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Headscratchers / Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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  • Why does the gunpowder fly towards the magnetic skull? Gunpowder has no magnetic ingredients.
    • Indy mentions something about "the iron in the gunpowder" if I'm not mistaken. Also, from later in the film:
      Indy: Crystals aren't magnetic. ((Pries a coin off the skull)
      Mutt: Neither is gold.
      • He says the "metal" in the gunpowder. Gunpowder doesn't contain metal, though. It's made of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter. The saltpeter contains potassium, true, but it's in salt (ionic) form, not metallic form. (Claiming that saltpeter can be attracted to a magic non-magnetic-metal-magnet because it contains a metal would be like saying that water can explode because it contains hydrogen.)
      • That's black powder, which hasn't been used in any significant degree in firearms for more than a century.
      • Modern smokeless powder still doesn't contain any metal or even any magnetic materials.
      • I prefer the explanation, at least for the magnetic gold; it's very cheap 'gold'.
      • It's the Crystal Skull. A Wizard Did It.
      • Maybe he already knew it attracted gunpowder from when he studied it in the forties, and just assumed there was metal in the gunpowder- or maybe there was something else in the gunpowder that was being attracted, but it was simpler to say 'metal' than actually explain the process to the Russians.
      • In short, maybe he purposefully gave the Russians misinformation.
      • It's also a painfully selective metal attractant. Gunpowder and shotgun balls? Attracts. Gold coins? Attracts. Ceiling mounted warehouse light fixtures? Attracts. A knight's armor? Nope, easily pull that off the skull-once the gold coin told you it was there. The truck you're using to take it out of the warehouse? No problem, no apparent difficulty in taking the crate out later.
      • It's at least implied that the skull is sentient, even when detached from a body. So it could be that it's choosing when to direct the attractive force at things.
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    • It's probably not magnetism that's doing these things at all, but some sort of telekinetic energy that 1950s humans simply call "magnetism" because the items they've seen it affect just happen to have been metallic. If anything, it seems to be selectively affecting weapons — gunpowder, ammunition, guns, metal clubs, knives — and gold, which the skull has "seen" humans fighting over, so maybe it's a mechanism designed to disarm and pacify people who come near the skull. The fact it repels man-eating ants would seem to support the idea that it's a protective force.

  • Why did the FBI just kinda stop chasing Indy around after the plainclothes Commies showed up?
    • Quite possibly they might have been afraid of direct conflict escalating into a full-fledged war.
      • Or at least a nasty international incident.
    • He left the country shortly after and started travelling across South America. That's way outside of the FBI's jurisdiction.
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    • Or they quit following Indy to follow, y'know, the actual Dirty Commies.

  • If the Aliens were archaeologists collecting artifacts of this planet's civilization, why did they leave everything behind / destroy everything when they went home?
    • The aliens seemed to have two goals: inform the locals and collect data. Considering they're some hive mind creature, they probably didn't need to keep the artifacts after they had been studied. Plus, one of them was missing its head for 2,000 years. At that point I'd just want to get the hell out of there and go home.
      • Those weren't artifacts, they got them when they were new. I figure they were housewarming gifts they put in the metaphorical attic. I mean, you give people stuff they want to pay you back, but you got anything they could give anyway. "Oh, a... statue. That's... Nice. We'll put it in our... treasure... room. That's it. Treasure Room.
      • That one alien lost its skull for only 500 years, there were Conquistador corpses in the pit leading to the treasure room so the explorer must have stolen the skull rather than "found it". Still, it doesn't answer why they chose to stay here after dying rather than return after successfully completing their mission... unless they didn't want their followers home to be flash flooded, but they were god-kings, they could have just told them to set up elsewhere.

  • This may be cause for some MST3K Mantra, but how did Indy survive a nuclear blast in a lead-lined refrigerator?
    • Hardware was heavy and done with several metal layers in the 50's. And lead prevents radiation poisoning.
      • It's not going to withstand a nuclear blast, period. Lead (which is an absolutely horrible insulator) will not change this fact.
    • What concerns me more isn't the fact that the lead would block the radiation, but more of the fact that the explosion vaporized an entire town, including a car, yet not only was the refrigerator perfectly unharmed, Indy survived being thrown hundreds of feet, entirely unharmed. Though, Rule of Cool.
      • This is exactly why many feel this scene destroyed the franchise.
    • Also take into account that in those days, most homes were even more pre-fabricated than they are now, especially in the Midwest. Also it was in a testing ground, so they would not have EVERYTHING to scale - most of the cars were probably "tin foil shells", the houses didn't have fully-functioning. They put the TVs and radios in and working as a probable test on what effects the blast had on working electronic systems...
      • But what about the radiation after the fact? Also, the fact that lead lined or not, he should have fried from the heat alone? Obviously, there isn't an explanation, but somethings just went so far, even for Indiana Jones, that it was almost verging on parody, I thought.
      • The bomb was sitting on a tower a few miles away. The damaging effects from a nuclear blast are fourfold: blast wave, thermal radiation, ionizing radiation, and residual radiation. As the blast wave is roughly hemispherical, it gets rapidly weaker the further away it travels; the town was just far enough away. It wrecked the town, but the fridge was sturdy enough to take it. Thermal radiation comes from the flash and gets weaker as the fireball dissipates; Indy was inside a fridge, inside a house, and it wasn't close enough to vaporize anything in the town, which it would have had the bomb been much closer and/or directly overhead. It only burned and melted objects exposed to the direct blast. Ionizing radiation, also mostly instant, was blocked via the lead-lined fridge. And finally, residual radiation was the reason for his scrubdown chemical shower a short while later. The most farfetched part of that scene actually is him not rolling out of the fridge severely bruised from the tumble.
      • Severely bruised? The fridge was thrown hundreds of feet. He would have broken most of his bones if he survived at all.
      • It's not "a few miles away", it's maybe a few hundred yards to half a mile at the most. Even with a low yield bomb, there's no way it could withstand the blast.
      • Making everything fake mockups defeats the purpose of testing the effects of a nuclear blast on an average American town. Here is footage from Operation Cue, conducted 1955, and as you can see, the buldings are all real, the appliances are all real, and everything had power and gas connections with actual power transformer substations and propane and national gas facilities. They even buried food to test the effects of radiation on it. Prefab housing was also less commonplace than it is today.

        So everything was real. Making it fake would give virtually useless results, as it would only show how fake mockups would be effected by the blast, not the real thing. The tests were specifically to show the strengths and flaws of domestic buildings (and based on the actual scene, the buildings, cars and appliances are clearly real, and aren't fake).

        Operation Cue was conducted with a 30 KT bomb, with most buildings a mile from ground zero. Based on the scene in question and the destruction therein, the bomb used would 'had' to be either a megaton (hydrogen) bomb, or a very high (several hundred KT) yield kiloton bomb.
    • I think it's a matter of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: a nuclear bomb is clearly a "Radiation" type effect, which is weak against "Lead."
    • A literal case of Fridge Logic.
    • I think everybody is overlooking the fact that this was a 1950's era refrigerator. That means the door actually latched closed when shut as opposed to the magnetic seal used in today's refers. The reason manufacturers switched over to magnetic door seals was because throughout the 50's and 60's, little kids were dying in droves when they would crawl into an abandoned refer (say ... to hide in a game of Hide and Seek) and would suffocate because there IS NO WAY TO OPEN THE DOOR FROM THE INSIDE. As a adult male, Indy wouldn't have enough room inside to be able kick the door open.
      • Maybe I'm missing something, but I assumed that's what was being referred to when someone calls fridges "deathtraps" when Indy is telling what happened. My other assumption: all that tumbling and possibly some help from the initial explosion helped to weaken or break the lock.
    • Indy drank from the Holy Grail, giving him superhuman endurance, obviously.
      • His father drank from the Grail too, yet that doesn't seem to have prevented Henry Sr. from passing away between films. The implication is that, whatever effect the Grail had on either man, it was temporary.
      • Or it could be one drink from the Grail gives you one extra "life." Jones Sr. used his to survive the shot from Donovan, Indy used his here. Presumably he'll just live a normal life from now on. Or as normal a life as Indiana Jones can get.
      • The "extra life" explanation seems to work best. Honestly I was bothered far more by Henry Sr. dying of old age when the Grail seemingly should've extended his lifespan than by the whole fridge thing.
      • Except which is more likely: that Indiana Jones can survive being flung a considerable distance inside a refrigerator without the need for an "extra life", or that Indiana Jones could have made it through all of World War II without using up a bonus life he'd acquired shortly before his military service?
      • As for the Grail immortality, the knight said "the Grail cannot pass beyond the Great Seal, for that is the boundry, and the price, of immortality." That suggests that the immortality only works within the temple with its effects ceasing upon crossing the Great Seal, which was the entrance. It was the whole reason why the Grail Knight couldn't leave. When Elsa crossed the Seal with the Grail, the whole place fell apart. Indy and Henry had to cross the Seal in order to escape, so they lost their immortality, hence why Henry later died of old age.
    • Ok, two things. First, the entire movie is meant to be an homage to 50s sci-fi films, just as the 1st three were an homage to 30s and 40s adventure serials. So, yeah, he survived an atomic explosion by riding in a refrigerator. Second, this is a universe where, if enough people believe it, it's true. It is shown that there are physical proof that Christian, Jewish and Hindu beliefs have basis in reality. Some of those beliefs contradict each other. But since enough people believe it, it's true. Now, in the 50s, people were taught to "duck and cover" during a nuclear explosion. This is essentially the same thing. You'd probably also find people surviving a plane crash as long as they have their tray table up and their seat in the full upright position.
      • About time someone points this out. If this breaks your Willing Suspension of Disbelief, then ask me this: How on earth is the scene in Temple of Doom even remotely plausible? I actually laughed at it the same way I laughed at the nuking the fridge moment...Indy is clearly Made of Iron if he can jump out of a plane using only an inflatable raft to slow his fall (Which doesn't even work that much), lands on a rock-hard cliff, slides down the snownote , then falls off a really high cliff, lands into some Soft Water and he just walks out. I'm sorry, if you're applying real-life physics to a setting where peoples' faces get melted off from opening ancient artifacts, there is no way that scene should be given a free pass while the Nuking the Fridge is held up as an example that the directors didn't bother with research. (Which is quite surprising, seeing as this myth was covered by MythBusters.)
      • I can believe a life raft can act like a parachute (which Mythbusters showed it actually can, just not quite as shown) and land on a mountain, then fall off a cliff and land in a river. It's a stretch, sure, but that's nothing compared to having your main character survive a nuclear bomb by jumping in a refrigerator, then saying he survived because the fridge had a lead lining (which, if you know anything about refrigerators, serves literally NO purpose, military, civilian or otherwise, least of all being that lead is a horrendous insulator).

        To sum up, jumping out a plane using an inflateable raft doesn't take much stretch of the imagination. Jumping into a fridge and surviving a nuclear bomb, however, does.
      • Jumping out of a plane using an inflatable raft doesn't stretch the imagination... but I'll tell you what does: the fall off the mountain. Having done something like this myself, what on earth is that raft made out of? Indy, Willie, and Shorty should have fallen right through the bottom. (Simple physics, really.) That's assuming the raft didn't pop like inflatable rafts tend to do when subject to those kinds of stress.
      • Indy's done other odd stuff: I mean, the truck scene in Raiders. It's a good thing that Indy's clothes are indestructible - who else could survive being dragged behind a truck going around 35+ mph with only one or two layers of clothing separating his genitals from being dragged along the ground, have absolutely no friction burns or infection to show for it, and no clothing damage? This troper was in the ER once and they rushed in someone who slipped off of a truck, grabbed on to something, and was dragged along a dirt road for a good sixty feet. Let me tell you this: It was not pretty. He got a friction burn from hell, got infected, and the only reason it wasn't worse was that it was only his legs - if he did it like Indy, that guy would be dead of infection and would have been unable to conceive Mutt unless Marion was pregnant before Indy friction burned his balls into oblivion on a dirt road - which would mean that Mutt has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
      • To me, the big difference between, say, the raft falling scene, and nuking the fridge goes beyond the logic, to the actual visual presentation. While the “surviving a fall in a raft” trick may not work in real life, you clearly see it work on screen – Indy and crew get into a raft, the raft slows their fall but they stay upright, they hit the ground at an angle and speed that visually looks painful but survivable, and the raft zooms down the mountain like it was purpose built for the task. Everything we see looks fine so even though we know it is implausible at best we suspend our disbelief. With the fridge, we see Indy cram himself into this hard metal fridge. We see the fridge doesn’t get destroyed so we know the blast didn’t actually touch him. But we also see the fridge gets hit by an overwhelming shock wave so incredibly powerful it throws the fridge high into the air and far away from the blast site, then smashes quite violently into the ground. Though the movie is telling us the fridge protected him from the heat and radiation, we know the fridge isn’t padded so we can clearly see there is nothing protecting Indy from the incredibly violent physical forces we’ve just seen, and a man who gets violently blasted such an incredible distance is clearly very severely wounded or dead. So when he walks out of the fridge almost unharmed, it doesn’t match what we just saw and seems cartoony, as if he’d walked away from an anvil being dropped on his head.
    • This troper can remember an incident that may well have been the inspiration for it:- The destruction of Almeida. All the ammunition in the town's garrison goes up at once, shockwave levels most of the town. One soldier survives by diving into a baker's oven. Probably more sensible than a refrigerator - they were huge brick monstrosities built to be mostly heatproof. It wouldn't have protected the soldier from radiation, for which reason he was most likely very grateful this was back in Napoleonic times. I suppose the incident just got... exaggerated somewhat.
      • If Indy was supposed to have died, then lemme introduce you to a lot of people who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including one person who survived both. I mean heck...people survived a volcanic eruption by diving under a bench.
      • Those really don't compare, since Indy was shown to practically be at ground zero, while the people who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not. Further, Fat Man (21kt) and Little Boy (16kt) were both of lower yield than most bombs tested in Civil Defense operations (usually around 30kt).
      • Phone call for you: It's Barefoot Gen. The author was actually very close to Ground Zero and he was saved by a brick wall.
      • Actually, there were people who were VERY close to ground zero of either bomb, and survived the blast (albeit a good chunk of them died later from radiation poisoning or infection). Remember, the bomb detonated on the reverse side of a hill compared to the town. Second, he was atleast a couple miles from GZ, which allowed the blast wave to dissipate some. Third, he had the house AND fridge between him in and the blast. That said, how he survived being flung is anyones guess (people have survived plane crashes without a scratch when the plane itself became confetti), but I wouldn't say he's -completely- without a scratch. Bruises actually take time to become visible, and Indy does stagger some before he gets up. We also don't know how the amount of time before he was picked up (a day or two at most though), or how long before he was no longer 'hot' and could be approached for questioning. Needless to say, that by the time the FBI started talking to him, most of the bruises would be gone, and by the time he returned to his office, any of his injuries may have healed to a point where he can go about his life. Also, as had been reiterated a dozen times by now, Indy was effectively practicing 'duck and cover' like what most people were told to do in the event of a nuclear blast. Obviously against modern nukes (like the ones that tip the Trident II missiles) this practice would be woefully ineffective, but at the time, it was thought to be a sound idea.
      • Here's Operation Cue (1955), which used a 30 kt bomb (the W88 tip on Tident II is 475 kt for reference, while the W76 is 100; the Trident can also carry up to four W88, or eight W76) and spaced most of the buildings around a mile from ground zero. Now, let's actually look at the actual scene in the movie. Now, that's a pretty massive blast, when compared to Cue, so it must be considerably larger than 30 kt, probably in the megaton (hydrogen) range, and assuming ground zero is a mile from the town, that's considerable destruction. Let's also compare the terrain. The land around the town is rather flat and the bomb tower is situated on a small hill, which allows the blast to spread out unopposed, unlike Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Now, there's also the fact the 'entire' town is completely destroyed, plus a car driving away from it at top speed, yet a single fridge is thrown several miles away, practically unharmed aside from charring. If an entire town gets destroyed, including the building he's in, there's nothing that can dissipate the blast, so his fridge would get the just as much of the blast as the everything else. There is no way it could survive that blast.

        Duck and Cover was intended for an indirect strike, and would protect from flying glass and debris (it also works for earthquakes). It would not protect from a direct hit, nor was it ever touted as such.
    • Always seemed more a Refuge in Audacity (with a bit of Rule of Funny) rather than Rule of Cool. There's a nuclear bomb going off close enough to vaporize the (admittedly cheap) town, there was fresh food in the fridge (if they'd cheaped out on building the town food would've gone first except in one or two test refrigerators), and the shock wave shredded the car that the Russians were escaping in yet propelled Indy's refrigerator for a quarter mile before he lands and the door falls open, revealing a bruised Indy to a very startled prairie dog. How could that be anything but an intentional play for laughs?
      • There's a theory on the WMG page (I think) that addresses this. In the Indiana Jones universe All Myths Are True, which explains why the alien in Area 51 looked like the classic grey-skinned alien that came before the Little Green Men, and why the plots of all the movies thus far are even possible to complete. In the public consciousness of the time, an atom bomb was MUCH less potent than we know today. They believed things like "Duck and Cover" would save people's lives in the event of a detonation, so therefore, encasing yourself in lead - like inside a fridge - would end with Indy falling out safely.
      • Nuclear weapons today are, on average, not much higher yield than bombs built and tested in the 1950s.
    • Not to mention that back then nukes (if indeed the bomb was a nuke, and not a much weaker atomic bomb) were MUCH weaker than they are now, and refrigerators were much sturdier, It's not uncommon for 1950's era iceboxes to run perfectly fine even today and people even collect them as they would cars. Futhermore it's a friggin' movie in a series that is pretty much built upon Ruins for Ruins' Sake, Durable Deathtraps, and All Myths Are True.
      • "Atomic Bomb" is simply an outdated, technically incorrect term for a nuclear bomb. In the 1950's, anyone except a nuclear physicist (and maybe even them) would freely use the term "A-Bomb" to refer to a nuke.
      • Furthermore, the thermonuclear weapons built in the 1950's were actually much more powerful than the ones currently in our arsenal. The higher yield was used to compensate for a much less precise guidance system (ensuring the target's destruction at the range you can guarantee hitting within).
      • Not exactly. Modern nuclear weapons tend to have a higher yield than bombs made back then.
      • No. Nuclear bombs were not 'weaker' than they are today. The blast of even a low yield nuclear bomb is enough to destroy pretty much anything in its blast radius.

        A refrigerator, no matter how sturdy, will not withstand even a hand grenade, much less a nuclear bomb. Running after fifty+ years is no indication of survivability in an explosion. Anything can still run if it isn't abused or neglected. Lead lining is not only not a thing, it would serve no purpose in a refrigerator, especially since lead is a horrible insulator.
    • But lead are commonly used for radiation shielding, which is better than other material such as wood.
    • The refrigerator survived the explosion because the script said it would. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg wanted to parody the old idea that hiding in one would protect you from a nuclear blast. It's just one more badass thing Indiana lived through, albeit one requiring more Suspension of Disbelief.
  • It is nearly impossible that he wouldn't have gotten broken bones from the landing, and horrible burns from watching the mushroom cloud, but the movie does take place over a fairly short period of time. He may have ended up with cancer, who knows.

  • If the box is highly magnetic, and can make gunpowder fly, how come everything else in the warehouse that's metallic isn't all stuck to it?
    • It's blocked by the special anti-magnetic wood the crates are made of.
    • Also, gunpowder is, well, powder. It's really light. Everything else metal in the room was much heavier, and thus wouldn't be pulled as easily.
      • Alright, then why didn't the bullets fired get suddenly magnetized towards it? Or the guns for that matter?
      • The guns did get magnetized towards it when they were closer. As for the bullets, they're moving, and we never see them after they hit their targets.
      • Why did it not go straight for the crate? It makes no sense that it would float up and then suddenly turn to go toward the crate.voiding solid objects, too, as though it was made smart and tried to go toward it, instead of direct attraction.
      • It was following the path of least resistance. The boxes between the starting point and the crystal skull were dampening the magnetic field, and thus the powder would go along the best path.
    • It's at least implied that the skull is sentient, even when detached from its body. So it's possible that the skull chose to direct magnetic forces at some things and not others.

  • There was a scene when Indy was put on university leave after the FBI searched the college. There, the dean talks about the horrors of McCarthyism, saying stuff like "...I hardly recognize this country anymore. The government has got us seeing communists in our soup." In most Cold War milieux, that would be justifiable. But in this universe, the Soviets murdered dozens of Americans on American soil. Isn't the dean's response a bit... dumb? (And if something like that did happen, I will guarantee that Moscow would be a glass slag pit in a day.)
    • Wait, what? When did that happen? Unless you're talking about the Area 51 events, which the American government would quickly and violently move to suppress.
    • God, yes. Emphasizing the Communist threat is one thing. Revealing that Soviet special forces are roaming the Midwest, murdering American soldiers and breaking into ultra-secret US government facilities is quite another.
    • Two words: Mnogo Nukes. Three more: Perceived "bomber gap".
    • Think of it this way: the FBI is effectively ruining the career of a legitimate American hero over a very weak suspicion, while completely missing the obvious KGB agents rampaging through the United States. It can be seen as an indictment of the paranoia of Mc Carthyism (which did ruin innocent peoples lives) blinding the authorities to a legitimate threat: they've become so focused on looking for traitors in the ranks, they're completely missing the actual Dirty Commies!

  • Regarding the whole Area 51 attack, am I the only one who finds the Russians' ability to get in so easily to be much more bothersome than the various scientifically inaccurate scenes in the movie? Seriously, at no military facility, let alone a top secret one, would the entire guard post step out to confront an approaching convoy. There should've been at least one guard still inside the post to sound the alarm when the Russians opened fire.

  • The Jones crew has a jeep with a turret on it. As the villainess proved, the turret was fully loaded and able to fire. Why did Mutt waste time sword fighting her? Why not just shoot her?
    • Haven't you learned from the fridge scene? The movie runs off the freaking Rule of Cool.
    • Who would guarantee Mutt could shoot properly while the vehicle was moving fast, he was trying to keep hold of a bag, and a crazy lady with a sword was after him?
      • He managed to fight pretty well with a sword under those conditions. Is a gun that much harder to use?
      • There is no indication that Mutt even knew how to use a gun, much less military hardware. Also, Spalko was coming for them right then, he didn't have time to man it. So instead of wasting time by trying to figure out a weapon he had never seen and knew nothing about, he decided to fight with a weapon he'd spent time formally training with, and was apparently pretty damn good with as well. Seems like a smart move to me.
      • Note as well that turrets aren't built like a weapon you carry. There's no real trigger (it's more of a button usually). And since they're bigger and more powerful, they have a stronger recoil; the mount helps but it's still going to throw your aim off if you're not trained to shoot it properly.
      • Is a gun that much harder to use? Not specifically. Quite the opposite, guns are much easier to learn to use effectively than swords. But the skills are also completely unrelated. Mutt is a trained fencer, so if he's never used a gun before it makes perfect sense that he'd be more comfortable wielding a sword.
    • It's not a turret, it's a machine gun on a pintle (specifically, it's an M1919A6 with the stock removed and mocked up like a KPV, and rather poorly at that).
    • Isn't there a chance he could have hit Ox with the gun?

  • How did the Conquistadores get the skull in the first place? There are Conquistadore bodies at the bottom of the entrance to the alien temple, but they couldn't just walk in and rip the skull off one of the skeletons, could they? Was the skull always lost somewhere in the temple, and the super hive mind aliens just couldn't get up and get it?

  • In fact, how did the Conquistadores get into the temple? If they opened it using the mechanism of the golden key, how did the natives reset it later?
    • And how, furthermore, did the baddies get into the temple after Indy and his crew had already done that whole 'golden key' bit?
      • One of the Russians has a length of rope on him when they and Spalko are at the waterfall. Presumably they used that to get down.
  • Why, at the end of the movie, did Indy not only get his job back, but get made Assistant Dean? That would require triumphant vindication, and/or some monumental discovery, yet it didn't seem that his group ended up with any evidence whatsoever of what happened to them. What, did the FBI just take his word that he defeated the evil Communist threat and saved the world from Soviet mind domination?
    • Nobody ever saw Spalko again. That's good enough for them.
      • Indy probably delivered the alien corpse the Soviets stole back to the US government in exchange for silence and getting his job back.
      • Since Spalko is an intelligence agent, is it really surprising that no one saw her again? It's not like she's a world famous figure.
    • It's strongly implied that Indy has friends in the government, including the intelligence services. Some people are paranoid enough to see him as a possible communist spy, but that doesn't mean everyone is. Maybe some time after he left for South America, the CIA had a word with the FBI and got them to leave him alone. Or Eisenhower talked the McCarthyists into calling off the 'destroy his career' plan. Or something like that.
      • I would think he didn't want to be assistant dean. He probably would be happier just to have a professorship and give the Dean position back to the guy who stood up for him and resigned
    • Or maybe the exposé on McCarthy had been televised while Jones was in South America.
      • The expose was in 1954, Crystal Skull takes place in 1957. If anything there should have been no mention of McCarthy at all as he had long since fallen out of grace with the US government.
      • That ended McCarthy's role in spreading baseless anti-Communist paranoia. It doesn't mean the feds gave up on hunting spies when they had legitimate grounds to do so, and Indy's close association with a spy who did sell out the U.S. gave them cause to look into the matter. By the time he returned from South America, their investigation had concluded and had found no evidence of disloyalty, so the FBI backed off and the college let Indy's leave-of-absence lapse, then gave him the Assistant Dean position to make amends and fill the slot left when his friend resigned.
    • Same reason that Indy and Marion get married, and there's almost a Passing the Torch moment with Mutt: closure. Nuff said.

  • The plot of Crystal Skull reminds me heavily of the 1996 futuristic detective PC game The Pandora Directive. The whole Aztec/alien combo is just a little bit too unusual not to raise questions in the mind of this troper.

  • In the scene where they're being taken through the Amazon in the back of a van, Shia tosses Indy a knife to cut his ropes with. Indy works the Knife down to his hands and cuts the ropes. Then he looks at Shia who asks if he got the ropes cut. We hear a tearing sound and they both look at each other. Shia says "Oh shit," and then Indy proceeds to get up and cut the rest of them loose. This really confuses me. What was the tearing sound? What went wrong to prompt an "Oh shit?" It's followed directly by Indy getting up and cutting everyone loose with no problems.
    • IIRC, it was because something bad was about to happen outside the van, ie, it was nothing to do with the ropes. Indy was hurrying up to untie everyone else before the disaster happened. I can't remember what happened, though. I'll have to watch that scene again.
      • I've just seen that scene, and it still makes no sense. Maybe Indy cut his jacket by accident?
    • He did cut his jacket.... there are two problems with this joke however that make it confusing. 1.) Indy's jacket is leather, and it can't be cut through that easily with such a small knife like the one Mutt was using. 2.) Indy's jacket has no tears anywhere on it in any subsequent shots. Sure it's a minute detail, but you'd think Speilberg or Lucas would have caught on to that.
    • I think the tearing noise is the knife blade going through the back of Indy's shirt, i.e. up under his jacket; since he couldn't see how he was holding the knife and was unfamiliar with it, he had it backwards and opened it with the blade towards his body. The little wince Harrison Ford gives supports that Indy took a minor injury at that moment, something that was annoying and painful but not something that would slow him down or be noticed alongside all the other injuries he had already sustained (or was about to sustain in the rest of the story). It seems like the sound effect was made too loud because there was a concern that otherwise audiences would not realize what had just happened, and they overcompensated.

  • How come people are always quick to decry the Fridge Nuking scene, when in fact the scene before it made even less sense, where Indy escapes the Russians with the rocket powered prototype... jet... thing. What was the point of that device?! I have a theory that people were so weirded out by that scene that they don't even remember it and subconsciously blame the fridge nuke instead.

  • What did the Soviets need the alien corpse from the government warehouse for? They go through a great deal of trouble and risk, kidnapping Indy and assaulting U.S. military property, and there never seems to be a solid reason given for why they are doing this exactly.
    • Spalko mentions that, unlike the specimen the Soviets possessed, this one had a skeleton of pure crystal. They probably wanted it for research purposes. Maybe they even thought it could be used instead of the skull Indy found, only to learn that it wouldn't work, or just discarded it in favour of the right one once they had acquired it.

  • The most obvious and irritating one from Crystal Skull. If the aliens cared about knowledge, and spent millennia collecting so many artifacts, why did they fucking destroy everything when they left?
    • Notice how everything was sucked into the structure. They weren't destroying everything, they were taking it with them.

  • Going back to the Bomb Testing... the Bomb-Tower is located in the exact same mountain ridge and from the same vantage point that Indy first noticed the town from. Which makes you wonder why he didn't notice it?
    • Maybe he didn't realize what it was at first?
    • Failed a Spot Check. It's a real life occurrence.

  • There are mentions of Indy being an officer in the military and being earlier on classified missions abroad. Excuse me, but where did that all come from? In the preceding movies he was always clearly acting without any kind of sanction from the U.S. government. In the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles he did fight in the first World War, but just as a footsoldier.
    • During World War II. They say as much in the movie. The first three films all take place before the US officially joined the war. And no, in the preceding movies he wasn't always without any sanction from the US—remember that it's a pair of US Government officials that come to him in Raiders to set him on the task in the first place.
      • Fair point about the G-men in the first film. However, the timing is not what I was questioning. Indy has consistently shown strong dislike for government authorities. I suppose his experiences in the First World War goes a long way towards explaining that, and secreting away an important piece of human history like the Ark of the Covenant probably did not help any. Working directly under the military doing secret missions seems out of character.
      • I think it's safe to say that Indy hates the Nazis more than he dislikes his own government. And given his obvious abilities, particularly when it comes to acting against the Nazis, he wouldn't be someone the US Military would use on the front lines. They'd definitely want him for special missions.
      • Plus, you know, a lot of people who were otherwise opposed to war joined up to help the cause once the US was attacked. Indy may not be buddy-buddy with the government but that doesn't necessarily mean he was going to sit around on the sidelines during World War II.
    • A minor bit related to the above: How has he managed to gain an officer's rank? He never attended military academy, and six years of "battlefield" promotions in covert operations does not seem like it would be sufficient. Especially since a battlefield promotion from enlisted rank to commissioned officer is granted for displaying "outstanding leadership abilities".
      • Depending on your field of experience, one can directly commission as an officer at the beginning of period of service or complete Officer Candidate School. Indiana wouldn't start as a private once he's started.
      • Plenty of specialists in the military are given the rank of officer simply so they can give orders to underlings who assist them in their work, or have the pull to make their opinions heard when necessary. That's why the doctors on M*A*S*H all had the rank of captain or higher, even mavericks like Hawkeye who loathed being in the Army: they had to be able to tell ordinary base personnel what to do in a crisis, because they're the ones who know what's needed in a medical emergency.
      • Indy was a PhD. Then and today in most nations (US included) he would have been commissioned as an officer upon completion of basic training for having that level of education. Most nations require just a Bachelor's degree to be eligible for a commission. Becoming an officer does not require attending an academy. Another route is ROTC.
      • Four people went from Private all the way to full Colonel, Jimmy Stewart being one of them, and receiving a field commission was definitely not unheard of, such as Audie Murphy. Plus, he's a PhD, he wasn't going to be sent to enlisted basic, he was obviously put through officer's training.
    • What do you mean "without sanction"? In Raiders, the government asked him to either find the Ark or stop the Nazis from finding and using it first.

  • So...there's a recurring theme in Stephen Spielberg's films: there are no good fathers. They're either unreliable, distant, or completely absent. And now, Indiana Jones, one of the most enduring heroic creations in cinema, has become one of those fathers? Not deliberately, perhaps, but happened. A little discouraging.
    • Not really. He jumped right into trying to be a father to Mutt the instant he found out.
    • The main reason Indy was a "bad father" was he simply didn't know he was one - the instant he found out that Mutt was actually his own son, he flip-flopped and said "You are finishing school!"

  • Why is the snake so mellow about being used as a rope? Even if it's non-venomous, that doesn't mean a wild animal is going to be completely passive and let people practically yank its head off while being dragged out of the quicksand.
    • Yeah, the snake could be broken in half from the force of being pulled in two opposite directions I surmise and that would gross out Indy and cause him to panic even more. I would think that the best case was to use Marion as the rope.

  • Let's forget the fridge for a moment, this Troper felt the monkeys were even more ridiculous. How does Mutt go from being stuck in a tree to having an army of monkeys following him just to attack the Russians after Vine Swinging his way across the jungle?
    • Monkey see, monkey do.
    • It's an in-joke. Marion once referred to the monkey from Raiders as "our baby", and the ones Mutt (their real child) encounters are the same species.
    • That's often been cited as the second most ridiculous moment from this film

  • I can't stand the scene with Indy in the quicksand using a snake as a rope. He freaks out, and can't even bare to have it referred to as a snake. Did they forget that in Raiders he willingly went into a chamber full of venomous snakes without a single complaint? Even at the start of Raiders, in the airplane with his friend's pet snake, he handles it fine. We get no indication that he threw the snake out or anything. In fact, he never says he has a fear of snakes, just that he hates them. That little piece of exposition was only included to make the later Well Of Souls scene (the aforementioned snake pit) more intense for the audience. Cut the twenty second snake bit in the plane, and the rest of Raiders still plays fine, Indy's character is no different. Yet, here we are in Crystal Skull, with his life depending on grabbing the calmest, non-venomous snake, and he's almost crying. I know we saw his traumatic experience falling into a snake vat in Last Crusade, but as I said earlier, he seemed pretty fine by the time of Raiders. Did his phobia get better over time, then worse? I feel like the writers never sat down to give a close look at the preceding films, relying instead on their vague memories.
    • As far as the "I hate snakes" line goes, perhaps he worded it like that instead of "I'm afraid of snakes" because he didn't want to seem like a wimp.

  • Exactly how heavy is the Skull? It's made out of solid crystal and yet gets tossed around like it weighs nothing. In this same vein, it certainly sounds like it packs a whallop when Mutt uses it to (repeatedly!) clobber the soldier driving Spalko's car, but apparently Mother Russia Makes You Strong since the guy doesn't seem all that affected by it.
    • It's a sentient object that hails from outside regular time and space. It presumably weighs as much as it currently wants to.

  • Instead of his long-lost son, Mutt, wouldn't have made more sense if Indiana Jones was accompanied by an older Shortround? They spent alot more time together, and had a fairly close emotional connection (Indiana saving him from the cultists, him saving Indiana from Mola Ram's brainwashing). Even before meeting Indiana, Shortround had come from a childhood surviving the Japanese bombing of Shanghai and living as a under-aged taxi driver. Mutt, on the other hand, had never been shown engaging in a high stress situation before, yet he manages to swing through a jungle with a bunch of monkeys and evade a pursuing group of angry commies. This "suddenly had a full-grown son in-between movies" thing seems to be getting very overused.
    • Short Round was still The Scrappy for many, so they might not have wanted to see an older version of the character come back. It was really only after this film had some time to gel in public consciousness that people went back to Temple of Doom and found it did have some redeeming qualities.
  • So what was the point of breaking into area 51? The alien corpse here sort of never again figures into the movie at all. The skull they use is the one Oxley / Orellana found.
    • The Russians bring that corpse with them to South America. We see it briefly at the beginning of Indy's interrogation scene, when Spalko shows Indy that it has a crystal skeleton similar to that of the Akator aliens. She implies that the Roswell crash, and the several similar crashes in the USSR were alien races who were *also* trying to locate the Akator aliens.
    • Every Indy film has a prologue that ultimately just exists to get the real plot in motion. The idol scene in Raiders introduces Indy and Belloq, the nightclub scene in Temple introduces Willie and Shortround and provides the reason the trio gets stranded in India, the flashback in Last Crusade gives Indy some backstory and introduces his father, and the Area 51 scene in Crystal Skull establishes that it's now the 50s and Indy is not a young man anymore, introduces Spalko, and brings the idea of aliens into the Indy universe before diving completely into it when the Skull is revealed.
  • I just noticed that on Indy and Mutt's journey to Peru, we see them make a stop at Cuba. I'm not an expert on the state of the world in that time period, but could Americans have taken a plane ride to Cuba in the 1950s?
    • Yes. The travel restrictions didn't go into effect until the 60s.


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