Growing up there were three film series that had a major lasting impression on my childhood. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond! It is however the middle one of these three that I’ll be diving into throughout this latest edition of Fanboy Recommended. Sharing my thoughts and opinions, I will go on to talk about the adventurous features that have allowed this legendary franchise to last the test of time, and capture many fanboys hearts. So sit back, relax, put on your favourite fedora and prepare to dive into some Indiana goodness.
You Call Him Dr. Jones!
Since first appearing in Raiders of the Lost Ark in June 1981 Indiana Jones has became an iconic character, being known as Indy to his friends, Junior to his dad (Henry Jones Sr.), and in Short Round’s eyes Dr. Jones to everyone else. The task of bringing this character to life has fallen to legendary actor, Harrison Ford, with the actor who brought Han Solo to life featuring in all four films. Things could have been much different however, as Magnum P.I. himself Tom Selleck was originally cast in the role. Luckily however CBS wouldn’t release Selleck from his contractual commitments to Magnum P.I. (which was expected to shoot around the same time as Raiders of the Lost Ark), and George Lucas gave in and cast Ford in the role.
The thing that I feel makes Indiana Jones such a prolific character is his pure charm, and witty comments. He is however so much more, with his academic profile, and Professor status showing that he’s a highly intelligent character. It’s the combination of all this, along with the genius way that he’s written, and the fabulous performance from Ford that shape the character, with everything else being a bonus. Another thing that I personally love about the character is the way he differs around different characters, being the charmer to women, aggressor/comedian to foes, and embarrassed son to his father (who’s wonderfully played by Sean Connery).
Holy Relics, Cults and Other Weird Adventures
Over the course of four film, and a TV series Indiana Jones has found himself in many awkward and unsavory adventures. Having fought Nazis, searched for biblical artifacts, helped a village out in it’s time of need, and gotten involved in sci-fi escapades (which never should have happened), Indy has given us some exciting moments. All whilst trying to avoid snakes. It’s these moment that have been a key factor behind the series success, as though the fact it’s an adventure tale dictates that there needs to be some action, the execution, and charm puts it above anything else.
Bar the prize at the end of the tunnel, the surrounding challenges that Indy is faced with throughout his adventures also prove extremely entertaining, having themselves created some of Indiana Jones‘ most memorable moments. Whether it’s the legendary bullwhip/sword fight that never happened (Raiders of the Lost Ark), fighting massively oversized opponents (all four films), being caught between a rock and a hard place (Temple of Doom, bridge scene), or plain old booby traps Indy has faced them all and came out triumphant.
Before I go any further I will point out that this sub-heading in no way reflects a positive opinion on the atrocious acts that the Nazis committed during World War II. It only reflects the impact they had on the franchise, and how Indy’s greatest challenges came against these despicable foes.
Featuring in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones has proved to be a prickly thorn in the the fascist Nazis side, getting in their way whenever possible. Though the Russians made a valiant effort at replacing them in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (being a perfect fit to the timeline), with the Thuggee cult from Temple of Doom proving a formidable foe, neither one has been as memorable as the Nazis. Though the ever lasting effect that they have had on the world, due to their evil actions in World War II may have had an affect on this outcome, I personally feel it’s their strong screen presence that make them the perfect foe. With the hatred being a secondary factor.
Though the facts surrounding Indiana Jones longevity may be abundantly clear, having spawned four films, a TV series and a mountain load of merchandise, this fanboy feels the real cause may be the sheer diversity of this franchise. Being utterly charming, intensely exciting, and having perfect comic timing this film series appeals to all ages, with there being something for both old and young to enjoy. Another thing that has made it stand the test of time is the fact that it’s never really aged, as having been set in a historic setting, and having a iconic wardrobe it’s virtually impossible to compare it to anything from the present (even when the films was originally released).
In a Nutshell
Indiana Jones has touched so many fanboys hearts, with it ranking just below Star Wars when it comes to George Lucas‘ greatest achievement. But why should people who’ve never tried the films give them a chance? The clearest reasons: it’s fun, charming and exciting. Whether you’re a fan of Harrison Ford or not, whether you love war setting, it doesn’t matter. The brilliant writing and chemistry in the performances will win you over, and make you realise just what you’ve been missing out on.