Trains are in fact not a bad metaphor for the director's motivations for this fourth Indy effort, the first in 19 years. Just like a model-train hobbyist who enjoys getting more and more expensive equipment as his income level rises, Spielberg clearly got enormous pleasure employing a lifetime's worth of skill and turning out wave after wave of smartly done stunts and effects set pieces.
Certainly "Crystal Skull," which hits theaters in the U.S. this Thursday, couldn't have had a more eager, not to say rabid, audience anywhere in the world than the one at the Cannes Film Festival for its pair of Sunday screenings. The chaos at the press entrance was remarkable at the first screening, with frantic cinephiles pushing, shoving, attempting to jump over barriers and engaging in fierce shouting matches with the guards. And inside the normally decorous Grand Theatre Lumiere, where the festival's closing ceremony is held, there was unprecedented cheering as the opening credits rolled.
Getting sole screenplay credit (with story credit going to series originator George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson) was the veteran David Koepp, the latest and most successful of the close to a dozen people who took a crack at this project over 15 years, according to an article in the WGA's Written By magazine. The result may not be as iconic as "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but it's a perfectly agreeable outline on which to hang what, with a budget estimated at $185 million, must be the most expensive Saturday matinee film ever made.
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