Indy 5

Adventure Can “Redeem” Indiana Jones

FSR Asks: What is needed for a truly great sequel?

Looking around the net, I noticed an Indiana Jones article I missed back in March.

In it, Film School Rejects’ William Dass wrote about the perceived misfire of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (with a budget of $185-million, KOTCS made over $786-million worldwide; tops for the franchise) and mused about what Steven Spielberg and crew can do to bring back the good doctor to prominence.

Indiana Jones: Making This Up As I Go

As “Short Run” once said, “No time for love Doctor Jones.”

So, Dr. Dass prescribes that treatment for Harrison Ford’s titular character and the script for Indy 5.

“The Indiana Jones franchise is about old school adventure, impossible odds, and the literal battle between the forces of Good and Evil,” wrote Dass. “Dr. Jones is a mix of Humphrey Bogart’s style, James Bond’s casual fearlessness in the face of danger, and Ethan Hunt’s puzzle-solving skills.

“But, really, the characters are all inspired by the dashing heroes of early cinema’s matinee serials. That sense of fun and adventure as those heroes saved the world is what inspired George Lucas to develop the character.

“Crystal Skull focuses too much on Indy’s personal family drama,” added the writer. “If anything, it feels like a retread of the territory covered in The Last Crusade, which didn’t work perfectly the first time around.”

It’s true (to the character)

As one of the few viewers willing to admit a genuine fondness for Indy 4, I do — begrudgingly — understand Dass’ point.

For the casual film fan, Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark line of “I’m making this up as I go…” is tried and true.

Meanwhile, “That was before I found out I was your father…” delivered a thud for fans watching Crystal Skull.

According to Dass, part of the cure to Indy’s scriptwriting woes in the most recent chapter of the franchise may be found in the more recent makeup of Ford’s other legendary character, Han Solo; namely Han in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Indy can’t be played for laughs as an old-codger,” wrote Dass. “That isn’t who he is. J.J. Abrams knew that when he brought Ford’s Han Solo back for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“Yeah, there was baby daddy drama. But, god damn if Han wasn’t in the mix of things doing his Han stuff.”

The Return of the Great Adventure

The difference here comes in the fondness Ford et al. have for the character of Henry Jones Jr.

While there may have been a bit of devil may care in the handling of Solo’s destiny (demise?), there won’t be a similar seat of the khakis approach to Ford’s return to the fedora.

But Dass thinks it should be.

Indy was never that kind of character,” he wrote. “Crystal Skull doesn’t work in that regard because Spielberg and company forgot that type of character development wasn’t really a core part of the series. In the old serials, the inspiration for this franchise, it was always about getting on to the next adventure.”

I’ve written before about my minor gripes regarding Crystal Skull, but there’s a need I have for the upcoming Indiana Jones sequel to be loved, not just enjoyed. So, I take much of what I read in Dass’ article to hear. Give it a read.

After all, we do have some time to kill before filming begins in 2019.

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