instantly reverted to my orginal mindset. As a result, I spend a good deal of time each day scouring the Internet for new information about “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in the hope that I will discover a kernel of information that will instantly revive my faith like adrenaline delivered via a canister of compressed air.
However, George Lucas’ revelation in Jim Windolf’s Vanity Fair article, entitled “Keys to the Kingdom”, that the fourth instalment will pay homage to sci-fi cinema of the 1950s rather than the action-adventure serials of the 30s as with the previous films, confirmed a fear shared by many fans -- the incongruous presence of aliens and/or alien technology in the relatively earthy Indiana Jones mythos.
Recently I decided to do more research on the possible link between crystal skulls and Atlantis, which lead me to the official description of the "Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull" ride (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDuasAQMynQ
) over at the Tokyo Disney website (http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/t...indiana.html):
“Follow in the footsteps of Dr. Indiana Jones in a harrowing, life-or-death quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth. But beware -- the Fountain is purported to be guarded by a vengeful, supernatural spirit known as the Crystal Skull!”
The description instantly called to mind a quote from George Lucas in the aforementioned Vanity Fair article:
“What it is that made it perfect was the fact that the MacGuffin I wanted to use and the idea that Harrison would be 20 years older would fit.”
If you join all the dots, then it's not much of a stretch to believe that the MacGuffin that Lucas is referring to could very well be the legendary Fountain of Youth -- the ultimate MacGuffin, irrespective of whether the “fountain” turns out to be an alien invention. If I’m ultimately proven to be correct, then I don't think it's wishful thinking to say that “Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” could be a better send off than the last one, even if our intrepid archaeologist ends up boarding a flying saucer at the end of the film so he can look for ancient artefacts on another planet.