Indiana Jones And The Spectacular Franchise

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Tom Pheby goes searching for fortune and glory.

It's been rumoured for some time, but finally last week Disney's Chairman Bob Iger confirmed that there will indeed be a new Indiana Jones movie.
"Indiana Jones, by the way, will be coming..."
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have given us numerous cinematic treats, together and individually, but none greater than Indiana Jones, or more specifically 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's an appreciation and indulgence that revisits a golden age of film and replicates its style and delivery.

One other central player is equally responsible for its success - Harrison Ford. Thankfully, in October, franchise producer Frank Marshall stated that Ford is the only man in contention for the whip and fedora.
"We're not doing the Bond thing where we're going to call somebody else Indiana Jones"
Good job too, as no-one else could quite portray the heroic archaeology professor quite the same way. In his debut outing as Dr. Jones, Ford bought enthusiasm, energy and a sense of humour to the role. These are qualities that may seem almost alien to him these days, but back then with Indy and Han Solo on his CV, he was the go to guy for mischief, sarcasm and a smile.

Ford's passport takes a bashing in Raiders of the Lost Ark as he goes in search of the long lost Ark, a relic which supposedly has awesome powers for those that possess it. His journey takes him through Egypt, Africa and Nepal, where he faces the menace of the Nazis and tries to prevent global destruction and a new world order. Spielberg used this lighter opportunity to poke fun at the Nazis and make them look preposterous and inept in such a way that you forget the enormity of their dark deeds, but at least he later went on to make Schindlers List which readdressed the balance on that score.

Raiders is not subtle or original but it manages to milk every drop out of the senses and engages you to such a degree that you want to purchase a hat, leather coat and a whip as the end titles roll. Even after all this time, its simplicity is its beauty, it doesn't focus on one thing for too long, nor does it attempt to delve into the intricacies of the characters or confuse with additional sub plots. No, what you see is what you get, and what you get is sublime. You are quite literally swept along on a tidal wave of relentless action that involves planes, boats, trains and motorbikes. There are villains by the lorry load, unsavoury characters, beautiful woman and snakes.

There is a charm to the Indiana Jones films, and although the sequels didn't hit quite the same heights as Raiders, they are all something to be savoured and cherished, old friends that you invite into your living room and who always realise your expectations (mmmaybe not all of The Crystal Skull). They cover the globe, fire up the imagination and leave you feeling compelled to go into a deep, dark hole in search of antiquities, leap across a chasm or dodge flying spears.

All this with a splendid, rousing soundtrack from the brilliant John Williams. Whenever the action needs to find a new gear, up pops the theme. When Indy recovers a relic, runs off whilst being chased or is in extreme peril, the theme is reassuringly on hand punctuating the film like a tailors needle.

I'll throw this in just for fun...

Just like that parody. there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout the series of films. Not complex gags or corny lines but subtle or unexpected jokes. Remember when Indy is confronted by the huge swordsman in the market place? He simply takes out a gun and shoots him without making a fuss. Any other film might have taken up three pages of script or attempted to make it a visual spectacle, not Indiana Jones, it had to be different and lead from the front.

Indiana Jones is a spectacular franchise of movies. One which has simply never been equaled in entertainment terms, and they remain in my list of favourite films of all time. Hopefully, just as The Force Awakens has done with the original Star Wars trilogy, the new Indiana Jones film manages to recapture the magic and present us with another first class tale of fortune and glory.

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter

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