No, this isn’t news about some lame 5th Indiana Jones movie, nor is it an announcement of an upcoming video game. What follows is simply how I would have done the 4th Indiana Jones movie instead of what got made: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some elements will be very similar to the movie you know, but other elements will be radically different. So, sit back and enjoy and I regale you with the tale of how Dr. Henry Jones Jr. gets mixed up with El Dorado…
We open on the Paramount logo, which fades into a slide projected picture in class. A teacher lectures, a door opens, and a boy about 17 or 18 years of age, wearing a leather jacket, sticks his head into the room. “May I help you, young man?” “I’m looking for Dr. Jones.” We follow the boy as he heads down the hall, a class lets out, “Dr. Jones?” he asks of someone, they point him into the class room. He enters, but no one is there, the door on the far side of the room shuts. He follows, out among the students, across the quad, and to the office on Dr. Henry Jones Jr. – Archeology. The interior is filled with students, the boy asks the secretary if Dr. Jones is in and she indicates he’ll need to wait. The boy looks unhappy with that answer and leaves.
Inside Jones’ office, he and the dean are speak. Dr. Jones has passed up another opportunity for field work, the dean says, “I know the past couple of years have been rough, with the loss of your father and Marcus” (cut to photos on the desk) “but you can’t hide in your classroom, and the University needs its head Archaeologist to go out and occasionally discover something, or at least research and publish.” They talk more leaving Henry under the orders that he has to find something else beyond just teaching his classes. The dean leaves. Just as Jones relaxes a little, the boy climbs in his window.
The boy introduces himself as Walt Williams, and explains he needs to talk to him about Harold Oxley… we get some back story here about how after Walt’s dad died, he and his mom, Mary, stayed with Oxley. Some months ago, Oxley went to South America in search of something. A couple months later, his mother got a letter asking her to come down and bring some things with her. That was a couple weeks ago that she left, and Walt got a letter from his mother telling him to find Dr. Henry Jones at Barnett College, which he did. Walt says, “Look, there’s more. Can we go somewhere?” Jones looks at his door and we hear the sounds of people waiting to see him. Both men leave through the window.
At a diner, they talk a little more, Oxley was looking for El Dorado, the City of Gold. The letter from his mother said Oxley was in trouble, there are some notes in the margins which Walt thinks might refer to some of Oxley’s books. Jones notices a couple men in suits watching them, one has a gun. They get up to leave, the suits get up to block them, Jones has Walt start a fight to cover their escape. A chase scene ensues with several men in suits trying to catch them. They evade capture.
Map overlay – travel to Chicago.
At Oxley’s home, they quickly run through the clues on the letter. Those written within the letter give them info on where to find them, Mary and Oxley, where they’ve gone. The clues in the margin which are more difficult indicate that Jones should not come. He’s about to tell Walt to take the location information to the US Embassy to get the authorities involved when he discovers that Mary Williams is actually Marion Ravenwood. He agrees to go, although Walt has his doubts that Jones is going to able to do much if his mother really is in trouble.
Map overlay – travel to Peru.
Here they find where Marion and Oxley have been and where they were headed. Again they are followed by men in suits who now have thugs in more casual attire as well as native guides. They discover they need to go to Brazil after sorting through what they find (at one point, Walt slips a small sack into his backpack when Indy isn’t looking), and Indy says he “knows a guy” who can probably help them. Indy meets up with Jock (pilot from the opening scenes of Raiders) who says he can’t fly Indy to Brazil, but puts him in touch with a group who will take him by truck. Unknown to Jock, the guys he knows are working with the men in suits.
Map overlay – travel to Brazil.
Indy and Walt get out of the truck and find themselves surrounded. Pull back to show the men in suits, Indy appears to look around, beyond the men and says, “Didn’t you guys lose?” and gets hit with the butt of a gun. Pull back farther to reveal their camp, complete with Nazi symbols.
Dr. Jones wakes up restrained, bound at the hands and feet. The Nazi in charge explains that Indiana Jones is somewhat of a legend among the SS, while historians may decide that many different things lead to the downfall of the Third Reich, those with the knowledge know that ultimately it was the denial of true power… the Ark, the Grail… that lead to their defeat. He explains that when they find El Dorado, they will have all the money they need to rebuild, to start the Fourth Reich, that thanks to ODESSA many officers of the SS are in South America just waiting for the call to arms, that when they rise, Germany, though defeated, will stand behind them again. But in order to win, they need to fulfill the prophesy, to bring the Crystal Skull to the City of Gold, and that they were just waiting for Jones to bring them the skull. “Well, you’re out of luck, if it exists, I don’t have it.” “No?” The Nazi opens Walt’s bag, opens the small sack from Peru and reveals the skull. “The best part, Dr. Jones, is that in the past, we have needed you… to find the Ark, to find the Grail… but the Fourth Reich, to find El Dorado, we have Dr. Oxley, so we don’t need you.” They pack up most of camp, load Walt into a truck and the Nazi tells Jones, “I’d kill you myself, Dr. Jones, but I’m afraid someone else will get that honor.” and they load him into a different truck. The main group heads off one way, Jones’ truck head in another.
Action scene, Jones fights men in truck and turns it around.
The Nazi brings Walt and the skull to a new camp, Walt is reunited with Marion and the skull is given to Oxley. Marion asks when Jones is, Walt says that he was to be executed. Marion gets very angry. Walt and Marion are locked up. The Nazi takes Oxley and the skull and begins to threaten him about leading them to the City. Walt manages to get free of his bonds, frees Marion and knocks out a guard. He and Marion are trying to sneak out of camp, another guard is coming up behind them. A truck comes smashing through camp and hits the guard. Its Jones. “Get in! Where’s Oxley?” Short action sequence of getting Oxley and the skull, the four of them drive off in the truck. They stop, pursuit vehicles are heard. Everyone gets out and Jones rigs the truck to drive straight and they hide in the jungle. A couple of jeeps and motorcycles drive past after the truck.
Oxley explains that even though they have the skull, the Nazis know how to find the city, but if they can get there first, the skull is rumored to have the power to destroy the city. So they go.
They reach the city, but so do the Nazis. The City of Gold isn’t really made of gold, but instead all the walls have yellow crystals in them, as the sun begins to rise, the light begins to shine in the city making the entire thing talk on a gold colored shimmer from the crystals. Jones and company race through the ancient city occasionally fighting and occasionally avoiding soldiers, eventually they reach the main temple. Inside there is much gold, real gold, on the walls and in the chambers. They reach the central chamber to find a room surrounded by thrones. They try to understand what to do with the skull, but the Nazi arrives. “So, looks like I’ll get to kill you after all, Dr. Jones.” Indy uses his whip to disarm the Nazi, but the Nazi uses the whip to pull Jones off balance. Other soldiers enter but the Nazi holds them off, preferring to take Jones alone. They start to fight.
During the confusion, Marion, Walt and Oxley slip off behind one of the huge thrones. While Jones fights, the others try to figure out the room. Light begins to pour in from a hole in the ceiling. The crystals are reflecting/refracting the sunlight causing a beam to shine down into the center of the chamber where a chest high pillar sits. As Walt looks on, the Nazi gets hold of Jones’ arm and forces his head down onto the pillar. “I know what to do.” Walt says, “Give me the skull.” Jones breaks free of the Nazi and gets in a few good shots. The soldiers look on. Walt comes running out and places the skull on to the pillar and with his hands on the sides, aims it toward the soldiers. The light from the ceiling pours into the top of the skull and beams of light shoot out of its eyes, burning the soldiers like lasers, setting them afire. He turns, Jones takes a hit and falls, the beams cross over the Nazi and he screams. Jones gets up and looks around the room. Chest high, in the main throne is a hole, he puts the skull back into the column of light and aims the eyes toward the hole. The beams shoot out of the eyes and reflect off something there and go downward. The Nazi stand up, his face and hands burned. He looks at the skull, “The power of the skull…” “… can be used to destroy the City of Gold” Oxley says as he and Marion step down. The ground begins to shake. Indy, Walt, Marion and Oxley run from the chamber, out of the temple, trying to leave the city as it begins to fall apart behind them. The Nazi takes the skull from the pillar, but the rumbling doesn’t stop. “The power of the skull is mine.” And they run, Jones hypothesizes that the heat from the beam must have triggered something that is literally tearing the city apart.
Jones and company run from the city in time to see the retaining wall at the far end of the valley in which the city rests collapse. They climb and beat the waters as the city is buried beneath them taking the Fourth Reich with it. “That was clever, kid”, Jones tells Walt, “that bit with the light and skull. Clever. And Quick. That’s one smart kid you’ve got here Marion.” “He gets that from his father.” then through a bit of clever dialog which I can’t work out at the moment, it is revealed that Walt is Henry Walton Jones III.
As with that last little bit, obviously I’ve left out pretty much all the dialog. Throughout, much like, although much better than, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I’d want to see Jones getting close to the kid, and when Marion arrives, a bit of witty banter that shows the old spark is still alive (I actually loved the bit where Indy said that all the girls after Marion hadn’t worked out because “They weren’t you”). I wouldn’t, however, end the film with a cheesy wedding scene. Just a smile, maybe a wink.
Anyway… that’s essentially how I would have preferred to see the new Indiana Jones film go instead of the gophers, monkeys and aliens we got… oh well.