“You’re not the man I knew ten years ago,” said Marion, after meeting her old lover and the man with the Fedora hat famously replied: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”
That was when they together fought the raiders of the Lost Ark over twenty years ago. Guess what Marion will tell him when she sees good old Indy when the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise opens today.
No matter what she says, the mileage has brought the franchise alive for a new generation of viewers.
What began as a fun exercise to pay homage to the cornball TV action heroes of yore who delivered lines topped with cheese is a cult by itself that has spurned scores of high-budget visual effects tributes.
According to the legend, George Lucas wanted to create something “even better” than James Bond and came up with Indiana Smith borrowing the name from his dog. Turned out that his good friend Steven Spielberg didn’t quite like Smith. And George casually tossed up Jones. And Jones it was.
And hence that the inside joke in the Last Crusade when Sean Connery as Dr.Henry Jones Sr. tells us that Dr. Jones Junior named himself Indiana after a dog.
Arguably, the Last Crusade has been the best from the franchise, thanks to the rip-roaring father-son chemistry between the Joneses.
After running out of ideas to revive the franchise, Lucas found just the perfect one after twenty years – as life comes a full circle for Dr. Jones Junior to play father figure to young superstar Shia La Beouf who will hopefully carry the Jones legacy into the future for the generations to come.
We know that because Shia La Beouf plays a motor-cycle riding greaser called Mutt Williams. If Indiana was named after a dog, a mutt cannot be too unrelated to the Jones family, right?
The plot has always been an excuse to unleash some fun and adventure…
If you’ve seen the first three films, you can write the plot down yourself.
Scene One: A super that tells us which year it is. Location, some ancient cave where Indiana Jones is looking for something, an adventure to get things started, cut back to the classroom where Indy’s alter ego (every superhero has got to have one) Dr. Jones teaches his students a thing or two about archeology, followed by a new lead that introduces them to *insert the subject matter of the movie title* (in this case, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and soon enough the rival group of villains in search of the subject matter from the movie title attack Dr. Jones for the clue and before you know it, the adventure has begun… a map shows you where they fly to for the action to unfold, throw in crates of snakes, vampire bats, wasps, rats in caves, a little romance (Indy reunites with Marion again) and company (that would be Mutt Williams who we suspect is Henry Mutt Jones Super Junior) all accompanied to the unforgettable John Williams score (that till today doubles up as the score for every other film award function) and what you get is an Indiana Jones film.
With visual effects from Lucas’s stable of Industrial Light and Magic, we can be rest assured that cheap imitation Mummies will be put to shame.
Yes, the films have hardly been politically correct. Temple of Doom was banned in India for blasphemy and rightly so.
The franchise celebrates American Pride and give Jones the licence to stick his nose in matters concerning cultures the creators themselves do not understand.
Indian prince eating chilled monkey brain? Not in a million years, dudes.
But, let’s just let that pass. How seriously can we take a film that’s intentionally mindless and cheesy so that we can all have a little fun celebrating pulp fiction? So let’s just freeze our brains under Fedora hats and join Indy for another crazy adventure.