In a fit of nostalgia, boredom and need to one again see the man in a hat with a whip, I bought all four of the Indiana Jones movies to entertain myself. This is kind of a review of them. Kind of, because it’s not really anything else than me rambling about movies.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
First of all – Harrison Ford is a baby with a beard in this one! He’s so young. It’s also the first Indiana Jones, which introduces the intrepid archaeology professor with his trademark hat and whip.
To me, Indy isn’t that important. The character I really like is Marion. Marion who drinks a man under the table the first time we see her, who lies, kicks ass, shoots a guy and in general tries to do everything in her power to stay alive. Marion is – in short – totally awesome.
The movie is also surprisingly fresh for being so old. The special effects are corny, but they’re not a huge part of the movie. It’s a romp, a rollercoaster ride, a dance and a laugh. It isn’t a lot of archaeology, more like grave robbery and demolition and I hurt inside for every fake artifact destroyed.
The best of the Indiana Jones movies, and still good fun.
Temple of Doom
This is a let down despite a shirtless Harrison Ford. Willie Scott is the stand in love interest and she’s a walking stereotype. She’s vain, greedy, only after men with power, incompetent and ignorant. The only thing she has going for her is her attitude but even that is steretopically “angry girl”. And then there’s the cultural appropriation of both Chinese and Indian culture, the awful stereotypes and a story that doesn’t really feel like it makes sense.
In it, Indiana takes a turn for the insufferable douche, and I can’t help thinking Han Solo when I see it. It’s all very… not fun. Basically it’s a bunch of stereotypes rolled up into awful.
Only plus – Harrison Ford showing off very attractive arm muscles. Well. The film is shallow, so why can’t I be as well?
The worst of the lot.
The Last Crusade
Sean Connery plays Indy’s dad and he steals every scene. I love Sean Connery. Ilsa is the love interest of the week, and despite some stereotypification, she’s actually both competent and a good match for Indiana.
It also stars the city of Petra which is one of the few locations I want to travel to someday. I want to see Alhambra, Deir El Bahri and Petra. I’m not very travel prone, but Petra is astounding in so many ways , and few things have compared to the emotional experience of seeing the bust of queen Nefertiti in person at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. I swear, the clocks stopped and everything around me slowed down. The bust is 3500 years old, give or take, and it’s perfect.
Anyway, The Last Crusade is more of a return to the first film, and has me wincing uncontrollably in the face of all the destruction. Library floors are ruined, old crypts set aflame, halls crumbling and tearing apart. It’s back to the good old destruction that Indy calls archaeology.
I suppose Ilsa is okay, she does look decidedly teared up at the thought of burning books, but she’s not really in the movie that much.
Anyway, my biggest peeve with The Last Crusade is that Henry Jones Sr apparently has the ability to gather a lifetime of research in one book. ONE notebook for a lifetime of research? I’ve gone through 66 of them, plus a while bunch of half finished ones, because starting a notebook is apparently more fun than finishing one. Anyway. The Last Crusade is competent and a nice return to the nazi ways of the first one.
It’s the second best in the series.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The only reason this doesn’t end up last is Marion. Marion and the Ox (played by a wonderful John Hurt). Also Cate Blanchett as a Russian with an inconsistent Russian dialect. Indy himself is getting old, or so he says, and starts the movie by being forced to break in to a military storage facility with a bunch of Russians as apparently, Soviet is the new scare. I suppose it actually is consistent.
After running away from his students, Indy runs right into a young “Mutt” (played by Shia LaBoeuf) that has gotten entangled with the KGB due to a surrogate father and also archaeologist named Oxley. KGB arrives, motorcycle chase ensues. That’s pretty much the whole movie. Clue is found, KGB arrives, chase ensues.
Oh yes. Also Marion. And Marion is, as always, bloody brilliant. The chemistry between her and Indiana is great and they seem to be having a good time. That said, you can’t survive a nuclear blast in a fridge. Also, gold is not magnetic.
The only reason this doesn’t come in last is because Temple of Doom is actually worse.
Thus concluded my weekend of Indiana Jones, on a high note, with a marriage between the one and only woman for the demolition archaeologist. Raiders of the Lost Ark is still the best of the movies.