Point/Counterpoint: Will The New 'Indiana Jones' Satisfy Filmgoers Or Suck?
Indiana Jones and the Temple of AARP (Let's Leave Indy in Retirement)
Let's get this out of the way before I even begin to write about anything else: Harrison Ford is 64 years old. That's beyond the aged cheese that is Bruce Willis. We're talking Sly Stallone's territory. Let's examine Stallone's recent career choices. In "Rocky Balboa," Stallone played an aging boxer who acknowledges that maybe he is too old to be in the ring. This ended up making the movie an interesting look at aging and determination. Stallone is also starring in the upcoming Rambo movie. Sixty-one-year-old Stallone as a killer commando? That's just sad.
Even at the most lenient, Indiana Jones at his current age takes him away from being the college professor who is mysterious and worldly and puts him in the role of the professor who tells you about his glory days and tries to convince you that nazis are still after his gold. This begs the question, do moviegoers want to see Indiana Jones or do they want to see Harrison Ford? Why not hand the reigns over to a different actor? It worked with James Bond and Batman, so filmmakers should approach Indiana Jones as an icon and not just a role for Ford to play.
George Lucas with the movie. Remember how great the original Star Wars trilogy was? Now remember when Lucas violated the sanctity of those movies with the prequels? On the bright side, he is only producing the film. Still, if you think Steven Spielberg won't be listening to Lucas' input then you are living in a fantasy world.
On to the plot. While details have been sparse, we do know that the crystal skulls from the title have some mystical quality, which is all well and good, but the fact that Indy is fighting Soviets to obtain them is groan inducing. I imagine Lucas saying to Spielberg, "No we can't have nazis in the 1950's," to which Spielberg would argue that maybe they were secret immortal nazis. Eventually they would settle on the next rung of the "evil people from a different country ladder": communists.
Why not take a page from the recent pulp video game "Uncharted" and have Jones up against pirates, or even fellow treasure hunters? Though having Cate Blanchett as an evil Russian will at least provide some comic relief (if you haven't seen the photo of her in costume, google it now!)
Some might argue that the main reason to see this film is the nostalgia factor. Well, we're all well aware that revising something for the sake of nostalgia often leads to a soiling of memories. I recently watched old "Masters of the Universe" cartoons, and suffice to say the show does not stand the test of time. Why not just let the Indiana Jones trilogy remain a fond memory instead of showing us that Harrison Ford has aged, Karen Allen can't get a decent acting gig and Shia LaBeouf is what amounts to a bankable young actor. Stop trying to cash in on whatever warm feelings I have left for original movies. Sometimes it's ok to let a franchise die.
By Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer
(Go to page two for the counterpoint...)
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