Story

Set in 1957, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull starts at a restricted US military base in Nevada. Here Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone) escape from an encounter with Russian agents led by Colonel Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). Before his escape, Indiana finds the remains of a humanoid alien, which we later hear had a crystal skull and skeleton.

Indiana returns to Marshall College and his work as Professor of Archaeology. But he’s fired by Dean Stanforth (Jim Broadbent) because of pressure placed on the College by the US Government. Just as he’s leaving town, Indiana’s approached by Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), a rebellious youth who shows him a coded letter from Professor ‘Ox’ Oxley (John Hurt), an old colleague of Indiana’s. Oxley claims to have found the fabled Crystal Skull of Akator (Eldorado), which was taken from Akator by Spanish conquistadors. The letter identifies the location of the Skull.

Indiana and Mutt head into the Peruvian jungle and uncover the Crystal Skull. Once again they’re captured by the Russians. Mac has turned traitor and is helping the Russians this time. As prisoners, Indiana and Mutt are reunited with Professor Oxley and Mutt’s mother, Marion (Karen Allen).

Epic struggles with both the Russians and supernatural forces follow as the heroes fight to stop the Skull falling into the wrong hands.

Themes

The Cold War; aliens

Violence

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull contains frequent action violence and accidental harm. For example:

  • Four teenagers drive a hot-rod car in a reckless way along a highway. While racing another car, they drive on the wrong side of the road and have to swerve off the road when an oncoming car approaches.
  • Russian agents dressed as US military troops shoot several US military guards at a guard post. The bodies lie on the ground with bloodied bullet wounds, and the attackers drag the bodies away.
  • Men dressed in US military clothing drag Indiana Jones and Mac from the boots of two cars. One of the men slaps Indiana hard across the face. Several other men point machineguns in a threatening way.
  • Irina Spalko holds the point of a sabre to Indiana’s throat.
  • Mac holds a gun to Indiana’s head, forcing Indiana to surrender his machinegun. Indiana drops the machinegun. It goes off and shoots one of the attackers in the foot. There’s a hole in the man’s boot but no blood. The man collapses to the ground. Indiana runs away while the attackers fire their machineguns. Indiana ends up between two men in the front seat of a speeding vehicle. He elbows one man in the face, punches a second man in the face, and forces a woman out of a speeding vehicle.
  • During a fight, Indiana and the man he’s fighting fall through the roof of a building and land heavily on the floor below. Indiana’s attacker wraps a chain around Indiana’s neck and punches him in the face. Indiana kicks his attacker in the face.
  • Four attackers with machineguns enter a room. They stand behind a jet engine, which starts with bursts of flame and burns them up.
  • Indiana finds himself in a deserted town full of test dummies. He hears warning sirens and realises that an atomic bomb is about to be detonated. He hides inside a refrigerator to shield himself from the blast. The explosion incinerates the town and blows buildings away in a firestorm. A car containing a Russian attacker is also swept away. Inside his fridge, Indiana is hurled a kilometre or so through the air to bounce numerous times along the ground before coming to rest. He crawls out of the fridge and isn’t hurt, aside from a bit of blood on his lip.
  • In a cafe crowded with teenagers, two big Russian KGB agents go up to Indiana and Mutt. Mutt pulls a knife on the two men, who pull guns out and point them at Indiana and Mutt. As the two KGB agents leave with Indiana, Mutt punches one of the teenagers in the face to create a diversion and the entire cafe erupts into an all-out brawl.
  • To escape from KGB agents chasing them in cars, Mutt rides a motorbike with Indiana on the back. One of the KGB cars comes up beside Mutt and Indiana. The KGB agents grab Indiana from the bike and pull him into the car. He punches and elbows his attackers and then crawls out of the speeding car to jump back onto the bike. The bike and car continue the chase, driving through a crowd of demonstrating students. The demonstrators have to jump out of the way of the car and bike. The car eventually crashes into a large statue. The head of the statue breaks off and crashes through the car’s windscreen.
  • Several scenes show Mutt playing with a knife. He flicks and twirls the knife.
  • While entering some ruins, Indiana and Mutt are attacked by indigenous Peruvians, who fight using martial arts with lots of spinning and twirling kicks. The Peruvians also attack with blowpipes and poisonous darts. One dart narrowly misses Mutt. Indiana grabs one of the blowpipes and blows the dart back into the mouth of his attacker. The man falls to the ground with the dart sticking out of the back of his throat.
  • Irina Spalko questions Indiana while he’s tied to a chair. He’s forced to look into the eyes of the Crystal Skull, and he starts to shake and convulse.
  • Indiana punches Mac in the face, which breaks Mac’s nose.
  • In one escape attempt, Mutt throws an oil lamp on the ground. It bursts into flames and sets a tent on fire.
  • Indiana and Marion run into a quicksand pit, quickly sinking to their necks. Mutt throws a long thick Rat Snake to Marion and Indiana, who pull themselves out of the sand.
  • Trying to escape from an army vehicle, Indiana and Mutt repeatedly kick a man in the face. Indiana then throws the man out of the vehicle.
  • Indiana fires a missile at the truck, and the truck explodes. A giant metal wheel flies off the exploding truck and crashes into the vehicles behind.
  • Mutt stands on a speeding vehicle and has a sword fight with Irina, who’s standing on a second speeding vehicle. Mutt ends up straddling the two speeding vehicles.
  • Irina kicks Mutt in the head and stomach, leaving Mutt with blood on his face.
  • Indiana punches and elbows numerous Russians in the face and body and pulls the ear of one Russian. A Russian brutally punches down on Indiana’s head.
  • Indiana, Mutt, Marion and Oxley enter the ruins of Akator and are chased by indigenous Peruvians. The Peruvians surround them, pointing spears, but back away when Indiana holds up the Crystal Skull.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull contains many scenes with horror images that might scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • A coffin-like box is opened to reveal a man-sized figure covered in a silver suit. The suit is cut open. Vapours steam out, and a skeletal hand comes out.
  • One scene shows images of mentally ill patients. The patients are kept behind bars in a very old, run-down prison. The patients look extremely destitute and pathetic. They reach through the bars, crying hysterically and begging for their freedom. There’s a lot of screaming and shouting.
  • Indiana and Mutt are attacked by indigenous Peruvians wearing skull masks, which make them look evil and ghost-like. They also move like monkeys.
  • A swarm of very large scorpions crawl all over Mutt. One of the scorpions bites him.
  • Some scenes show skeletons with strangely shaped skulls. There’s one child-sized skeleton. Indiana tells Mutt that the local inhabitants used to bind the infant’s head with rope at birth to change the shape of the infant’s head and please the gods.
  • Indiana cuts open a mummy to show a perfectly preserved old man. The preserved body quickly begins to decompose. The nose disintegrates, and the skin turns grey and shrivelled. Indiana gives Mutt a mummified corpse to hold.
  • One scene shows images of a dead alien with an elongated skull. The back of the alien’s head had been cut open to show a crystal skull beneath.
  • While sinking in quicksand, Indiana is thrown a long, thick snake. He seems to be terrified of the snake and won’t grab hold of it.
  • One scene shows large soldier ants swarming over the body of a Russian soldier. The ants crawl inside the screaming soldier’s mouth. The soldier’s skin ripples as if he’s being eaten alive. The ants drag his body into their nest, just leaving his feet sticking out.
  • One scene shows images of hostile Peruvians with spears. Their bodies are painted with mud and their eyes are blackened. At the start of the scene, they seem to crawl out of the walls and ceiling of a cave.
  • A rotting corpse is stuck on a wooden stake.
  • Thirteen crystal alien skeletons sit on gold thrones. One of the skeletons doesn’t have its skull. When a crystal skull is held near the headless skeleton, the skull reattaches itself to the headless skeleton.
  • A large spaceship rises from ancient ruins. The ruins turn into a swirling vortex. The vortex sucks the ruins and a large mass of water into it, leaving behind a giant empty crater.
  • Dozens of Peruvians lie dead on the ground with their bodies riddled with wounds.
  • Irina is approached by a scary crystal alien skeleton. The alien skeleton looks into Irina’s eyes. Vapours pour out of its eyes and enter into her eyes. Irina starts to scream in agony. Light comes out of her eyes, and her head and body disintegrate into particles of light, which are then sucked into a swirling vortex. Several Russians and Mac are sucked into the same vortex. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes and disturbing images described above. 

Over 13

Some children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example:

  • Mutt has a sword fight with Irina. Irina says he’s ‘just like a young man – quick to begin, quick to finish’.
  • Indiana talks about having ‘been with’ many other women. He says he wasn’t happy because these other women didn’t have Marion’s special spark. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows occasional use of substances. For example:

  • Indiana and Dean Stanforth hold glasses of wine.
  • While in a cafe, Mutt swipes a bottle of beer from the tray of a passing waitress. Indiana returns the beer to the tray.
  • Mac smokes cigars continuously.
  • Mac holds an empty vodka bottle. He behaves as if he’s drunk, slurring his words and staggering.

Nudity and sexual activity

There’s some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:

  • Indiana is shown naked from the waist up in a shower. Someone is scrubbing Indiana’s genital region with a brush, which Indiana grabs and moves further up his body.
  • Indiana and Marion kiss passionately following their wedding. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

This movie has some occasional low-level coarse language, put-downs and name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an action adventure. It’s escapist entertainment and is likely to be very much enjoyed by older teenagers and adults.

The main messages from this movie are that the real treasure in life isn’t gold. Rather, the most valuable things are knowledge, personal beliefs, values, friendships and passion.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with older children about real-life issues such as:

  • Mac’s traitorous behaviour and greed
  • dangerous teenage driving
  • Irina’s desire to use the power of the crystal skull to force everyone in the world to think the way she does. 

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