This could very well be my finest hour or my biggest fall.
As always I am not going to stray to far into fan fiction and try and stick as much as possible to the gist of what we saw on screen.
HOW KOTCS COULD HAVE WORKED:
1. Start with Dr Jones married and retired.
If you truly want to do a passing of the torch movie then this would have been the way to go. As much of an adventure junkie as Indy was I do think that his love for Marion would have been enough to have him settle down, especially after him serving in the Second World War. So in my version of the movie he would start as head of Archaeology at the University and bear more of a resemblance to his father, than the swashbuckler we know. Have his students make jokes about him never having left a classroom and finding it hard to believe that this old guy could ever have traveled the world.
The reason he comes out of retirement would be his son going off on an adventure and getting himself into trouble, but we will get to that.
2. Lose the extra characters.
One of the main problems with this film was glut of extra characters introduced that did nothing but take up screen-time. This could have been solved with a bit of streamlining and replacing. For starters John Hurts crazy mentor type could have been mentioned but never seen. I would have him as the person who recruits Indy’s son to go look for the Crystal Skulls. That way he could be killed off screen and giving Mutt something more to do, by virtue of being the one who knows where the skulls are. Secondly replace Ray Winston’s character with Sallah. Winstone served no purpose in this film and Sallah would be the natural choice for Indy to call on when coming out of retirement to save his son. Finally, as much as I love him Jim Broadbent served no real purpose ether, nether did the communist sub plot – so they can go as well.
3. A slight re-write.
I have no problem with the shift from pulp adventure to pulp sci-fi, I think it fits with the change of period. But with the changes listed above the plot would need a little tweaking.
As I suggested above a retired Dr Jones coming out of retirement to find his son would make for a more interesting movie. We have done the dysfunctional father/son dynamic before so I suggest that Mutt Jones worships his father so much that he wants to become him, hence jumping at the chance for adventure when offered it. Also there could be some added guilt by having Jones turn down the trip giving his son a way in.
I like the Russians, keep them in and their creepy leader but make her more defined. There were parts of the movie where we didn’t know if she was truly was psychic or if she was delusional. Go the whole hog, give her mental powers, it’s not like we haven’t seen stuff like that before in an Indy flick. Some of the action sequences needed a little bit of work, a sword fight in a set of ruins for example would have been great but on the back of a jeep was a leap of logic to far. The warehouse stuff was fine as well in fact that was my favorite bit in the movie and it could easily have stayed in with the reworked plot.
4. The Ending.
As we no longer have a wedding I suggest an ending that hints to further adventures to come. But in this case it would be the two Jones’ coming to an understanding that they could work together with the two of them now more or less equals. It might also be nice to suggest the next adventure in a throwaway line, something like “I always wondered what happened to Atlantis”, just a little tease that may or may not become the next movie.
Ok so there you have it. This was a hard one to write and I don’t pretend this is a definitive solution but working with what we have it just might have worked.