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The Adventures of Adventure Man

Banes at 12:00AM, June 29, 2023

This wasn't the official poster, but the teaser poster, for the Last Crusade. There was a giant
version of it in my local theater before the movie came out. Excitement unbound at the time!

My earliest clear memory of Indiana Jones - or one of his movies - was in a MAD Magazine one-pager. It was actually a fold-out poster that i had hanging on my wall - it was a picture of Indiana Jones in a cavern, looking back at a gigantic threatening object behind him.

Of course, being MAD, this wasn't the boulder that appears in Raiders of the Lost Ark - the title of this page was “Raiders of the Lost Socks” and it was a giant sweatsock. I think I vaguely knew about the actual movie before that, but like I said, that MAD page is my earliest CLEAR memory.

We loved Raiders of the Lost Ark at my house - and I do remember the commercials for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Oh my lord, was I excited. It was an epic preview, and the line “if adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones!” was earth-shatteringly exciting to me.

I watched the commercial again on YouTube many years later when I thought to look it up, and it didn't have the impact it used to.

It was a different world back then. And I was a different person, being a kid. But I can still get plenty excited about a great story or great preview.

My high school friend was just as obsessed with movies as me (probably more) and every time I went to his house for lunch, we watched the Temple of Doom on BetaMax (or as much of it as we had time to watch before heading back to school). We never got tired of it.

Anyway, I went to the Last Crusade on opening night. All three movies meant a lot to me. I had an Indy hat that was my prized possession. I imagined myself being Indiana Jones all the time. The coolest character in the coolest movies, played by the coolest actor on the planet.

The fourth chapter came out many years later, and I was definitely different, and the world was VERY different by then. But I was certainly excited to see it. For whatever reason, it wasn't a lot of people's cup o' tea (or plate o' dates). I only saw it once, but of course I saw it.

And now, something like fifteen years after THAT, I'm probably different again, and the world is different - and the new movie is not getting great reviews. There's a lot of baggage around big movies these days, and a lot of chatter and knowledge that didn't exist back in the day (or at least, most of us didn't know about it).

I'm not super interested in a new chapter - But having written this, I realize that I AM gonna go see it, probably this weekend when it opens.
If nothing else, it still stars Harrison Ford, and he's still the coolest guy on the planet. I'll go see him as Indy any time he does it!

Hey, I found an image of that old MAD poster! Great times.

This post was intended to be about Indy's character arc during the first four movies, but I got off on a ramble.

So I guess this was the Indiana Jones ramble post.

See you next time!

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bravo1102 at 2:24AM, June 30, 2023

"If Adventure has a name it must be Indiana Jones." Junior year of high school so I could drive myself to the movie theater. Had always loved old time adventure serials, so I knew the ins and outs and how Indy would bust cliches. It was meta right from the beginning for genre savvy folks and I ate it up while waiting for the next Star Wars film. And Harrison needed a good movie after Force 10 from Navarone and Hanover Street (both of which I loved but were soundly hated by everyone else)

KAM at 12:36PM, June 29, 2023

My first memory of Indy was probably the commercial which showed some of the opening sequence and I joked that "and then it builds to a climax". And then it turned out I was right.

EssayBee at 11:23AM, June 29, 2023

Huge Indy fan, and I feel like one of the few who enjoyed Crystal Skull (and thoroughly enjoyed the Young Indy series when it aired). Sure, Crystal Skull wasn't as good as the previous three, but it was still a fun adventure (and the fridge escape cracked me up--no more ridiculous than the raft escape in Temple of Doom), and I thought it did a good job of mixing "old school" Indy adventure "serials" with the 1950s period-specific sci-fi schlock. From what I've read about Dial of Destiny, it sounds like it's about growing up and trying to find your place in a world that has moved on, so perhaps it's a bit more introspective than the previous escapist adventures (and perhaps a bit meta from fans', film's, and Harrison Ford's perspective).

PaulEberhardt at 8:40AM, June 29, 2023

I almost forgot: adventure stories have always had a strong link with colonialism and its ideas of exploration and encountering "the Other". The blueprint has been established by people like Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad and to some extent Rudyard Kipling, or those who wrote the "Boys' Own Books", and you can see the influence in Indiana Jones everywhere, as he is a very old-school adventure hero, complete with the contrast of the refined academic at home and the hands-on badass at the last white spots on the maps. In the name of science he bravely puts his own life at stake and even risks "going native", which people around him all but accuse him of. This type of old-school hero won't really work any time later than WW2 (which also gives writers the Nazi bonus to contrast good intruders and bad intruders in other cultures), not if you just want a plain, gripping story without having everyone endlessly questioning the good, morally sound intentions of your hero all the time.

PaulEberhardt at 8:17AM, June 29, 2023

I don't think I'll watch the new one, though, unless friends or family make me. It might not be this same old beating a dead horse thing we get to see so often these days, but I'm tired of taking chances with this. Harrison Ford is one of my favourite actors, but he's 80 for god's sake! Please someone tell me he didn't let them talk him into playing someone half as old. Archaeologists tend to retire as long as people can still tell them from the finds they dig up. ... Right. Now I hope there is some room left for me in the ramblers' association here. ;)

PaulEberhardt at 8:11AM, June 29, 2023

Let's see... my earliest encounter with Indiana Jones must have been a parody, too, and I remember a novelization whose first ten pages were great and the rest put you to sleep really quickly. When I first watched the original movies on TV I could see how they must have been awe-inspiring in every respect at the time, and what with the way they are staged at a point in the past when colonialism was still a thing, they aged well. Only, as marcorossi said, everyone and their grandma had copied it and its tropes and its imagery, and when watching them and finding the plot a bit dull underneath the cool over-the-top action and settings, I always knew I was underappreciating a great bit of cinema history.

marcorossi at 4:15AM, June 29, 2023

IMHO Indiana Jones was very innovative when it come out, because it had a much faster rhythm than movies of the time, much more dynamic shots etc. However after many years that kind of filmmaking became more common, so today if you look at it it will not look very fast-paced or dynamic. In some sense it become a victim of its own success, everyone copied it so it is not special anymore. I'm still going to watch the next movie though (and perhaps the Saint Seya one, I'm in the mood for nostalgic and not necessarily high quality stuff).

dpat57 at 12:54AM, June 29, 2023

Rambling authorized! I'm surprised there aren't giant statues of the guy who played Indy and also Han, all around the world. Let's start a religion!

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