June 16, 2021

IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!

[Harrison] Ford is 78 years old, so naturally his age is showing. He’s hardly the same man he was when Indiana Jones was first introduced to the public in 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Of course, nobody is expecting him to be the young and vigorous Indiana Jones, but seeing a worn-out man wearing a regulatory pandemic mask fits all too poetically into our current age of malaise and lack of creativity.

Growing up in Bosnia (former Yugoslavia) and being completely obsessed with American culture and movies, I loved watching the adventures of Indiana Jones. Those repeated musical notes indicating Indy’s triumph over the bad guys (Nazis, to be precise), his leather jacket, fedora, and whip, his insistence that all the artifacts that he seeks “belong in a museum!”—all of these were part of my excitement as a young girl seeing the signs of American optimism. I still watch the movies and I still love them, despite the fact that now I can notice filming inconsistencies. None of it matters because the original trilogy captures the American spirit that destroys the bad guys.

Whether the latest “Indiana Jones” film will be good or not is beside the point. What’s interesting is that our artistic elite is not creating new forms of film, or any other art form for that matter, to capture that spirit. By no means am I denying the past, which we should always be aware of, but at some point, films like these become yet another journey into nostalgia and presumably (and mostly!) the search for more money.

The late Gene Siskel once wrote that for him, the test of a whether or not a movie was any good was, “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?” Unlike 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, hopefully the upcoming Raiders of the Lost Ark sequel will at least clear that low bar.

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