Recently I have been watching quite a lot of South Park and you may be thinking what the f*** does that have to do with Indiana Jones but bear with me. One of the episodes (S12, Ep8) had a storyline of Indiana Jones being abused by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, repeatedly. I guess their purpose was to express, in their usual vivid way, how bad Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is.
So I was inspired and my little family went onto watch the entire Indiana Jones franchise. We began backwards and started with watching Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull (2008) and yes, it is pretty bad. To the point that as an amateur film reviewer I can't even be bothered reviewing it correctly. I'll never understand why film creators bother going back *cough* for money *cough* to rehash a classic film series when the ideas just aren't there to back it up and the world has moved beyond the time when the original films found success, feeling, new exciting and original.
Now after watching what is possibly the worst in the Indiana series (because there are rumours of a fifth film in the pipeline) We had to go back to watch these classics starting at the beginning with;
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
My son 'Oskar' was quite excited to be watching another Indiana film, he enjoyed the aforementioned film and only changed his opinion of it once he heard mum 'author' talking slack about it, but I too was eager to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark 'I hadn't seen it up until this point'.
In 1936 we are introduced to Indiana Jones, a captivating and industrious archeology professor, who barely escapes a series of traps in a South American temple. A classic scene I recognised though having not yet watched the film 'I am a child of the video store era after all'. Indiana is then hired to find the Ark of the Covenant, believed to hold the Ten Commandments. Along the way he meets old friends and lovers and has to deal with agents of Hitler who want the Ark for themselves.
Overall Raiders of the Lost Ark is an enjoyable family film filled with action and adventure, though some of the dialogue and conflict between Indiana and his ex 'Marion' seemed pointless and forced, hampering my enjoyment of the film. Though I now realise through the watching of the next two films that this is simply how the character of Indiana is written to be with women.
Lastly my favourite scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark which is possibly quite graphic for an audience under the age of 8 'at parents discretion' is the ending and without giving away any storyline, the scene is a classic homage to eighties technology. 3/5
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom takes place a year before the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. We find Indiana in China conducting a trade with Chinese gangsters which goes wrong and Indiana, along with nightclub singer 'Willie' and a young boy 'Short Round' in tow end up crash landing in India. They come upon a small village who have had their precious stone and children stolen and agree to help find them. The trio of travellers end their journey at a nearby palace where things only manage to go from bad to worse for Indiana and his friends.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is trying to cash in on the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark and it just doesn't manage to pull it off, it is full of the same action and adventure you come to expect from this type of film but it lacks in its originality and it just feels corny. The only thing I really liked about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the ending scene which made me feel like I was on one of the best rides at Disneyland. 2/5
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
I am going to go ahead of myself here and announce I really liked Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade it is possibly the best film in the Indiana franchise, it is witty, smart and funny, in ways the first two and fourth seemed to have lacked. It doesn't hurt that the two great actors Sean Connery and Harrison Ford are cast together as father and son, and they manage to have an onscreen chemistry so vital to a film.
Indiana is forced back into action when a lead researcher for a mining magnate mysteriously goes missing whilst on the search for 'The Holy Grail' motivated by the fact that the researcher is also Indiana's father, we find our beloved archaeologist and his father the impressively feisty 'Professor Henry Jones' on more adventures, traveling to various destinations to obtain the Cup of Christ before it falls into the wrong hands. 4/5
In closing if you only ever get the chance to watch one of the Indiana films The Last Crusade is the one I would urge all to see. It is the standout in an otherwise ok, yet classic film franchise. Directed by a highly regarded and influential man in Stephen Spielberg, who with his vision has helped to shape the film industry as we know it today. So in a strange way, I should thank the creators of South Park, without whom I may have left the Indiana franchise unwatched.
Finally as 'Oskar' puts it 'I think they were great, with heaps of action and I love his whip.' Ahh kids, they are the best to watch films with.