Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): David Koepp
Release Date(s)May 23, 2008 - Wide
The long-awaited fourth installment of the Indiana Jones saga finally hits the big screen on May 22nd, 2008 with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
This time it’s 1957 and with the Cold War raging, Jones (Harrison Ford) heads off to find the legendary Crystal Skull of Akator. Of course the powerful object is also being sought by the Soviets…
Director Steven Spielberg realized the task they had in telling a new Indiana Jones story. “We created Indiana Jones, but it belongs to the world. And now we’re the custodians. Our job really is to serve up a huge helping not only of what Indiana Jones means to audiences who grew up with it, but to introduce the character to those who haven’t. This new film is for the fans.”
Producer and story co-writer George Lucas also understood what was needed to bring audiences in. “The style is the same, the humour is the same. Everything feels the same. But we’ve also been able to build on it. The relationships we have on the set and the ones on the screen are stronger and better and more fun than they’ve ever been.”
Harrison Ford also felt that it was the fans who wanted a new adventure for the heroic archaeologist. He lobbied both Lucas and Spielberg. “I have to give the credit to Harrison for starting the ball rolling and then to George for working to get me to consider the possibility of at least one more story,” Spielberg says.
Not only have we waited 19 years for a new film, but the character has aged 19 years as well and faces a new world of challenges and enemies. “It was important for me that the character move into the Atomic Age,” says Spielberg. “Our film takes place in 1957, which is totally informed by the Cold War, by McCarthyism, by hot rods, and girls wearing letter sweaters, ponytails, and saddle shoes. For me, the ’50s were emblematic of music, of the very beginning of rock and roll. It was Technicolor. The Fifties means the bright young faces that Norman Rockwell loved to paint.”
The new enemies, led by actress Cate Blanchett, were easy to decide on. “Setting the story in 1957 planted us firmly in the middle of the Cold War with the threat of nuclear annihilation and the Red Menace, as it used to be known in America. Those were things that were in the headlines on a daily basis, so when it came to who the villains would be, the Russians got the job.”
Producer Kathleen Kennedy said the even with a new time and foe, the familiar Indy elements are all there. “There is a certain amount of comfortable melodrama that always takes place in the storytelling. There’s the villain — and this one definitely has a great villain. There’s the banter with Indy and whoever his counterpart is — and we have a great sidekick. Indy always has a love interest, he’s got buddies along the way, people who betray him, and people who are not what they appear to be, and that’s what makes it fun.”