The trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" wasn't supposed to premiere until Thursday night at the very first screenings of "Iron Man." But we're well connected. We speak a dozen languages, know every local custom and have friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan.
OK, we also get lost in our own museum — but then, we do have the grail already!
We went through the trailer shot by shot to see what it signifies for our favorite archeologist. If you're lucky enough to have found a copy, follow along as time codes count up from the beginning.
0:06: The trailer begins with a pan shot of Argentina's Iguazu Falls, known as "The Devil's Throat." In voiceover, Indy explains the movie's setup: "Legend says that a crystal skull was stolen from a lost city in the Amazon ... "
0:13: The scene shifts to the altar room of a dilapidated temple, shrouded in darkness, as Dr. Jones continues, " ... supposedly built out of solid gold," and a flash of golden light fills the chamber.
When the soundtrack listing for the fourth Indy adventure was released last month, we wondered what titles like "Orellana's Cradle" and "Hidden Treasure and the City of Gold" could possibly mean for the story. Since all our efforts had been spent deciphering the existing mythology of the crystal skulls, we were thrown off-guard by the mention of another, seemingly competing legend. Jones' explanation is our first real proof of how it all fits together.
0:19: " ... guarded by the living dead." Shots of temple warriors (both living and dead) roll by. A lonely scorpion crawls over a skeleton's ribcage.
0:24: Our first real look at the Crystal Skull itself, as a man (presumably Indy) delicately maneuvers it in front of Mutt (Shia LaBeouf). Notice the massive eye cavities, the dolichocephaly — this is no human skull. "Whoever returns the skull to the city temple will be given control of its power."
Pay particular attention to the grammatical antecedent of "its," which is somewhat unclear. Does "its" refer to the skulls or to the temple? The sentence is worth parsing because there are persistent rumors that the climax of the movie will see the temple itself ascend into space. Does that mean the power belongs within the temple itself, which could be a camouflaged spaceship? In that case, the skulls would be akin to keys — needed to activate some kind of power, but powerless on their own. Jones should have been an English professor.
0:30: Agent Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) draws her sword. "You will help us find it," she menacingly intones.
0:35-0:40: Scenes of fast-paced mayhem ensue, specifically more from the jungle chase first glimpsed in the original trailer. Copious machine-gun fire fills the air.
0:41: "A simple 'yes' will do," Spalko tells Jones. Simple? Lady, do you know who this guy is?
0:42-0:46: Jones leaps from atop crates at the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" warehouse. Meanwhile, an explosion rocks another part of the building, engulfing two soldiers in flames. Both shots were in the first trailer.
0:47: Note to Spalko: You know who you're dealing with now. "We will do this the old fashioned way," she surmises, as a menacing brute is seen toying with a large chain.
0:49: Indy's iconic silhouette framed on the door of an Army jeep. Although we've heard his voice and seen him from behind twice, this is really the trailer's first money shot — and it occurs at almost precisely the same time as it did in the first trailer (roughly 50 seconds in). Notice how in both, his introduction is not a standard hero pose, but the same shadowed image. He's an icon and an archetype, and maybe one of only a few movie characters in history that could be recognized simply from their shadow (Mickey Mouse? The Little Tramp?). As noted before, this has always been one of his greatest characteristics — recall, for instance, how Marion recognized him in "Raiders."
0:52: His second great characteristic, a world weary, cynical calm in the face of extraordinary turmoil. "Put your hands down, will ya," he says to Mac (Ray Winstone), as several dozen guns are pointed at his chest. "You're embarrassing us."
0:57: Indy and Mutt in some sort of modern building, at Yale perhaps.
0:58: Indy picks up a golden mask, somewhat Roman in appearance (notice the long, sharp nose).
0:59: Mutt, looking like he's dressed in a surplus costume from Marlon Brando's "The Wild One," rides in on a motorcycle, passing a train to his right.
1:00: Soldiers under the guidance of Spalko open a crate that appears to be the same one from the first trailer — the one marked "Roswell, New Mexico 1947." The connection re-enforces the notion that the crystal skulls will have an alien origin.
1:01: Jones, in a temple, stops Mutt short with his forearm. "Don't touch anything," he insists. On one level we can chuckle, imagining what sort of deadly booby traps will be unleashed when Mutt inevitably fails to follow Indy's advice. On another, avid fans will recall that this is — to the word — the exact advice he gave to Short Round in "Temple of Doom."
1:07-1:11: More action from the car chase, set high above the jungle. Indy double punches an enemy, swinging first with his right arm and then with his left. For some reason, this reminds me of when he killed three Nazis with a single bullet.
1:11-1:14: "Get on," Mutt screams to Indy. Soon, both are racing through the streets of Yale on the back of Mutt's motorbike.
1:15: Indy falls through a glass ceiling onto an illuminated table at the "Raiders" warehouse (we can see crates in the background of the first shot). But what kind of table is it that he falls onto?
1:16: More shots of the temple guardians.
1:17: Our first look at John Hurt, as his character and Indy are held at spear-point somewhere in the jungle. The most persistent rumor is that Hurt is playing Abner Ravenwood, Marion's father and Indy's lost mentor, who is speculated to have disappeared inside the temple while looking for the crystal skulls. The shot reveals nothing one way or the other.
1:18: A digital readout ticks down from 30 seconds.
1:19: Apparently, it is attached to some kind of rocket, presumably as part of a test program at a government facility. The boosters go off in a big way, propelling Indy down the tracks, right in front of the rocket.
1:26: A mysterious man in jail pleads with his captors.
1:27: The Temple of the Crystal Skull realigns, as Jones and company race down its inner steps. In subsequent shots, it is clear the temple itself is completely self-destructing, as Jones tries to outpace it. "Faster!" he screams.
1:33-1:38: "What's he gonna do now?" Mutt asks Marion, as the pair sit in the front of a truck careening through the jungle. "I don't think he plans that far ahead," she mocks, as the tip of a rocket powered grenade creeps into view. "I'd cover my ears if I were you," Jones slyly demands, firing the RPG into a tank.
1:41: A motorcycle flies towards the truck. Hold on!
But not much longer. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opens May 22.
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