With the latest Indiana Jones movie being released on DVD and Bluray, I thought it might be useful to have a place to discuss the film and what should be cut, trimmed, changed, etc for possible fan edits of the movie. This could be a source to plunder for ideas and inspiration when editing Crystal Skull.
While the film was consitent in theme and tone with the previous instalments, and was an enjoyable enough ride, simultaneously, the trimming of excesses and a few other nip tucks here and there could raise this film from being a slightly-above-average-adventure-yarn, to being another great Indy movie.
Below is a list which best represents the various ideas and suggestions put forward by those who have contributed on this thread. It will continue to be updated as new ideas are put forward.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Fan Edit Suggestions – Definitive List
1.) Aside from the CG Gopher/Prairie Dog which opens the movie, the other two scenes in which they feature should be cut/trimmed to remove the creatures from the film.
When Indy and the Russian Heavy ride on the rocket sled, there is a scene of the critters following the sled's movement which could be removed entirely, and when Indy raises from the ground after rolling out of the fridge, there is a quick shot of a gopher/prairie dog which could be trimmed/edited out or else have the critter digitally removed from the shot.
2.) The gopher at the start of the movie, just before it scampers from its mound, makes a cheesy, comic, kiddy noise which could be removed.
3.) This small scene could also be trimmed/quickened.
So that the paramount logo fades to the mound, the gopher is revealed and then it very quickly scampers away without the sound effect, as opposed to it glancing around first.
4.) When the Russians shoot the Area 51 guards, there is a muzzle-flash (that is, the visual flash that appears at the gun snout when it is being fired) missing, which should be added back in.
When the big Russian guy bends down to tie his shoe, the Russian soldier on screen right, who is standing up, at this point is clearly firing his gun and yet there is no visual flash to indicate this.
5.) There is a continuity error with Mac's arms when Indy and he are first revealed.
Before Indy tells the big Russian to 'drop dead', Mac's arms are down by his side. Yet, as the Russian punches Indy, it cuts to a far-away perspective shot in which Mac's arms are miraculously raised again, seemingly at lightning, in-human speed. Immediately after this shot, his arms are lowered. So, editing Mac's arms to be down by his side is required during the far-away perspective shot of Indy being punched by the big Russian.
6.) Spalko’s mind-reading and telekinetically opening the warehouse door should be cut.
While her interest in the paranormal is developed in the film, her psychic abilities are never developed beyond her first scene, so this could be cut. Have her shout: 'dabi' or whatever it is in Russian, and raise her hand, but then cut to the interior shot of the warehouse with the door opening, and omit the sparks flying out of the control box.
7.) Gun-powder segment could be minimally trimmed to move things along a bit faster.
There is only one foreseeable cut that I can find that would quicken the pace. After Indy climbs up on the boxes to throw the gunpowder for the first time (with Spalko saying 'don't toy with me, Dr. Jones, what is the point of all this?'), in the next scene there is a close-up of Russian soldiers pouring their grenade-powder into a helmet for Indy. After this close-up, there is a panning-down shot of Indy and the guards walking. This is the shot that could be shortened, so that instead of panning-down to watch them walk the full length from a corner to the point where Indy throws the gun-powder, the scene of them walking is cut into where they're halfway across the floor, or even three quarters of the way across the floor.
8.) Cut the ‘Damn, thought that was closer line’ ONLY if a suitable Indy-Expression can be substituted in its place.
I don't think any cut could be done of the line, based on what we have in the film. It would require digital tinkering to get Indy to spare a glance/change Indy's face/head movement to create the classic Indy-look of 'Oh, greaaaat...’. This edit is not a high priority.
9.) The style of the Countdown Timer during the activation of the Rocket Sled sequence should be changed. Also change/alter the Countdown Sound Effect – the ‘beep’ is too sci-fi/un-Indy.
During the warehouse action scene, Indy falls down with the big Russian into the rocket sled hangar, and at some point during this set piece a timer is activated for the Rocket Sled. The timer itself is composed of red LED numbers which jar considerably with the period setting of the film, and also with the imagery of all the Indy films in general. Am I not right in saying that such a display wouldn't even have been available at this time, in 1957?
This display should be changed from to
The black-and-white numbers on rotating plates is far more in line with the technology which would have been available at that point, and would look more Indiana Jones-y as well.
And, if the timer’s visual display is to be changed to rotating plates instead of a digital display, the electronic ‘beep’ could either be replaced entirely with a more ‘click’ like sound effect, or else add a ‘click’ sound over the ‘beep’ sound.
10.) Cut Indy yelling ‘Oh, sure, don’t wait for me!’ at Russians’ car (ONLY if feasible and ONLY if it wouldn’t cause continuity error).
This would require clever editing to make it work seamlessly and without continuity error. We could have Indy running to the pavement as the car drives away past him, with him shouting 'wait, wait, wait!', but we couldn't have him run out onto the road as it would be impossible to cut the line from the scene due to his facial and body movements. Instead, we would have to cut from him at the pavement, after yelling 'wait, wait, wait!', to about halfway through the scene after he yells 'sure, great, don't wait for me!' on the road (the far-away perspective scene of Indy running into the house; the reason I say we would have to cut from Indy-at-the-pavement to halfway through this scene is because this scene has Indy running from the road, to the pavement, to the house. We would have to have Indy just running from the pavement to the house in this scene).
11.) The fridge scene should NOT be cut entirely, but it could be trimmed.
1. Indy hides in the fridge.
2 The nuclear bomb hits the site, and we see the destruction ensue.
3. We see the shockwave engulf the Russian's car, but all sight of the flying fridge is removed at this point.
4. After this, we then see the flying fridge, but the scene is darkened/hazy, with camera shake(s), and shortened, so we get a hectic glimpse of Indy's flight in the fridge.
5. Part 4 could end with a flash of white, and then we cut to the fridge door opening and Indy slumping out onto the hill, before walking up to gaze at the mushroom cloud (an iconic scene, in my opinion). Notice that shots of the fridge landing and rolling down the hill are cut here.
12.) When Indy hides in the fridge, there is a box to the top right inside the fridge (that's screen top-right inside the fridge). But when Indy emerges from the fridge after the blast, the box is gone. This should be fixed.
13.) Replace photos of Marcus and Henry Sr. on Indy’s desk with more natural photos.
The photos in KOTCS are obviously screen caps from the previous film. If more natural shots of Marcus and Indy's dad existed, it would be good if they could be inserted here. I've been told that there is a quick shot of a digitally-created photo with Sean Connery and River Phoenix as a young Indy. This seems to be a more natural photo of Indy's dad which could possibly replace the mug shot of Connery, prominent on the desk. Another possibility is a picture of a younger Connery and the kid from the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Photoshop could be used to create such digitally created photos for this purpose.
14.) When Indy and Mutt go to Peru, after Indy talks with the locals, Indy and Mutt start walking down the street, and Mutt puts his hands in his pocket. As Mutt says 'where did you learn that one', he takes his screen right hand out of his pocket, only to put it back in again. It looks awkward and is very distracting, and should be edited so that Mutt's hand remains in his pocket.
15.) In the establishing shot of the cemetery, the Nazca Lines should be made more prominent/clear.
16.) In the cemetery scene, when Indy blows the dart back down the tube and into the attacker's mouth, the attacker dies in a childish way, complete with comic 'oooh!' noise which manages to escape his mouth before he dies. This quick scene should have that sound effect edited out, and be even quicker/more brief.
17.) Also in the cemetery scene, Indy pulls his gun out on one of the attackers who is fighting with Mutt. Mutt and the attacker should be digitally re-arranged, so that when Indy draws his gun, he should fire to hit the attacker, but miss, and the attacker, seeing and hearing the gun shot, then runs off.
The nozzle flash and gunshot sound effect should be added to Indy's gun here. Indy doesn't once shoot his gun in the movie (a first for an Indy film) and it'd be good to see him fire a shot off.
18.) Carefully trim Indy’s head spasms.
I can't think of how they could be cut without it being messy and causing continuity problems - Mac tells Spalko to stop, and Spalko does indeed stop, because of these head spasms, so it would interfere with plot and character motive if this was cut entirely. However, slight and careful trimming may be called for here.
19.) Carefully trim Ox’s dancing when he is first introduced.
This is very brief, so again would require careful editing if it was to work, and be smooth.
20.) Possibly trim Indy and Marion’s reunion.
Cut right after Indy says "Why, are you looking for a date?" directly to Spalko's "So Dr. Jones, you'll help us." This also gives Indy the last word in the argument. Also in the same sequence, cut Indy's "Same old, same old".
21.) During the Sand Pit sequence. Indy says 'Oxley, for God's sake man, don't just stand there, go get help!'. the 'go get' should be omitted from Indy's statement so that Indy says 'Oxley, for God's sake man, don't just stand there, help!'.
It would be a much better pay off when Oxley appears with the Russians and says 'help!', to which Indy replies 'yeah, great Ox, help...'. It would make this scene work and make it much funnier than it currently is, as the Russians are the only ones whom Oxley could go to for help, so his actions are understandable and Indy seems like an idiot in the present condition of this scene.
22.) The trouser-rip in the truck, after Mutt throws the knife to Indy, should be removed.
23.) When Mutt finds the sword in the jeep, after Mutt opens the case, it should cut to him going straight for the sword's handle as opposed to its blade.
Just before his fight with Spalko, when he goes to grab the sword from its case, he goes for the blade first, stops and then goes for the handle. This seems like a mistake from LeBouf though as opposed to something intended, as it's not funny and looks quite clumsy and strange for someone like Mutt, who is a good fencer and also good with his small switch-blade, to do.
24.) When Mutt is fencing with Spalko, the bushes-hitting-the-crotch gag should be either trimmed extensively (it could happen once, the first time, but the other time, when there is a series of frames consisting of nothing but Mutt getting hit in the crotch, should be cut) or removed completely.
25.) There is a gun nozzle flash missing in the Jungle Chase sequence which should be added; when Spalko fires at the jeep when Marion, Mutt and Indy are in it.
After she fires at the jeep’s window, the scene cuts back to her and it is during this scene that the gun sound effect continues but the nozzle flash is missing.
26.) The whole sequence of Mutt swinging through the trees on vines should be trimmed considerably.
1. When Mutt is caught up by the vine during the chase, only him looking at the one real monkey should remain. The pan back to show the CG monkeys swinging about higher should be cut.
2. Ideally, a close up of Mutt after he looks at the real monkey could be used to show dawning understanding, and the forming of a plan.
3. All shots of Mutt swinging with the monkeys through the tree should be cut.
4. Mutt emerging from the trees swinging on a vine should be kept, to get him back to the action and finish off the sequence.
5. The scene afterwards with the monkeys attacking Spalko and her soldiers in the jeep should be trimmed considerably/cut.
27.) Make the fight between Indy and the Russian Heavy (during the Ant sequence) a little more rough by adding some blood and spit splatters, some blood dripping out of Indy's mouth when he's on the ground and maybe a head wound when he hits the Russian with the branch. Also, there may be other instances in the film where such additions could be added to push it more to the gritty side.
28.) When Marion drives in the jeep towards the cliff with Mutt, and he says 'mum, there's a cliff!' and she turns but looks down and then smiles, presumably because she spots the branch which she drives onto later to take her down to the water, it would be more effective if an artificial pan-and-zoom was added towards the branch in the quick scene where Marion looks over the cliff from the jeep, to make her drive off the cliff later more pre-determined and planned, as opposed to random.
29.) Combine the three waterfalls into one big waterfall/drop.
Wouldn't have to cut Ox's 'three times it falls' (which would have been an editing nightmare I'd imagine!) as they still technically drop three times! We would still have to have a little break between each drop, as they can't be totally glued together for continuity reasons. But these breaks between each drop could be trimmed considerably, so it would be drop-little catch of breath-drop-tiny pause-drop, making the pacing much tighter and giving the scene much more danger and spontaneity.
30.) Cut Marion clutching the steering wheel after the waterfall drops ONLY if this can be done without causing continuity error.
After Mutt says 'the golden vision reappears! We've got to go through the waterfall!’ it cuts to Indy holding the steering wheel and then dropping the steering wheel (as he grabs it from Marion). If we cut Marion clutching the wheel, either the steering wheel would have to be digitally removed or the shot of Indy approaching Mutt and Ox be carefully trimmed.
31.) Increase the tension of the water-steps (after the sand-tower puzzle), and don't show the water 2 feet below them just before the fall.
32.) The sequence of the thirteen skeletons merging and turning into a horrible CG alien should be cut entirely.
There should be no showing of the alien, as it just felt like overkill, too much. Instead, only the skeletons bearing down on Spalko as she is overcome by their knowledge should be shown.
33.) Add Temple of Doom ‘Death Trap’ music to water-gears/water coming towards Indy et al during the film’s finale. Also, trim the sequence when the water reaches the gang to cut out redundant frames.
34.) The UFO scene SHOULD BE KEPT.
Indy juxtaposed with something so other-worldly and sci-fi was very iconic. Plus, with the CG alien removed, it presents a nice pay-off at the film's finale.
35.) Colour correct film to better match the original three.
36.) Change the title-card of the film.
Instead of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull', other possibilities include 'Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull', 'Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods', or similarily 'Indiana Jones and the City of Gods' (without the 'the').
*** Addtional Changes ***
1.) Cut Indy's head spasms - they look funny and awkward.
We can see the close up when we KNOW something is going bad. Then we use the zoom-in-on-the-skull or the same close up of Indy (maybe even closer this time) while Mac and Spalko's dialog plays - saying 'shut it off, cover it up' etc. It works better NOT seeing Indy's reaction in the end.
2.) We should see the fridge come to rest, but not all the bouncing and flipping.
3.) Extend the scene (loop or slow speed) BEFORE the fridge door drops open?
A few more seconds would establish he's pretty beat up.
5.) Cut Ox's dancing and twirling of the stick.
First Spalko will tell Dovchenko to go get him. Then we see him being dragged into the tent. Then we cut to Ox's dialog.
6.) Cut Indy's "Yes, good" to Spalko when they are looking at the map.
She gets a clue right, but he shouldn't congratulate the biatch!
7.) At the sand pit, in addition to having Indy not say "go get help", but "help" instead, we should have the Russians appear with Mac. Mac's dialog, then Indy saying "Good work, Ox" then cut. Ox doesn't have to say "help".
8.) The branch hitting Marion is AWKWARD and its unclear why its even there in the first place. Cut.
9.) Cut the first grunt we hear when Indy misses the truck on his whip swing in the warehouse. The first one's a bit much, second one just right.
10.) Cut the "Woa!" in Doom Town when Indy sees its dummies on the couch. His look says it all.
11.) Completely edit out Marion holding on to the steering wheel, or at least come in later to the scene.
12.) Omit the second time Indy says 'treasue is knowledge'. Got it the first time.
13.) When the water is rushing at them as they are escaping the temple in the end, we should make it all much more immediate, not only make it seem as though the water was on their heels (cut them waiting and staring at it) but also make the ascent much more rapid.
See this thread for more information on this edit.
14.) Minor, but Ox's "Dad?" in the end in reaction to Mutt isn't really needed. Cut right to "somewhere your grandpa.."
15.) When Ox holds the sand that falls from the Obelisk, Indy looks at it like he has a plan. We can CUT Indy saying Ox you figured this out in your cell (and later when he says good work.) Let's just cut to him holding the stone over mac then busting the face.
17.) When Mac tries to stock up on loot in the end and Indy tries to save him, we should see Indy telling him to come on, and cut like the film does right after Indy goes for his whip, then we see the walls bursting, Indy falling down onto the steps and Mac flying out. Then indy herding his friends up the steps and out the door.
18.) The delivery of the lines 'Not as easy as it used to be' and 'Part time' sound much better in the trailers - they should be swapped over into the edit.
19.) Cut the gun powder segment/trim it down - so long as continuity is maintained.
20.) Near the end, just before the Crystal Skull natives climb out of the walls, Mutt grabs a torch and says "someone's been here". Cut this, as it spoils the surprise for the audience that someone is there, plus who would've used it? The natives hiding in the walls? Or Oxley who was last there weeks ago?
21.) Cut as many sequences possible of Indy asking others (Oxley mostly) what to do next. Indy should figure things out himself.
22.) When Spalko lands on the back of the duck while Marion's driving, they just stare at each other for a good 3 seconds. It just looks weird. Maybe a shorter cut?
It'd be great to hear others' opinions, suggestions, and takes on the film, to help with future, potential fan-edits of Crystal Skull, and create a definitive version which fans of the Indy franchise can be happy with.