Friday, May 30, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Pulp Archaeologist Meme Exchange

For a piece with a superior title, head over to the Prince of Cairo's blog for Indiana Jones And The Satisfactory Franchise Installment. Ken Hite is a delightful film analyst.

I was much more interested in being old enough to get a lot of the film-makers' references. There are several points of the film that have been borrowed from the Stephen Sommers Mummy franchise, which I thought was fairly interesting. Between the insta-flensing bugs, and the the loss of a certain character in a very Benny-like fashion (you'll see it coming), it was a fascinating experience. There's even a bit of Tomb Raider as Indy jumps around on big, square boxes. Both of these franchises were heavily influenced by Indiana Jones, and it was a lot of fun to watch the original borrow back.

I've got a couple of criticisms, but I'll concentrate on one: the big fistfight. Indy is a pulp hero. He's an academic who gets into bar brawls, he's not a professional fighter. He uses trickery and Robert Howard-level endurance to win. The other guy pounds Indy until he comes up with a way to win the fight (the propellers of a flying wing come to mind). In the original film, we winced at the big fist-fight, but we knew Indy could take it. He's tough. The paradigm shifts when there's a thirty year-old in his prime pounding on a sixty year-old Indy. Yes. Indy is tougher than a oak stump, and we know he's going to win, but we also know that this stuff hurts more when you're sixty.

But this is minor. The film is a good, enjoyable Indiana Jones romp. There are some brilliantly assembled moments ("Part time."). Harrison Ford gives credibility to anything that comes out his mouth, and the rest of the cast is quite solid.


William Jones said...

While I've yet to see the film, I can imagine the scene you are writing about. Indy has always been clever, not the big-guy brawler. And much was done in the first film with sound effect and camera angles to "add power" to the punches he took, making them all the more painful to watch. To see a sixty year old Indy in this situation would cause me to wince, particularly if he's become a "Captain Kirk." :) Then again, academic life makes one mean.

John Goodrich said...

No, Harrison's build has not made the "Shatner slide." Indy looks like a man who has kept himself fit through an active life.