Watching Indiana Jones
Warning: Long post, but NO spoilers on The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
When I was a little girl, I was never interested in adventure films. It was only after having boys that I got to experience this kind of films and stories. It was my oldest son Reggie who introduced me to Harry Potter. He was the one who got me to watch Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
I was glad when I learned last year that they were making a fourth Indiana Jones movie. And I got all excited when the opening of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull neared. There I found myself again doing an Indy movie marathon. The Indy theme song has been playing in my head ever since.
And today my boys and I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s good to see Dr. Jones again. But it was kind of weird for me. Because I was just watching the first three movies last week and Harrison Ford was so young and fresh in those movies. And here I’m watching him on the big screen in his 60s with gray hair and lines on his face. He still looks good though. I’ve read that he kept fit all these years since there had been plans of doing a fourth Indy film. Well anyway, as Harrison Ford said, Indy’s appeal is not his youth, but his imagination and resourcefulness, his ability to get out of tight situations.
I’ll try not to give out any spoilers but I enjoyed this film just as I did the first three ones. I wasn’t blown away but I think it was still a good movie. It was a thrilling adventure film with the exciting car chases, things blowing off, a temple crumbling down and of course the supernatural element. Indiana Jones is back with his fedora and whip. I didn’t see much whip cracking though. And it was young Mutt Williams, played by Shia Lebeouf, who did much of the hanging and swinging in the jungle. Indy’s love interest in the first movie is also back, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), now Marion Williams.
Before I am tempted to reveal anymore, let me share with you some trivia that I gathered about the Indiana Jones movies.
While they were both vacationing in Maui after the success of Star Wars, Spielberg told Lucas that he wanted to direct a James Bond movie. But Lucas told him that he already had something in mind, something better than James Bond, which he called The Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was about a character named Indiana Jones who is an archeologist who goes around the world looking for antiquities.
At first, Lucas wanted to cast a fresh face so as not to be identified with any project. Tom Selleck was initially cast as Indiana Jones, but he already had a contract for a TV series, Magnum P.I. Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford.
Harrison Ford did as much stunts as he could in the first three movies and even in the fourth film.
Karen Allen was cast as Marion Ravenwood because she was spunky and had a devilish smile like that of Ford’s.
Lucas and Spielberg wanted the series to be about a treasure hunt of mystical objects. They wrote the Nazis in the first movie because they thought that the Nazis were the personification of evil. Also, Hitler was possessed with supernatural artifacts.
In the first movie, Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark, we learned that Indiana was afraid of snakes when he found a snake in the helicopter. And it made me laugh when the pilot said, “That’s my pet snake Reggie.” Well, that is my oldest son’s name, too. And how funny it is that Indy had to encounter 9,000 snakes later on in the Well of Souls. By the way, there’s also a snake in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And yes, Indy’s still afraid of snakes.
The second movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, is actually a prequel to the first movie. Lucas wanted to give a backstory to the first one.
In the first movie, the female lead was very tough, very strong and very independent. Lucas didn’t want to repeat that character. And so enters Willie Scott, less self-confident, a spoiled brat, a prima donna, and not at home with the outdoors. Spielberg cast Kate Capshaw. But Lucas wanted a blonde this time, so Kate had to bleach her hair. And did you know that Spielberg later on married Kate?
The name of the Shanghai nightclub in the opening of The Temple of Doom is Club Obi Wan, as in Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. I couldn’t help but smile today when I was watching The Kingdom of Crystal Skull and I heard Indy say, “I have a bad feeling about this.” This line has been mentioned in all the six Star Wars movies.
When they were planning the third movie, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, they thought that it would be the final installment in the Indiana Jones series. They struggled on how to make it different. They wanted Indy to go after an antiquity rarer than the Shankara Stones or the lost Ark of the Covenant. He was going to go after his father. That was going to be his rescue mission, the antiquity that he retrieves.
They also wanted the third movie to be lighter than The Temple of Doom. And the father-son theme brought humor to this one. The third movie’s my favourite of all in the series, by the way.
Who would they cast as Indy’s father? Who could intimidate Harrison Ford? Since the James Bond film was the father of the Indy movies, who better to play Indy’s father than James Bond himself, Mr. Sean Connery. At first Connery didn’t want to play the part. Because he’s only twelve years older than Ford.
The actor who played young Indy in the third movie was River Phoenix of Stand By Me. He was such a promising actor who died at a young age of 23 due to a drug overdose. He was the older brother of Joaquin Phoenix (of Gladiators and Walk the Line), who once called himself Leaf because he wanted to have a nature-related name like his brother, River, and sisters, Rain and Summer. Their parents were missionaries.
Indiana Jones was named after the family dog. Indiana was also the name of Lucas’ dog. We learned in the third film that Indiana Jones’ real name is Henry Jones, Jr. In the fourth film, he was referred to more often as Henry than Indy.
There were snakes in the first movie, bugs in the second, what else was left for the third movie? Spielberg thought that the viewers would be looking for the equivalent of the snakes and bugs. So they came up with rats. And did you know that Harrison Ford was not actually afraid of snakes? And that he raised lab rats when he was 16 years old? So he wasn’t really put off by them. What did they have then in the fourth movie? You’ll just have to go and find out.
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