Guess who's back?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 May, 2008, 12:00am

Indiana Jones is older and greyer - can he still wow the crowds and sell tickets?

The plot: Professor Jones (Harrison Ford), the adventurer-cum-archaeologist, returns to action after he meets a young renegade (Shia LaBeouf) who claims he can help locate one of the most spectacular archaeological myths in history - the legendary Crystal Skull of Akator.

The pair ventures into the remote corners of Peru and quickly realise they are not alone - agents from the Soviet Union also want to lay hands on the skull, which is said to have magical powers which could help them conquer the world.

The star: Onscreen action heroes aren't supposed to grow old - but the increasingly wrinkly Ford is showing his age.

But the 65-year-old star is irreplaceable as Jones. Ford was born to play Indiana Jones, just as his one-time onscreen father Sean Connery was born to be the coolest James Bond.

According to the film's director Steven Spielberg, 'Harrison is at home in the skin of Indiana Jones'; and the actor is the key factor in making the franchise successful.

Rather than trying to keep Jones young, he has been allowed to age gracefully. The new movie is set in 1957, 19 years after Jones' last adventure (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and therefore parallels the years between the films.

'He is certainly older, if not wiser,' says Ford.

Time will tell whether Ford's decision to reprise his classic adventurer role was a wise one.

The villain: Fresh from playing Elizabeth I in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Blanchett revels in the formidable role of a ruthless Soviet agent with a bob haircut and ace karate skills.

Proving she was the perfect pick for the part, Blanchett says: 'Everyone at my primary school wanted to kiss Harrison Ford, but I actually wanted to be Harrison Ford. I wanted to be Indiana Jones.'

At the helm: Who wouldn't want to be Spielberg? The blockbuster king is one of the richest and most powerful men in Hollywood, creating some of the best-known movie franchises - from Jaws to the Back to the Future series - that have defined the rules of commercial filmmaking.

Not everyone loves him, though. Jean-Luc Godard, a god of the French New Wave, once criticised Spielberg for making profits out of historical tragedies.

Some movie critics also find Spielberg's sentimentalism (see the final quarter of Schindler's List) cheap and unsophisticated.

Rumours about the Crystal Skull: A number of skulls made from blocks of quartz crystal found in South America are supposedly mystical object.

The most famous example was allegedly discovered in 1924 by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of a British adventurer and author, under a collapsed altar in the jungles of British Honduras (now Belize). She said whenever the skull was near her bed at night, she dreamed of Mayan Indians performing rituals.

Sounds like the premise of another Hollywood blockbuster.