While following the production progress of the new Indiana Jones movie (who could've guessed we'd have the chance to see another?), the filmmakers had several options for a title."...and the Destroyer of Worlds," "...and the Fourth Corner of the World" or "..and the City of Gods," were two such listed in production notes.
What exactly is a crystal skull and what warrants the need for the object's kingdom?
At least the "Destroyer of Worlds" title comes from the infamous line spoken by physicist Dr. Robert Oppenheimer after creating the first successful nuclear bomb, which is mentioned in the movie.
The city of Gods is applicable to the lost city where Mayans worship the crystal skulls.
The troublesome title problem adds much to the allure of the actual story of the Indie flick.
The pros behind the film include great looking stunts, good characters, strong acting and good character acting.
The cons feature a less than thrilling plot development and no Sean Connery.
Honorable mention goes to communists being used as antagonists coinciding with the red scare of the decade the film is set, the return of Karen Allen and Shia LeBeouf as Indie's 20-year-old greaser son.
While there is some nods to the original trilogy (and a thumbs up to the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television show), the story does not work as fan service to those wanting Indie to return to the adventures of his heyday.
I use heyday in context as the story is set about 20 years following "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
Gone are the Nazi antagonists and Marcus Brody character (the actor, Denholm Elliott, passed away in 1992), making the film a departure from the original trilogy, but not as much of a departure as "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."
However, much like "Temple of Doom," there is no Christianity allure behind Indie's questing.
This gave me the feeling of something missing from the film's intrigue.
Sure, Cate Blanchett (not Russian) gives a great performance of a psychic commie doctor who vies for the secrets behind the mysterious stone along with her counterpart soldier played by Igor Jijikine (Russian), who gives off an eerie cold demeanor, much like his character.
After repeated viewings, the most rewarding and thrilling parts of the film for me come from the motorcycle chase around Dr. Jones' fictional Marshall College (which looks very similar to Harvard University) and the vehicle chase in a Peru jungle, before the arrival of monkeys.
Harrison Ford, now 65, managed to either stay as fit as he was 19 years prior or has gotten into shape incredibly for the film.
Director Steven Spielberg complimented Ford on his performance, and production notes reported Ford fitting into his old costume without any altercations made to wardrobe.
While it might go unsaid that the first scenes where we see Indie seems forced with what sounds like a voiceover, by the end of the film Ford does not look any older than he did in "Last Crusade."
However, the script still seems to hold back from anything exciting from happening.
The film is good fun, but it does not compete with any of the franchise's original trilogy, except maybe "Temple of Doom."
Surprisingly, and perhaps unfortunately, the finalized script took almost 19 years to be approved by not only Spielberg and Ford, but George Lucas.
Then we, as the film audience, have to agree that crystal skulls are worth our and Indie's time.