Skip to main content

Movie Opinion: Let's Talk About Indiana Jones Movies (Probably Spoilers)

I love the character of Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford. Recently I bought a DVD box set of all four Indiana Jones movies so I could finally have them in my film collection.

With Indiana Jones 5 ramping up production, and set to be released in 2021 (after being pushed back from 2020) it seems like a good time to look back at the previous four films.

I won't be reviewing each film. Chances are, if you're reading this, you've either seen them, or decided not to see them based upon the reviews when they were released. I just had some thoughts about each film for discussion.

General consensus is that Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Last Crusade (1989) are the best two of the series, followed by Temple of Doom (1984), and probably the least favorite, Kingdom of the Crystal skull (2008).

Raiders of the Lost Ark


As the first movie it's the most important of the series. People often say The Last Crusade is the better movie, and it is, but only if you've seen the first one. Raiders establishes everything about Indiana Jones as a character that gets carried through to all of the other films.

Even though it was made in 1981 it's still very watchable today. Largely because it's a period piece. It doesn't make any modern references that might date it. The special effects in the climax are a little dated compared to films of today but still compelling to watch the techniques used all the same.

There is a theory going around (that I first heard on the TV show The Big Bang Theory) that the movie would've had the same out come without Indiana Jones and that somehow this diminishes the events of the film.



I guess it depends on what you think the point of the movie is?

Sure Indy fails to secure the Ark but is that the point of the film? It can be argued that The Last Crusade and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull both would also have had the same outcome with their MacGuffins without Indy. In each case it would have just taken the people looking for them longer to get there.

The point of these movies is to follow Indy's adventures. Whatever the outcome, it's about the journey and the people. It's about action and escapism. It's about watching Indy solve puzzles and make discoveries whilst racing against people looking for the same thing. It's not about winning.

In fact Raiders sets up, right from the beginning, that Indy often finds the treasure but loses it to a competitor at the eleventh hour. That's part of what makes the character compelling. Despite being very capable, he doesn't always win in the end.

Temple of Doom


The first Indiana Jones movie I saw in a theatre. I remember liking it at the time but was aware that it didn't quite live up to the first movie.

These days people say that the film is somewhat racist with its cultural stereotypes. I was going to comment that I didn't think it was racist but then I read some articles on why it is, and I kind of agree. At the very least its stereotypes are culturally and gender insensitive.

Stereotypes exist for a reason and not all of them are offensive. Most have an underlying truth to them, and only seem to offend if they aren't positive stereotypes. Indiana Jones himself has become a stereotype that, in this day and age, is starting to become an issue for diversity in movie heroes (white male who is very capable and often gets the girl - you don't have to think to hard for how often you've seen that).

Temple of Doom does have several negative stereotypes; poor, defenceless Indian villagers, Indian Cult leaders and henchmen, Asian Gang members, and, of course, comedy relief, Short Round, and Willie Scott.

None of them are particularly offensive in and of themselves, it's only when you view them as a representative of their culture and/or gender that they really become an issue. None of the characters are out of place in what is essentially a film trying to emulate a B movie from the 1950's.

In many of the articles I read, discussing the racist/gender inequality aspects, most agree the film is still very watchable and a lot of fun, rather than offensive.

The Last Crusade


I don't have a lot to say about The Last Crusade other than it was genius to make it a father son story, and brilliant casting to put Sean Connery in the role of Indy's Dad.

The opening flashback scenes with young Indy really establish their relationship, though it's a little corny that adult Indy bases his adventurer outfit on a guy he had a run in with as a teen (and how most of Indy's character traits were all founded in one event from his youth).

Otherwise it's a solid film, the best of the series, but even better if you've seen the first movie.


The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


Probably the least liked of the series, and likely the reason Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg are even considering another movie in the franchise. The character deserves to go out on a high.

People were sceptical that Harrison would be too old to play Indy at this point, and he kind of is, but I think he just manages to prove otherwise in this film.

Whether he can do that again in Indy 5 is going to be even more of a stretch but if you see the behind the scenes of Indy 4, Harrison is still pretty spry, climbing up the large crates in the warehouse scene effortlessly.

I enjoyed the alien theme for this film. There's plenty of theories amongst ufologist that the human race is actually descended from aliens, citing evidence in actual hieroglyphs and other art from ancient times. The concept also fits well with the 1950's B movie aesthetic of the Indy franchise.

Where it all started to go wrong, in my opinion, was the film's attempt to recreate a reversal of the father son relationship from The Last Crusade. Not a bad idea in itself, just executed poorly. We get to meet Mutt (Shia Labeouf) fairly early in the piece, and it doesn't take long work out he's Indy's son well before Indy finds out.

We don't really get to see the father/son dynamic until halfway into the film which I think was a big miss for me. Indy get's no time to digest he has a son and no time to explore that relationship by the time he finds out.

It was hinted that Mutt might become the new Indy but thankfully they didn't follow through on that idea. The character didn't earn the title at all. (Not to mention I'm just not a Shia fan. He can act but, even now he's older I have no desire to see him play an Indiana Jones like character, Indy son or total reboot of the franchise).

The other main issue this movie had was an over reliance on CGI but I'd dispute that. Whilst the CGI wasn't great in a franchise that didn't need it this much, what really brought the film down was CGI sequences bordering on the ridiculous - Shia swinging through the jungle with monkeys was the worst offender for me.



Indy movies have always been over the top with their action pieces but, no matter how unbelievable they are, there's always an element of 'yeah, maybe that's possible... for Indy'. Crystal Skull kind of lost sight of that, particularly in the fridge sequence, and the final three waterfalls sequence.

The end of this film is also kind of, what was the point of it all? Just like the first movie, you would've got the same result as far as the Crystal Skulls go without Indy. Then I remind myself it's about the journey not the goal.

Whilst it was great seeing Indy reunited with Marion (Karen Allen), probably the best part of the film, overall it didn't focus nearly enough on the character relationships the way The Last Crusade did. The fact it ended with a wedding suggested strongly that Indy was finally going to settle down and live the quiet life.


Indiana Jones 5


Indy 5 is meant to begin shooting in April of 2019 according to director Steven Spielberg. Harrison Ford is confirmed to be reprising his role as Indy.

One could argue that Harrison is too old to play Indy, particularly by 2019, but it really depends on what version of Indy you're thinking about. He's not Raiders Indy anymore, but he is still very close to Crystal Skull Indy. A guy who clearly isn't as able bodied as he used to be but can still take a punch.

That said, one angle the film could take would be to properly cast 'Junior' in the 'Senior' role and team him with an aspiring Indy type (maybe even a female Indy type). Shia isn't supposed to be reprising his role, though I wouldn't be opposed to him getting another shot at Mutt with a better character arc.

It is supposed to be Harrison's last time in the role so whatever they do, I hope it's epic, and just plain fun adventure. I'll definitely be looking forward to it.

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET
20% off holiday gifts yule (and they’ll) love. Use code ROAR

Popular posts from this blog

The Star Wars Saga: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace *All Spoilers*

One of my local TV stations is showing every Star Wars movie in order, every Saturday, for the next six weeks leading up to the release of Star Wars, Episode VII, The Force Awakens in theaters this Christmas.

I plan to watch each film, at least two of which I've never managed to watch all the way through. Then I thought I'd blog about each movie here. Not so much a review but more my thoughts about the film, ranging from what I like, to what I see as a problem and maybe my thoughts on original trilogy re-releases and updates.

This post I'll start with Episode I, The Phantom Menace but first, a little history of my fandom.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Shop Online and Support Independent Art!

For those of you who celebrate the Christmas holiday, whether it be a religious event and/or just a time to reconnect with family and swap gifts, you'll no doubt have noticed Christmas decorations starting to appear in stores.

If you're like me you probably leave all your gift buying until the last minute, making it near impossible to shop for gifts online (unless you have access to that sweet Amazon Prime two day shipping option).

So... this post is a friendly reminder to get your online shopping started NOW and save yourself the rush to find gifts, in the week before Christmas, by actually going out into retail stores.

Of course my ulterior motive is to point out that my art is available on numerous gift items in my Redbubble store... and who doesn't like receiving gifts that support independent creators to keep making cool things for you to enjoy.

Plus it makes for a cooler gift experience if your gifts come with a story about how much you enjoy a specific artist's…

Nuclear Power Won't Reduce Your Electricity Bill Like You Think - Australia's Energy Crisis

Australian energy consumers are currently in a crisis, receiving some of the highest power bills in the world, making us a prime target for the nuclear energy vultures who claim their industry will bring the cost of electricity down.

It's a smoke and mirrors argument when you consider the cost of actually producing electricity isn't the main reason for Australia's ever increasing consumer electricity prices. Hypothetically, even after the cost of installing nuclear power plants, the actual cost reductions won't be as dramatic as the nuclear energy industry would have you believe.
According to this article, A high price for policy failure: the ten-year story of spiralling electricity bills by David Blowers, published in January 2018, the two biggest factors are the cost of the network (transporting electricity), and the retailer margins (cost of billing and servicing the customer). These are followed by the wholesale cost (actually generating the power), and the enviro…

Stan Lee - Ideas That Changed the World

As someone who really enjoys the Marvel movies, and has written about them quite extensively in previous posts, I feel I should make mention of the passing of Stan Lee last week.

I wouldn't say Stan was a hero of mine, or that I grew up with him (though unknowingly I did to a certain extent). I really only became aware of who Stan Lee was when he started making cameos in Marvel films.

Then I really got to know him through the various online web shows he had, interviews, and his own work promoting Marvel at almost any opportunity.

He seemed like a great guy, and by all accounts he was.

I never really bought comic books. Most of the ones I had were given to me. My avenue into the superhero world was Saturday morning cartoons through the 1970's and 80's. Marvel got me with reruns of their, kind of animated, more motion graphic, cartoons from the 1960's. They weren't great but boy did they have catchy theme tunes.



For me Stan serves as an inspiration somewhere along t…

Porn Site Blackmail Scam - That Time a Scammer Contacted Me and What I Did

Have you received an email with a subject line or content that contains an actual password you use either currently or at some point in time (likely it's one you've been using for a few years)?

The email claims that the sender has footage from your webcam of you visiting a porn site for some 'fun' and threatens to release that footage to all your contacts unless you pay a specified amount to a supplied Bitcoin account.

It also mentions your password was obtained by installing malware on a porn streaming site that basically gave the sender access to your keystrokes, desktop, and webcam.

I've received such an email twice now. I've posted the second below. The first email requested a deposit of US$7000 to said Bitcoin account. This time that number has gone down to $1000 (Rude! are they saying I can't afford $7000? Spoiler, I can't but, rude!).


Unfortunately I was kicking myself for deleting that first email because, shortly after, I realized it was a gre…

Re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe - My Favourite Is? (Spoiler, it's Iron Man 2 and here's why)

In preparation for Marvel's Infinity War I decided to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie going way back to 1978's Superman through to 2017's Justice League... ahhh.... got ya! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. (Though if you don't know what's wrong with what I just wrote, what are you even doing here?)

I actually went back and watched all the MCU movies (only movies, not the TV/Netflix series) starting with Iron Man (2008) through to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). The last three films, Spider-Man Homecoming (2017), Thor Ragnarok (2017), and Black Panther (2018), I don't yet own copies of on DVD or Blu-ray (but I will be rectifying that soon). I didn't re-watch them because they're still pretty fresh in my mind.

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.