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Still shot from the movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

After 19 years, Harrison Ford dons his hat, picks up his whip and resumes his role as Indian Jones, a part-time university professor/full-time adventurer. And while the aging actor and character admits it's not as easy as it used to be, fans can still expect a whole lot of action as Indy tackles a new challenge with a young tag-a-long (Shia La Beouf) and runs into an old romantic interest (Karen Allen). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B- 3.0
Violence: C
Sexual Content: B+
Language: C+
Drugs/Alcohol: C+
Theater Release: 21 May 2008
Video Release: 14 Oct 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Nineteen years have passed since Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) set off on his last adventure. His return will rank this movie as one of the most anticipated renewals of a franchise since Star Wars. It's an onerous task to live up to, and Ford -- like the rest of us -- hasn't gotten any younger.

Still a professor at the fictitious (Frank) Marshall College (named after the prominent producer of the series), it's now 1957 and Indy is pulled into a difficult dilemma when he inadvertently finds himself working for the Russians. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) is a cold, indomitable spy, and she's determined to locate a mysterious crystal skull that, when placed in a specified location of a lost city in South America, will bring her country unstoppable power.

Escaping from the grasp of the Soviets, Jones returns to teaching only to learn, in this era of hypersensitive politics, that he has been suspended due to suspicions of conspiring with the enemy. Deflated, the aging hero is about to accept his demise when a young stranger interrupts his plans. Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) persuades Jones to help him find one of the most enigmatic archeological discoveries known to man -- the Crystal Skull of Akator.

The ensuing adventure is the exciting stuff most of us have been eagerly looking forward to; yet families will want to carefully consider the content before taking children in tow. Perhaps the best suggestion is to preview past Indiana Jones adventures as a reference point. This new chapter offers similar action, but the violence seems just a shade lighter even though there is still ample carnage on screen. People are gunned down with machine guns in more than one sequence, men are lit on fire, a nuclear bomb is demonstrated killing a couple more people, and there are dozens of fists to the face, falls from cliffs and other physical brutality. Finally, there are these giant "red" ants that eat people alive -- likely to be voted as the nastiest form of death in the movie.

On the positive side, Indy doesn't have the time (or perhaps energy?) for the usual sexual escapade that punctuates the former movies. Other than a discussion about an illegitimate child, there is no sexual content. Profanities are also relatively infrequent, with a few terms of deity and scatological words.

Traveling around the world, bulldozing his way through jungles, and fighting off bad commies on every turn, our intrepid hero manages to convince us that such antics are still possible -- even when one qualifies for seniors' discounts. Ford is determined to use stunt doubles as little as possible and that choice is evident in the film. Hence, the pacing is a tad slower than previous outings. Nonetheless, Lucas has penned a story that keeps us engaged and Spielberg knows how to pull every ounce of potential out of a scene. This famous team isn't known for flops, and this title will not be an exception.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is rated PG-13: PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images.

Cast: Harrison Ford, Ray Winstone, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen
Studio: 2008 Paramount Pictures

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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