When talk about a new Indiana Jones movie was being bandied about the last couple of years, I think everyone’s first reaction was concern as to how Harrison Ford, soon to be 66 years of age, was going to handle the de rigueur action scenes.
After all, Indy is the proverbial man of action, even though his alter ego, the college professor, wears glasses and favors bowties and tweed jackets. On the surface, the two personas don’t seem to complement each other very well, but judging by the success of the first three Jones movies, people got past that issue pretty quickly.
The recent release of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, number 4 in the Indiana Jones series, slyly takes into account that it’s been nearly 20 years since the last movie featuring the whip-slinging, iconic adventurer/archeologist graced our movie theaters.
(Twenty years is a long time for any of us -- the time it takes to raise a family. Even bigger than life movie stars might begin to show some wear and tear in that amount of time.)
We went to see the movie Sunday, keeping an open mind about how Ford would handle the role. If Hans Solo could survive being frozen in carbonite, why would anyone think a few years could slow down Indy? We were pulling for him to be the same as he ever was.
One of the best parts of the movie to me was that Karen Allen reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood, the perky actress who played Boone’s girlfriend Katy in Animal House and Indy’s true love in the first Indy movie, Raiders of the Last Ark. The actress was working in her knitting store -- her knitting store! -- when she got the call from Director Steven Spielberg to star in this new movie. Seeing as how she is still a young woman (reference my column in the last issue about celebrating another birthday), I think she did a great job.
And for the record, Harrison Ford also does a remarkable job as an older Indy. Since the movies are pure fantasy complete with awesome special effects, humor and Spielberg’s deft directing hand, it really isn’t much of a stretch when you think about it. He does acknowledge what his audience might be thinking about his age by mentioning how he isn’t quite as spry as he used to be. But that’s easy to forgive in the charming actor.
Before I saw the flick, I overheard a young man about 30 talking about the movie. He said the movie was great until the last 20 minutes or so when he thought the producers had run out of money and decided to wrap things up quickly and get to the final scene. I disagree, and maybe it’s more of a Baby Boomer reaction. I can see where he might have thought the ending was a little tamer than what he would have wanted at his age. I thought the ending was just fine, a little (welcome) surprise for those of us who have been part of the Indy Jones arc of movies, and a nod to older archeologists and their fans.
By Teresa K. Flatley