The new Indiana Jones nostalgia is out of place
When the general director of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Frémaux, decided to show the new and fifth part of the “Indiana Jones” series, whispers of admiration for this decision circulated among the “nostalgia”. Regardless of the film’s artistic value and apart from Harrison Ford (81 years old), who was thirty-nine when he starred in the first film in 1981, the excitement of watching another adventure from that of the whip-wielding and implacable anti-German Nazism (and those who stood with her) outweighed the accounts of age. And the enumeration of the years, and a large group of journalists and critics went to the only show that was held for the film in the last session last month.
Surprisingly, the enthusiasm didn’t necessarily lead to admiration, even given the spontaneous applause that followed the film’s screening, and before that the warm welcome of its first actor, Harrison Ford. Something about that enthusiasm escaped from the unfortunate comparison between the adventures of Indiana Jones in those previous years and his adventures today.
This is how Indiana Jones was born.
The fifth film in the series bears a title that indicates some of its plot: “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, a title similar to the titles of the previous four films in its insinuations that it belongs to that era of films that were dominated by titles saturated with heroism. And suspense such as “Zorro Returns”, “The Last Duel”, “Tarzan the Great” or “The Body Snatchers”…etc.
The idea of the “Indiana Jones” series was not at all far from the films of the thirties and forties, including those weekly series that were shown in tens of thousands of American theaters at the time. Series such as “The Law of the Jungle”, “The Mysterious Mountain”, “The Return of Fu Manchu”, “The Adventures of Wild Hickok” and hundreds of others (the beginning of these series dates back to 1910 with a French film entitled “Arsene Lupine vs. Sherlock Holmes”).
The idea of returning to the framework of those series (each episode of about 12 minutes is completed in a new episode shown next week, up to the fifteenth and final) was not the brainchild of director Steven Spielberg, who directed all four parts of “Indiana Jones”, but rather It came to producer and director George Lucas first. The owner of “Star Wars” spoke with director and writer Philip Kaufman, and together they laid the foundation for one film project, entitled “The Adventures of Indiana Smith,” in 1973.
The two worked together for a while before Kaufman abandoned the project. In 1977 Lucas met Spielberg and the latter expressed his desire to be the next choice to direct a film in the James Bond series. At the time, the Bond film producer (Albert Broccoli) did not intend to hire a “close encounter of the third kind” director to realize one of his films.
Lucas suggested to Spielberg that he direct the “Indiana Smith” series after changing the name to “Indiana Jones”. In 1981, under the full title “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
The film bears the name of George Lucas as producer and one of the writers of the story (along with Philip Kaufman) and the name of Lawrence Kasdan as a screenwriter. He brought Harrison Ford, who was starting to put his feet on the ground of fame after appearing in “Star Wars” as one of the three movie heroes (along with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who in turn was made to identify with those miniseries).
* Arabian Knight
Such series had to search for the movie’s villains that archaeologist Indiana Jones has to contend with. In the 1930s German Nazism was on the rise and in the 1940s Hollywood found that the best villain to put in spy, adventure and action films was the one linked to an outside party. At first that side was Chinese, later it became German, and when the harmony between the United States and Russia ended, evil moved to the Russians who wanted to destroy American democracy.
The fact that the first episode of “Indiana Jones” took place in the mid-thirties put the Nazis in the center of evil on the side of the Egyptians, who cooperated with the Nazis to extract that icon that would be the focus of the struggle between Jones and the Nazis.
The scene in which we see Indiana Jones confronting a knight in classic Arab clothing, challenging him with a white weapon, summed up the intention to position the Arabs as enemies. Harrison Ford wearily looks up at the sky, then pulls out his revolver and shoots the rider before he moves from his place, thus the bullet was directed at the classic model of the Arab knight.
It doesn’t matter much now. Later, Spielberg destroyed an entire Arab city in the movie “The Adventures of Ran Tintin” (1981), which is the cartoon movie that was supposed to be the first of two parts on the basis of the owner of the series “The Lord of the Ring” Peter Jackson directing the second part, which is the matter Which was not done, either because Jackson left the idea, or because the first part did not make tons of money, or for both reasons.
Based on the success of the first Indiana, which yielded 390 million dollars (equivalent to about one billion and 300 million dollars today), “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was launched in 1984, then “Indiana Jones and the Last Campaign” (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, then “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” The events of the latter take place in the fifties (against the backdrop of the Cold War at the time), while the previous three parts dealt with events that occurred In the thirties alone.
The events of the current part, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) is the only one not directed by Spielberg, but rather the task has been assigned to James Mangold. The events of the new film find their roots in 1944 when Jones finds a disk that will turn back time. After more than 20 years, here he is, Jones trying to convince American officials that their cooperation with a former Nazi (Mass Mikkelsen) who wants to acquire that disk is a threat to America and the world. Then we get to know Indiana in the present time, alone, after he lost his wife (he divorced him) and his son (he died in the Vietnamese War). His loneliness ends when his granddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) meets him and lures him into a new adventure centered on owning that disc again.
* Commercial considerations
Achieving this movie the way it came out is nothing more than commercial greed that may have positive results for a week or two at the box office when the movie is released before the end of this month. Harrison can’t fool anyone by appearing in a movie in which he seeks (and the movie seeks through him) to restore his validity as an action hero. The character of Indiana Jones feels more like a ballad than a heroic restoration.
The first three Indiana Jones films drew on Christian and Jewish characters and events. The fourth film broke this commitment. As for this film, it seems as if it put one foot in the past and another in the present, and remained outside the ability to find its own square.
The idea of a disk that can move its owner to the past to change the features of the present appeared in dozens of films, including “Back to the Future” in 1985. At least Robert Zemeckis was a comedy that mixed adventure with science fiction and succeeded, and this is exactly what Indiana lacks. the new.