From the abundance of fedora hats travelling around London recently, one would almost think that there was a new Indiana Jones movie on general release.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hails the return of the snake-fearing, whip-bearing archaeologist, and it is a welcome return. The back may not be as straight, and a paunch is evident, but the sense of adventure and the now familiar smirk is prevalent.
During a comparatively uninspired set of opening credits, a KGB envoy arrives at a top secret government location in the Nevada desert to the strains of Elvis Presley’s "Hound Dog". There they proceed to kill everyone in sight. Jones (Harrison Ford) is hauled out of a car boot along with his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone), and ordered by head honcho Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) to locate a specific box in a warehouse containing all of the artefacts the US government does not want the public to see. Among these artefacts is the Ark, but it is a box containing mangled remains that Spalko seeks. Despite Indy’s best efforts, she escapes with it.
Accused of aiding and abetting Communist spies, Indy is given a leave of absence at his college. Before he sets off for London, he is approached by a James Dean-like figure named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), who tells him of the kidnap of his mother and Indy’s old friend Professor Oxley (John Hurt). Off we go again.
The two travel to Peru to track him down, and learn that he has discovered the location of the fabled Crystal Skulls, which together can give the power and knowledge of mind control. They find one of them buried with a band of Conquistadors who supposedly discovered El Dorado, before they themselves are kidnapped by Spalko’s agents. Taken to a small settlement near the Amazon, they are reunited with Oxley and Mutt’s mother, none other than Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).
Having stared into the eyes of a Skull for too long, Oxley is something of a gibbering wreck, but he is able to communicate to Indy the whereabouts of the other skulls, which are thought to be extraterrestrial.