Recently, Disney announced a new upcoming film in the Indiana Jones series, with Harrison Ford returning to don the fedora and whip once again. The unnamed film will have many familiar to the franchise coming back as well, including Mr. Spielberg in the director’s chair.
While it should come as no surprise to anyone that Disney is adding another film to a famous name (for reference, see about 50% of their catalogue for the last few years), the question remains as to if it can be done well. The first foray back for Dr. Jones since the original trilogy was met with some harsh criticism, many balking at the alien-infused storyline and tangential story-arch.
Despite the rocky reception, I think it is entirely possible for us to have a fantastic new Indiana Jones film in store. There are, however, a few things the filmmakers should be careful to include, and avoid.
So, cue that iconic soundtrack up, as we look at a few things this movie should and shouldn’t do as it searches for fortune and glory.
Respect the Film’s History
With four films already out in the world, there’s certainly a lot of story to pull from and build on. For all of the objections to it, Crystal Skull did do an excellent job with Jones’ and Ravenwood’s rekindled relationship, and gave us a tie to the overarching development of the characters.
Point being, there are so many avenues left to explore in Indy’s story, and none of them should step on the toes of what has come before it.
This especially applies to characters where the actor has passed since their portrayal. While we do have a confirmation from the fourth that Sir Connery’s character has indeed moved on in the storyline, I would be very, very cautious when considering reviving Jones Sr. in a flashback or somesuch using techno wizardry.
Respect the Real History
Some of the greatest assets to the stories told in these films are the historical facts and myths they are based on. These are truly historical fictions, with just enough rooted in reality to give us a sense of possibility. So much of Last Crusade’s success was on how real it all felt, even when fantastical elements were introduced.
Moreover, the history of the time period the film is set in plays a crucial role. From punching Nazis to outmaneuvering the USSR, very real political tensions from our more recent history add a depth and motivation to our eponymous hero.
Emphasize Action, Practically
Action sequences in these films are legendary, and rightfully so. Some of the most stunning moments in film history are in this series, and it all comes down to the artistic execution of the events.
While use of computer effects certainly has its place in film, and I can even see them being used well in this next installment, the action should still be… tangible. There’s just something lost if what you’re seeing isn’t real, or at least really filmed. Just think how visceral the melting faces felt in Raiders, or how much tension was built by the trials in Crusade. Yes, these things were manipulated, sometimes digitally, but only to enhance the real action taking place, never to replace it.
Secondary Characters are a Primary Concern
If Indy was by himself on the screen, we would have a fairly boring movie. One of the best (if not THE best) parts of the films so far have been the secondary characters, pushing the plot forward. From Sallah to Ravenwood, Short Round to Willie, Dr. Jones is nothing without the interaction of his supporting cast.
With whomever they cast in whichever new roles are added for this story, the actor’s working chemistry with Ford should be considered heavily. If there are any returning secondary roles, they should be given roles in the new film that make sense with what they’ve already portrayed.
Give Room for Funny
For all of the “action-adventure” in these films, some of the best parts are the funniest ones. Henry Sr. saving the day with his umbrella. Sallah punching a Nazi through his newspaper. Jones shooting the swordsman. The physical comedy produced in this series should be carried in to the next installment, but with care not to overdo it. Dr. Jones is a very smart hero, with a little bit of dumb luck sprinkled in. The levity that a well-timed gag adds can keep the story from being bogged down. How dark the book burning scene would have been in Crusade if Indy hadn’t bumped in to none other than Adolf “Autographing” Hitler immediately after?
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So, with a new adventure on the horizon for our favorite archeologist, here’s to hoping for a film worthy of the series. To the cast and crew beginning the process, we here at DAPs Magic wish you good luck.
…You’re gonna need it.