Recently I was able to experience “Raiders of the Lost Ark” up on the big screen and it was so unbelievably awesome that it inspired me to write this post. To celebrate Indy returning to the big screen and the coming Blu Ray release of the quadrilogy I thought that there would be no better time to discuss some series highs and regrettable lows. This list is by no means a definitive list. These are just a few of my favorite moments that either had me on the edge of my seat, giggling out loud or cursing George Lucas Captain Kirk style. To make the experience even better I’ve included a link below to the theme song so you can play it while reading. You know you want to.
Highs (No particular order):
1. No Peeking:
I don’t think any moment in the series beats that finale of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” This was the moment when the villains of the film finally received their just desserts and Indiana Jones prevails. The special effects were pretty great for the time and hold up pretty well in my eyes. After seeing this scene for the first time up on the big screen I couldn’t help but get a little chill and I couldn’t wait to watch more.
2. Indy’s Return:
It had been years since Harrison Ford had donned his fedora and whip, and as each year passed by it seemed hopeless that he would ever return to the role. Then 2008 came around and Indiana Jones was finally ready to whip it and whip it good. I can remember how excited I was because I’ve always been a fan of the series but never got the opportunity to see his adventures up on the big screen. The whole opening of the movie was classic Indiana Jones; swinging from his whip, jumping from car to car and punching bad guys. Unfortunately the rest of the movie didn’t compare to this opening. The opening chase also has a really fun nod to the original.
3. Pass/ Fail:
The three trials Indiana had to go through is one of my personal favorites of the whole series. The tension grew with each new test and led up to a finale that almost rivaled “Raiders.” I think what made this moment different from the other is that Indiana’s motivation wasn’t selfish. He wasn’t trying to get the grail for himself, but to save his dying father – played by the great Sean Connery, in case you forgot.
4. Eat your Heart Out:
Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a fan of “Temple of Doom.” There were some impressive set pieces and of course Indy had plenty of classic moments, but the movie didn’t feel like the original and that’s what turned me off. Saying that, the finale was a real nail biter and I’m sure everyone was on the edge of their seat as the cult leader was close to pulling our plucky hero’s heart out. This final show down was good enough to save this movie.
5. Shh, Quiet Please:
While there are so many funny moments in the Indy series this next moment made me chuckle and I’m sure I’m not alone. This was such a little moment and a bit of a head smacker, but when the librarian stamps his book at the same time as Indy strikes the stone floor viewers can’t help but smile. It’s this type of tongue and cheek humor that Lucas did so well throughout “Indiana Jones” and the original “Star Wars” series.
6.Knife to a Gugn Fight:
Here is another classic moment in the quadrilogy and the back story behind this moment is classic. The moment I’m talking about is when Indy is running through the Egyptian market place after Marian and comes face to face with a nasty sword wielding assassin. After Indy’s foe shows off some handy knife work, Indy pulls out his gun and shoots the man dead. For those of you that aren’t aware, this cinematic gold was thanks to Ford’s nasty case of dysentery. So, unable to do the elaborate fight scene, without warning Ford decided to do a little impromptu rewrite and created one of the most memorable movie moments ever.
Well, now that we’ve hit some of the series highs it’s time to relive some of the lows. I’m sure you’ll come to notice a certain trend on the moments that I picked.
Lows (Head Smackers):
Shia of the Jungle:
I’m not really sure what to say about this. Any time that I think about this horrid moment I can’t help but think of some very bad words. I’m starting to think George Lucas is just bored and looking to get attention because Shia LeBeouf’s Mutt Williams swinging through the trees with monkeys is even more moronic than Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah, you heard me right. I would’ve rather had Jar-Jar get a bigger part in “Revenge of the Sith” than see Shia swing with monkeys. I’m a little disappointed with Speilberg, Lucas I expect this from, but not Speilberg.
Indiana Jones and the… CG Alien?:
The finale to Indy four was just absolutely atrocious. Throughout the movie I was actually okay with the skulls’ alien origin. That I could get over pretty easily, but the fact that Cate Blanchett is incinerated by the skulls and then they turn into a giant purple alien is just plain stupid. I think what upsets me more is that the graphic novelization of the movie changed the ending. It kept Blanchett’s combustion but ditched the Barney-esque alien. This I could’ve gotten behind and would’ve washed the bitter taste out of my mouth, but once again Lucas left a brown stain on a beloved childhood memory.
Fridge 1 Nuclear Bomb 0:
Okay, so this next moment doesn’t infuriate me as much as the first two but it’s still little…no, a lot far-fetched; even for Indiana Jones. The moment that Indiana is blown away in fridge by a nuclear bomb test completely killed my buzz of the opening chase scene. While I may have mustered up a little chuckle, it still left me scratching my head and an uncontrollable urge to smack someone.
I think I’ve picked on “Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls” enough – for now – so the next moment I’ve chosen is from “The Temple of Doom.” This pick may be a bit contradictory to one of my picks above, but I thought the first sacrifice where the Cult Leader pulls a man’s beating hear out of his chest without killing him didn’t come off as shocking; just more or less stupid. It was also a bit contradictory to “Raiders of the Last Ark.” In “Raiders” Indy tells Marcus Brody that he doesn’t believe in ‘magic,” but since “Temple of Doom” is a prequel, wouldn’t seeing a man that pulls out beating hearts prove that magic may exist?
Ants, Why Did It Have to be Ants?:
Fire ants carrying people off and eating them; do I need to say more? No, no I don’t. All I can say is that Lucas has lost the privilege of his trademark beard. If he can’t write a movie that we can take seriously, then he doesn’t deserve it!
That’s all I have for now my fellow, nerd and nerdettes. I’d love to hear some of your fond Indiana Jones memories below and definitely sound off with your high and low moments. We’re all nerds here, so let’s discuss and let our nerd flags fly high.
– Joe D.