Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Ultimate Edition (Johnsonverse)

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The Ultimate Edition of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released on May 22, 2018 theatrically by Johnson Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Lucasfilm Limited. It was released on home video on August 1 of that year by Johnson Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment. The film sees many significant changes, as Tim Johnson wanted to "restore that good old-fashioned Indy experience" the series was known for.

History

Johnson was unsatisfied with the film upon seeing it in the theater in 2008, and sought to re-edit the film when he became CEO of Johnson Industries and acquire Lucasfilm, blaming it on George Lucas' ideas such as the addition of aliens. Once he acquired the Walt Disney Company (now Walt Disney Productions) in July 2013, the Ultimate Edition project began on June 29, 2015 and was produced at the same time as the Ultimate Editions of Star Wars and Howard the Duck. Director Steven Spielberg was brought in to shoot many new scenes with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and other actors throughout 2017.

Changes

  • The reunion special vibe is gone.
  • Shia LaBeouf was brought in to redub every scene Mutt was in with Tim's writing or direction.
  • The Lucasfilm logo is updated to the 2015 version introduced in The Force Awakens.
  • The Paramount opening logo is changed to say "A Paramount Picture" like all the other films instead of "Paramount", though with a Viacom byline instead of a Gulf+Western byline, using the same font as the latter.
  • All CGI animals were either cut or replaced with real animals.
  • All alien elements are removed; the titular "Crystal Skull" is an artifact from a lost civilization that Indy needs to find. It also has a more mystical atmosphere.
  • The plot point of Indy being accused of helping the Soviets is expanded upon and is a major plot point.
  • Much of the dialogue is redubbed, with new lip flaps superimposed over the original actors' mouths.
  • The score was expanded with new themes composed by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • Irina Spalko is a much darker and more menacing villain. She also uses an RPD machine gun (a real-life weapon that Soviet troops would've used in 1957) instead of a sword.
  • All "paternity" scenes are cut.
  • Bad guys appear with context.
  • The giant ants are gone.
  • Mac is completely changed to not look like a Marcus Brody clone.
  • All nonsensical scenes are removed and/or changed, such as the Russians infiltrating the United States, because, as Tim explained, "it would've triggered World War III", Indy failing a whip-jump, Mac being a triple-agent, Mutt using a long snake to help Indy escape from a sand pit, and of course, the infamous "Nuke Fridge" scene.
  • Pancho Villa does NOT learn Marachi music in Peru, as it was popular in Mexico.
  • Sallah (John-Rhys Davies), Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), and an older Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) are digitally added to the wedding at the end. It is also less corny, and doesn't make Mutt look like he's going to be the new protagonist.
  • The map font, Century Gothic, is replaced with Futura for historical accuracy.

Release

Reception

The Ultimate Edition received universal acclaim for fixing everything that was hated about the film. Critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film "Two Thumbs Up" on Siskel & Ebert and even called it "the same caliber of the originals".