Emily Lam

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I recently watched all the Indiana Jones films. I'd never seen any of them before that but I've heard positive things of them, especially of the first one: Raiders of the Lost Arc. I enjoyed them all. They are fun films that aren't terribly deep. They entertain perfectly though. The franchise's got a wonderful score by John Williams and two creative minds, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, behind it. All and all, they felt like the Pirates of the Caribbean films for me. Great, fun, and adventurous first films with followup installments that are definitely enjoyable but not as great as the first film. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones film, is actually a really great film. There's a lot of good things going for it.

I don't intend to review these films. I merely just want to write down a couple of short thoughts I got out of it -- I did spend 8 hours last week watching these, 2 hours at a time, a film at night.

First, I really enjoyed the style of the films: adventure genre, real stunts, limited CGI, story/plot driven (as opposed to rapid action cut-scene paced), a young Spielberg's directing style, etc. For someone who's childhood took place in the 1990s to early 2000s, there's little nostalgia behind liking this style. I think I like it for the same reason I appreciate the Audio Animatronics at Disney.

I don't think I mentioned this on this blog but I am very tired of extensive CGI stuff populating our theaters; they all seem to also have this "destroy as much as possible" theme. And I'm done with that. Even the Great Gatsby wasn't as refreshing as I hoped. I really like going to the theaters but I can't convince myself anymore to see anymore of those types of movies. (I'm looking at you Man of Steel, War World Z, White House Down, Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger). (Edit: I stand corrected about Pacific Rim. It is actually a great film. Go watch it! =]) It's summer, I want a fun adventure movie to get lost in (and a great plot would be a huge plus). Indiana Jones is that kind of movie, fun and fantastical. The kind of movie that makes you believe for a while in its existence, takes you around the world, and makes you want to be an archaeologist. It also proves that lack of great CGI does not break a film. (I have to admit thought that I did really enjoy Iron Man 3.)

Second, The map visual: the one where a map and some plane visuals are superimposed on top of each other with a route progressing toward Indy's destination. I really liked that. I'm sure I've seen this effect used in other films. But the use in Indiana Jones is particularly effective, especially for the geographically challenged person. It's a great way to demonstrate travel while actually specifying the route there and location in a timely manner. Showing a scene of just airplane visuals isn't specific enough since flying to Nepal and South Africa probably will look the same atop an airplane. But with the map, you get a sense of how far away Indy is traveling and the geographic location, AHH, so Nepal is in central Asia near China and India, gotcha.

Third, Marion Ravenwood. She is one of my favorite characters of the films. Her introduction in Raiders of the Lost Ark is excellent. She's very capable of herself. Although, in the face of Indy, she loses some of her stronger traits and behaves as a damsel in distress. Marion is damaged. And we quickly learn that Indy's the reason why. But despite that, she holds her own (most of the time) next to Indy and counters him perfectly. Also, in the words of Flynn Ryder, "Frying pans? Who knew?"

Fourth, the other female leads. In Temple of Doom, Indy's love interest was rather annoying. I think her name was Willie and for a good part of the film, she carried a red dress bundled up in her arms with her. I think I missed the point of that -- I watched these movies late at night so it's likely that I missed stuff. Elsa was the lead female in The Last Crusade. I didn't find myself liking her too much either. Elsa resembles what I think of a Bond girl: pretty, suspicious, smart, skillful, a femme fatale. Of course, I haven't really watched a lot of the Bond films so I don't really know what consists of a Bond girl either. The point of this is that I wasn't too impressed with Elsa even if she was willing to get messy. There are two females in the 4th film, a first in the Indiana Jones films. Marion returns, yay! The other female is the antagonist. I can't recall her name and although I can google it, I'm choosing not to. I believe she was Ukraniam and working with the Sovient during the Cold War period. She is actually quite an interesting character, her motives are interesting, and she was smart, but Marion's still my favorite, although I liked her character better in the first film than the last.

Fifth, Indy's interesting and cool. We don't know much about him besides the obvious. But we know just enough to make him interesting, kind of like James Bond. I do like how Indy basically starts as a nonbeliever in mythical powers only to be a believer at the end of each film. The film crew always gives Indy a non-mythical reason to begin his quest. It let's us the audience also embark on the trek at the same time as Indy and become believers when he does.

I'll leave you with Marion's Theme by John Williams -- It's one of my favorites from the films, along with Indy's Raider's March theme of course.

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