Case Number 15238: Small Claims Court


Smithsonian Channel // 2008 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // December 15th, 2008

The Charge

"It's a mystery that's obsessed scientists, archaeologists, and believers for over a hundred years. Now, state of the art technology will finally reveal the secrets."

The Case

Deep in the bowels of the Smithsonian, experts have spent years trying to unravel the mystery of a crystal skull that was delivered to them anonymously in 1992. Similar skulls are in museums in London and Paris, and another is owned privately.

If genuine, a crystal skull could provide a link to the Mayan era. New Age followers say it could mean even more, foretelling of disasters or providing a link to ancient, perhaps even alien, wisdom.

With Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hitting DVD, the Smithsonian has released The Legend of the Crystal Skulls, a documentary look at the real crystal skulls and at "a real-life Indiana Jones," Frederic Mitchell-Hedges. The Skull of Doom, which he reputedly brought back from his explorations at Lubaantun, a Mayan site in Central America, is the stuff of myth in the New Age community.

Using the movie and a test of the Skull of Doom as hooks, Legend of the Crystal Skulls provides the typical mix of re-enactments, talking heads, and clips to tell its story. It's interesting, covering Mayan legend, Mitchell-Hedges' explorations, the New Age scene and the crystal skull's impact on it, and the process of analyzing the skulls.

The picture's nice and crisp, even if you don't have HDTV. The sound's also good, with music that mimics the majesty of an Indiana Jones score.

Legend of the Crystal Skulls is short, though, at 46 minutes. Worse yet, that stuff under "More" on the menu, which I thought might be extras, is only trailers for other programs from Smithsonian Channel HD, which I don't even get. Couldn't they have put in a sample, at least?

I didn't hate Legend of the Crystal Skulls, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it. Best to wait for it on remainders or rent it if you're interested.

Guilty of not providing much for the money.

Review content copyright © 2008 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 78

Perp Profile
Studio: Smithsonian Channel
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English

Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb