Indiana Jones will have a bit of a crisis of confidence at the start of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, in which he'll question his place in the universe. It'll be a moving and tragic meditation on aging, worthy of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. How do I know this? Bubble gum cards told me, of course. Topps bubble-gum cards, and the "Official Guide" to the new Indy movie, have come out, revealing pretty much all of the movie's plot points. Here's your spoiler warning, and away we go!
In general, it looks like Crystal Skull will be the kinkiest of the Jones movies, with bondage, mind control and blowing down the wrong end of a blowdart, among other things.
The movie starts on a downbeat. Indy's dad and his friend Marcus are both dead, and it's been a "brutal couple of years," so he decides to leave the country for a while. Indy's become a bit of an embarrassment so the university decides to give him a "promotion" to Associate Dean. In a scene with his friend the Dean, Indy talks about his feelings of obsolescence, and the Dean says when you're young, you spend so much time finding out who you are and then announcing it to the world. And then when you're old, you just want to know how the world will remember you. Indy takes solace in teaching Archeology 101, which is still full of lustful female students.
In Arnie's Diner, surrounded by lettermen and poodle-skirted coeds, Indy listens to "Mutt" Williams tell about his mom and his surrogate dad, Harold "Ox" Oxley. Ox is a long-lost friend of Indy's, and Mutt's mom claims to have met Indy during his past adventures. (But Mutt's real dad is Colin, an RAF pilot who died in the war.) Mutt is a "rock'n'roll swashbuckler" who was a fencing champion for two years. Mutt has a classical education, thanks to years of boarding schools, in spite of his Marlon Brando demeanor. In the course of his adventure, Mutt learns there's more to life than hair pomade, motorcycles and "shake, rattle 'n' roll." (There is?!)
The early "Hangar 51" warehouse set piece involves the movie's main Russian villains, who are searching for a means of psychic warfare. Indy is forced by Spalko, that Russian dominatrix, to lead her troops to a special crate, using his knowledge of magnetism and some gunpowder and shotgun pellets. The crate slides open to reveal a mysterious figure. There's a sword-fighting confrontation, and Indy threatens to kill Col. Dovchenko unless the Russians drop their weapons. Indy glimpses the Ark of the Covenant in storage, and ends up on the hood of Col. Dovchenko's car, speeding towards a railroad flatcar with jet engines crudely bolted on. The flatcar (rocket sled) roars to life, incinerating some of the pursuing Russians. Indy and an unconscious Dovchenko are flung into a "cushioned blast shield" in the back of the railway car, which flies past the Russian soldiers and winds up miles away, in the desert. Indy staggers out of it.
Spalko was raised in a Ukrainian village, where the superstitious villagers branded her a witch because of her psychic powers.
And at some point, Indy ends up in an artificial town named Doom Town (the one with the weird 1950s life-size dolls) and it's scheduled for nuclear blasting. Indy gets out just in time, but the Russians chasing him are totally liquified.
The skull of the movie's title has a "more atom-age, Roswellian, Chariots of the Gods" origin, based on science rather than magic. Spalko thinks it's a new "mind weapon," Stalin's greatest dream. Whoever returns it to the lost city of Akator gets to control the skull's power. "We will be everywhere at once, Dr. Jones, as powerful as a hypnotic command," she says.
Indy finds the skull behind the mummified body of a Conquistador in Chauchilla Cemetery. For a moment, Indy is so excited about finding the skull, he almost forgets about saving his friends. There's a confrontation involving blow-dart-wielding Nazca warriors dressed as skeletons. (The Nazca are "small, feral and vicious.") Indy and friends escape, only to fall into the hands of Col. Dovchenko and Indy's friend Mac (Ray Winstone), who's a turncoat. Mac later claims to be a double-agent, working for the CIA, but Indy's not sure if he can be trusted. (The cards dealing with Mac's double-crossing are called "Nailing Mac!" and "Nailing Mac... Again!")
At some point, Spalko puts Indy in bondage for an "interrogation." Harold "Ox" Oxley is the key to finding Akator, but an "interpreter" is required. The Russians use Indy as the interpreter, forcing him to stare into the skull's deadly hypnotic eyes. Indy goes into a trance, and Spalko thinks she can use the skull to turn him into a Communist. "Stare into its eyes, and it'll drive you mad," Indy warns. At some point, in the jungle, Indy escapes from the Russians and launches a counterattack. But they launch a counter-counterattack.
Mutt gets stung by a scorpion, but Indy tells him he'll be fine.
The Temple of Akator is such an overwhelming sight, Mutt wants to leave. But Indy says they have to return the skull to the temple, because it asked him to. But then they get attacked by savage Ugha warriors armed with blow darts. Indy kills one of them by blowing on the wrong end of his blow dart, sending the dart back in the opposite direction.
Revealing the skull drives the Ughas away, but then Indy has to solve a "puzzle" to get into the temple — reassembling the four pieces of the pyramid, which are too heavy to lift. Indy figures out he needs to drain sand from the center of the structure, and then the pyramid will automatically reassemble. A 15-foot stone obelisk lying on its side is the "key" to the temple. Indy breaks some stone "plugs" causing the sand to flow, and the enormous obelisk to move.
But Spalko pays a heavy price for her desire to learn all, as the walls of the temple start spinning, and a black sinkhole forms at its center. (At first, I thought it said "shithole.") The double-crossing Mac is pulled in but won't let Indy get dragged down with him. [INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL'S BLOG]