Friday, May 09, 2008

FanBoyWonder Film Spotlight: The Return of Indiana Jones

FanBoyWonder had just graduated high school when we and our high school sweetie went to the local Cineplex to view the third of the Indiana Jones trilogy—Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, staring Harrison Ford in the title role and Sean Connery as the senior Jones.

While not quite as good as the original Raiders of the Lost Arc (what could be???) yet light years better than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, we thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. Then we filed it away and we haven’t thought of Indiana Jones for many years.

So it was with a glancing interest that we had been following news that Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford were finally going to bring the world’s toughest archeologist back to the screen some two decades after the last installment.

That is until last summer when we viewed specially released teaser footage of upcoming fourth Indy film later to be named Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In a word—Zowie!

Here’s the Upshot from Paramount Pictures: The newest Indiana Jones adventure begins in the desert Southwest in 1957 – the height of the Cold War. Indy (Ford) and his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone) have barely escaped a close scrape with nefarious Soviet agents on a remote airfield.

Now, Professor Jones has returned home to Marshall College – only to find things have gone from bad to worse. His close friend and dean of the college (Jim Broadbent) explains that Indy's recent activities have made him the object of suspicion, and that the government has put pressure on the university to fire him. On his way out of town, Indiana meets rebellious young Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), who carries both a grudge and a proposition for the adventurous archaeologist: If he'll help Mutt on a mission with deeply personal stakes, Indy could very well make one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in history – the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination, superstition and fear.

But as Indy and Mutt set out for the most remote corners of Peru – a land of ancient tombs, forgotten explorers and a rumored city of gold – they quickly realize they are not alone in their search. The Soviet agents are also hot on the trail of the Crystal Skull. Chief among them is icy cold, devastatingly beautiful Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), whose elite military unit is scouring the globe for the eerie Crystal Skull, which they believe can help the Soviets dominate the world... if they can unlock its secrets.

Indy and Mutt must find a way to evade the ruthless Soviets, follow an impenetrable trail of mystery, grapple with enemies and friends of questionable motives, and, above all, stop the powerful Crystal Skull from falling into the deadliest of hands.

Regular FanBoyWonder readers have heard the story before but we so enjoy telling it in that by way of backgrounds, FBW first saw the original Raiders of the Lost Ark on our 11th birthday back in 1981.

As it turned out, we hadn’t wanted to see it as we thought it looked stupid but Mom and Dad FanBoyWonder dragged FBW and our brother Joe to the movies. Suffice to say we left thinking it was the coolest thing we had ever seen and grumbling that Mom and Dad were right about that one.

From what we have seen of the trailer, we like and think it looks promising. Indy is back and tougher than ever but he’s an aging adventurer as kicking bad guy arse is “not as easy as it used to be.”

While he looks great at 65 (we should look half as good when we hit his age) Harrison Ford was wise not to try to play it like the Indy of Raiders circa 1981.

Another Raiders flashback comes with the return of Karen Allen who played Indy’s love interest Marion Ravenwood from the original Raiders. Not only does the return of her character bring us all back full circle to the first film but quite simply, the other Indy films weren’t as good without her.

Why? Karen Allen’s Marion flawlessly played the damsel in distress who could also throw a punch and was every bit as tough as Indy. Ballsy and beautiful but not in an overt sex-pot kind of way—not unlike Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane from the Superman films. (Although pound for pound in a fair fight, we’re pretty sure that Marion could eat Lois’ lunch.)

Indy and Marion reportedly share a son together—that kid from Transformers Shia LaBeouf who will likely do a fair amount of the actiony stunt stuff to take the heat off of Papa Jones.

Since it takes place during the Cold War, it’s not the Nazis who are chasing Indy (Thank God….no more Nazis) but the Soviets—you know, the Godless Commies.

Assuming it is still in theatres come June—a safe bet as it has “blockbuster” written all over it—we plan to take Brianna The Girl Wonder to see it. She will be 7 years old when she comes home for a blessed summer visitation and we think she should experience the same wonder of seeing an Indy movie in the theatre as Grandpa FanBoyWonder did all those years ago.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend on Thursday, May 22..

See you at the movies.


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