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INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM
OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

Another Time, Another Quest
When we last saw Indiana Jones on screen, it was 1938, and the world stood on the brink of war as Dr. Jones chased down evildoers to find the Holy Grail.

Nineteen years later, he's cracking his whip again, and many things have changed ... but some have remained the same. Again, the world is at a precipice, this time caused by the specter of nuclear annihilation, and Indy's struggle is once again to ensure that a precious, mysterious object remains safe from those bent on destroying humanity.

The story of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” as created by George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson and written by David Koepp moves the era forward, and their decisions led to some unexpected – and creatively rewarding – choices about the feel of the fourth Indiana Jones adventure. The genesis of "Raiders of the Lost Ark” was inextricably tied to Spielberg and Lucas's respective love for movie serials from the 1930s. Those adventure classics were enormously influential on the action, adventure and suspense of first three Indiana Jones movies. But 19 years after those serials had ended, a new entertainment age had dawned. Serials gave way to television, but their sensibilities weren't gone from the screen. By the mid-1950s, science-fiction films had become ubiquitous, especially for younger audiences craving action and adventure.

Often breathtaking, despite the fact that they were usually filmed on shoestring budgets, they were movies filled with suspicion and paranoia about the rapidly changing scientific and technological world. Though imbued with dread fueled by the Cold War, they were also optimistic about the ingenuity of mankind to overcome attacks from outer space, under the sea – or from within. The spirit of those movies is felt throughout "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

"It was important for me that the character move into the Atomic Age,” says Spielberg. "Our film takes place in 1957, which is totally informed by the Cold War, by McCarthyism, by hot rods, and girls wearing letter sweaters, ponytails, and saddle shoes. For me, the ‘50s were emblematic of music, of the very beginning of rock and roll. It was Technicolor. The Fifties means the bright young faces that Norman Rockwell loved to paint.”

Executive producer Kathleen Kennedy concurs, "The ‘50s were an interesting period, because it was still an age of innocence, a time when we were coming out of World War II and people were excited about moving into the future.”

The changes also meant the filmmakers could explore a different kind of villain. As Spielberg explains, "Setting the story in 1957 planted us firmly in the middle of the Cold War with the threat of nuclear annihilation and the Red Menace, as it used to be known in America. Those were things that were in the headlines on a daily basis, so when it came to who the villains would be, the Russians got the job.”

Despite the changes in setting and tone, some things remain undeniably the same.

"All the traditions of Indiana Jones are back again,” says Spielberg. "We've got the map; we've got the plane and the vehicles with the little red line showing you how you're hop-scotching across the globe – and it's just part of the milieu that we've spent many years establishing.”

The end result is a movie for both old fans and new ones. "There's a tremendous feeling among everyone to hit the high bar and live up to the huge expectations for this movie,” says producer Frank Marshall. "And when people ask me, ‘What's the new movie like?' the only thing I can say is: It's Indiana Jones!”

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