A Case for a Reboot: Indiana Jones
I’m sure at this point some of you have may already be enraged by the title alone. “Blasphemy! For shame Darth Gandalf! How could you possibly think about rebooting Indiana Jones??? Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and there’s nothing else to discuss!” Believe me your concerns are legitimate and honestly I believed the same thing for a long time. But before you rip my heart out like Mola Ram just hear me out. You can sacrifice me to Kali later.
A few months back “Latino Review” posted a rumor that Hollywood was actively working on rebooting Indiana Jones with Bradley Cooper in the lead role and Frank Darabont penning the script. The rumor itself came about as a result of a different rumor stating that Harrison Ford would only do Star Wars if he could star in a fifth Indy film. However, Ford’s unwillingness to sign without a script prompted Disney execs to float the idea of rebooting the franchise. Darabont and producer Frank Marshall heatedly denied the rumors. Marshall was very tongue in cheek about the whole issue posting on Twitter that the only thing he could confirm was that Katy Perry would not be in the next film. Apparently we won’t hear her roar. (Rimshot).
Whether there’s a single grain of truth behind the rumors or the whole thing is just agents’ wishful thinking is irrelevant. The fact that the rumor would come up at all is in and of itself thought-provoking. So the question remains: should Indiana Jones be rebooted? I say yes, yes, and Hell yes.
My argument for this seemingly blasphemous idea contains five main points:
1–HARRISON FORD IS SIMPLY TOO OLD TO PLAY INDIANA JONES ANYMORE
Everyone has various opinions on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, most of them negative. I hated it the first time I watched it but since then I’ve actually grown to like it. (It’s my third favorite behind Raiders and Last Crusade with Oh My God Cate Capshaw Won’t Stop Screaming last ). But whether you loved it or loathed it we can probably all agree that Harrison Ford was a little long in the tooth to play Indiana Jones. When the movie was filming in 2007, Ford was 65 years old and while he certainly was believable and fit as a 58-year-old Indiana Jones, he wasn’t 100% believable as a badass. Therein lies the issue. Indiana Jones is both a scholar AND an adventurous daredevil. Harrison Ford will be 72 years old in July and the prospect of him suiting up again provokes concerns. I mean what’s the film going to be called? Indiana Jones and the Colostomy Bag of Terror? If the adventures are going to continue it’s time for a new actor to step in.
2. THERE ARE PLENTY OF MCGUFFINS TO GO AFTER
George Lucas always referred to the artifact that Indiana Jones goes after as a McGuffin. For the life of me I can’t understand why George Lucas has stated that it’s been hard to come up with an artifact for Indy to pursue. Seriously? I call bullshit. There is a plethora of artifacts and places to explore. Right off the top of my head here’s a few I can think of: The cross of Jesus supposedly lost during the Crusades, the Tomb of Genghis Khan, the Spear of Destiny that pierced the side of Jesus at the crucifixion, the lost continent of Atlantis; the possibilities are endless. Furthermore, they offer an opportunity to travel to different locales: Asia, South American, Eastern Europe. In my opinion the more exotic the better.
3. THE STORIES NEED TO BE SET IN THE 1930s AND 1940s
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have publicly stated that the inspiration for the Indiana Jones films came from the adventure serials of the 1930s. When people complain that Skull didn’t have the same feel as the other three, it’s because the film was influenced by a different source. Whereas the first three movies were influenced by the serials of the 1930s, Skull was inspired by the B-movie sci-fi films of the 1950s. The various motifs pervade the film: Communism, flying saucers, and teen rebellion to name a few.
Although I understand where Lucas and Spielberg were coming from, in my opinion Indiana Jones works best if set in the two previous decades. The era seems much less cynical and more hopeful, even in the shadows of WWII and The Great Depression. And I’m sorry but I’ll take Nazis over Communists any day as villains. To date we haven’t had an adventure set during WWII itself with Indy and I think the prospect is intriguing.
Having said this, this part of my argument should be patently obvious. Harrison Ford can no longer pass for a man in his late 30s and early 40s. It needs to be a younger actor carrying the role.
4 INDIANA JONES IS A BOND-LIKE CHARACTER
For fifty years audiences have been treated to over twenty James Bond films with no less than six different actors playing the role. Many fans consider Bond as sacred and iconic a character as Indiana Jones, if not more so. Despite the fact that the villains have changed since the early 1960s, and various actors have slipped on the tuxedo and driven the Aston Martin, no one seems to bat an eye. Why can’t Indiana Jones be the same way? In my eyes the character is not a sacred cow and never has been. Let someone else don the fedora and whip. Let several someones! If Star Wars films can continue ad infinitum, why not Indiana Jones?
5 WE NEED NEW BLOOD IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
I love Steven Spielberg. You can make the case that he’s the best living director today. (Although I prefer Martin Scorsese). However, like an NFL coach who’s led a team for a decade, his words begin to ring hollow to his players. The same situation applies here. In many ways Steven Spielberg has become just as inseparable to the Indiana Jones franchise as Harrison Fod. People can’t comprehend an Indiana Jones film without him directing. I wholeheartedly disagree. New blood is needed here and I think there are plenty of top-notch directors who could grab the reigns. Could you imagine a David Fincher directed Indiana Jones or a Danny Boyle? Just as long as it’s not Michael Bay. Either way I think the franchise could use a change of pace and another director is warranted.
At this point you may be thinking, “Okay Darth, who would you choose to replace an icon?” Glad you asked and my choice is…
To me this would be a perfect fit. First off the man can act whether it’s the rugged Eomer from The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Leonard “Bones” McCoy from the Star Trek reboot. Also he has the rugged, worldly look that Indiana Jones requires. Urban could transition nicely between professor and gallivanting archaeologist. Furthermore, he’s the right age to play the role. In my opinion Indiana’s adventures should fall in the age range of thirty-two to forty-five. (I know that’s kind of arbitrary but it’s just my opinion). Urban will turn forty-two next month so he’s right in the age wheelhouse to play Indiana Jones. (For a bit of perspective, Ford played the role from ages thirty-eight to forty-six with the original trilogy). And lastly, Urban is an absolute badass. All you need to do is watch 2012’s Dredd to realize that.
While many may dismiss my argument out of hand, either from an over attachment to childhood memories or fear of ruining the franchise is understandable. As I always say when I’m writing film reviews or other articles, at the end of the day these are just opinions. They aren’t Gospel. This is simply a case for a reboot.
Whether or not the case ever goes to trial is another story.
Karl Urban for sure!
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Great idea! Do it! Karl Urban is an excellent idea, and surely with Hollywood’s current love for reboots and sequels, this will get the green light. Make it so Darth.
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Can I imagine a David Fincher directed Indiana Jones movie? A heavy handed outing lacking any humor or lightness of touch and fun? I’d prefer not to.
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David fincher was probably a bad example. Just kind of spit balling. I disagree with your arguement that there’s a lack of humor in his movies ALIEN 3, FIGHT CLUB, and THE SOCIAL NETWORK all have very funny moments.
Well Fight Club is a movie that is definitely funny, but no where near as funny as it should be, It supposed an outlandish satire and yet Fincher almost crushes the humour right out of it, The Social Network has Sorkin style wit which saves it but once again its pretty dour for what it is supposed eb sly take down of personalities behind Facebook. Alien3……well I confess to missing the jokes in that one.
By the way although I find your argument about the strenght of the character of Indy to be sound I err on the side of disagreement with your thesis about reboot. Raiders was perfect movie for Lucasberg coming after Star Wars and CE3K and the general cynicism and darkness of the 70’s new wave. Plus it rode the trend of bringing the spectacle and adventure back to cinema. None of these things are in need any longer. Its ALL spectacle and fluff now, . Indy is perfect as he was, but he has lost his cache. When you bring something back that has been succeeded by a multitude of pale imitators it doesn’t remind audiences that it was the original and best only of those imitators and worn out tropes. Its a no-win.
I fully endorse this idea. Indiana Jones is such a strong, iconic character that he could be picked up by another actor like 007 and Batman have done in the past. There’s endless plots they could use.
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This is a great argument for a reboot. I completely co-sign. Although I started having fun with director choices: how about Wes Anderson? John Chu? Or my fave, Chan Wook-Park? 😛
Once a character becomes an icon, any interpretation is automatically en homage to the original director and actor. If anything, the interpreters producing the reboot are going to be under heavy scrutiny by us, the hardcore fans of the Indiana Jones series.
Wes anderson I dont think would do it because I just dont think it’s his cup of Darjeeling tea. (Pun intended) chu would be interesting or maybe even Peter Jackson.
No no no no more Peter Jackson no nonononononononono
Lol!!!! Or to be quite honest how about an up an comer an unknown? Someone with no preconceived notions coming inn. Duncan Jones of MOON fame perhaps.
I’m trying to keep in line with your keen projection that the reboot needs to happen in the 30s and 40s. I am all for an up and comer. We don’t need a PJ, or Tarantino, or Guy Ritchie, people whose gimmicks are widely known.
Not familiar with MOON but I’ll take your word for it…. 😉
As far as directors go, I’d be looking towards Shane Black and Matthew Vaughn. They’ve both done well in adventure style films (within the superhero canon at least) and have some clear influences from the 80s era.
Great call gfunk! Especially Shane Black!
Unless you’re remaking Raiders, what you’re suggesting isn’t technically a ‘reboot’. It’s a sequel with a recasting. Which I’m all for. A ‘reboot’ ie. remaking Raiders, I’m Strongly opposed to.
Awesome idea! As I was reading this, I was thinking of the Star Trek reboot. If they can recast Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy, they could do the same with Indy. And then you threw Karl Urban’s hat in the ring! Perfect! Besides, it’s not too crazy to have somebody else play Indy. We already had the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as well as River Phoenix playing a younger Indiana Jones. So Harrison Ford isn’t the sole owner of that character. And there are so many new great stories that can be told in this franchise.
It’s not that I think this is a terrible idea, it’s just that we could be creating new characters, using similar traits, inspired by characters like Indy but bringing something fresh. Leave Indiana Jones as Ford and start creating something fresh and new!
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