Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 21 January 2017

Indiana Jones and the Four Film Challenge

In which G.M. Norton embarks on a four night adventure.

This week I had an overwhelming urge to watch Indiana Jones, so I did just that.

Rather than just watch one film, I decided to go full pelt, all or nothing, and watch the entire film canon. So on Monday, I began with Raiders of the Lost Ark, followed by Temple of Doom on Tuesday, The Last Crusade on Wednesday and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Thursday (apologies, it’s all going a bit Craig David there).
I love these outstanding, ripping adventure yarns that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg so ably crafted. Indiana Jones is the perfect hero; wise-cracking and whip-cracking, intelligent but strong, brave but still scared of snakes. The films are so memorable, with fast action sequences following, one after the other. These film adventures really do have it all – an intrepid protagonist, exotic locations, deadly traps and villains – making them perfect fodder to forget the humdrum of real life.

I thought I’d share some of my random thoughts that ran through my mind during this movie marathon.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Basic plot: Indiana Jones is tasked by government officials to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis, fearing that it will make them invincible. 
  1. His clothes are so iconic, yet in this first film, Indiana doesn’t seem to wear his leather jacket a great deal.
  2. If Marion ever challenges you to a drinking contest, you will lose and be under the table quite literally.
  3. Zippo lighters are dangerous if left unattended. 
  4. Never eat dates. They’re all bad.
  5. Don't attempt your escape using a butter knife as a weapon.
  6. If Indy tells you to close your eyes, do what he says.
Marion: “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.”
Indiana: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”

Temple of Doom (1984)
Basic plot: Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to recover a mystical stone that was stolen.
  1. This is set in 1935, a year before Raiders. I wonder why? 
  2. The opening scenes in the Shanghai restaurant is all a bit Casablanca with Harrison in his ivory dinner jacket. I’d have liked more of this. 
  3. Indiana Jones seems to be very famous. 
  4. The car driven by Short Round, is just stunning. A 1934 Duesenberg Auburn convertible. 
  5. Chilled monkey brains for dessert doesn’t seem appetising at all.
  6. If you’re keen to see Harrison Ford’s naked torso, this is the film for you.
Willie: “Aren’t you gonna introduce us?”
Lao Che: “This is Willie Scott; this is Indiana Jones, a famous archaeologist.”
Willie: “Well I always thought that archaeologists were always funny looking men going around looking for their mommies.”
Indiana Jones: “Mummies.”

The Last Crusade (1989)
Basic plot: Indiana Jones battles with the Nazis once again, this time in search for the Holy Grail. This allows for some father and son bonding. 
  1. Don’t tie Indy to a chair, he’s always going to escape. The villains of the piece clearly hadn’t watched Raiders. 
  2. Zippo lighters are dangerous if left unattended. 
  3. I couldn’t help noticing that Harrison looked a lot older towards the end of this. Perhaps he’s just tired after a whirlwind few years of saving the Empire and searching for lost treasures. 
  4. Sean Connery provides some genuinely funny moments. 
  5. Excellent advice that you should always carefully check when choosing a cup to drink from. 
  6. Indiana isn’t the protagonist’s real name. Fancy that.

Indiana Jones: “It’s disgraceful, you’re old enough to be her...her grandfather.”
Professor Henry Jones: “Well, I’m as human as the next man.”
Indiana Jones: “Dad, I was the next man.”
Professor Henry Jones: “Oh...ships that pass in the night.”

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Basic plot: Indiana Jones is pitted against Soviet agents, in search of a telepathic crystal skull. Once again, it allows for some more father and son bonding.
  1. This time, it’s the Russians rather than Nazis that are the villains of the piece.
  2. Cate Blanchett's Russian accent is hit and miss. 
  3. Indy hasn’t lost his ability with a whip. 
  4. I was surprised that an adventurer doesn’t carry his own pocket knife.
  5. After an 18 year gap between films, Harrison Ford can still cut it as the action hero. 

Marion: “Mutt can be a little impetuous.”
Indiana Jones: “Well, it’s not the worst quality in the world.”
(Indy and Marion sink further into the ground)
Indiana Jones: “Keep your arms above the surface. When the kid comes back, grab on.”
Marion: “Indy, he...”
Indiana Jones: “He’s a good kid, Marion. You should get off his back about school.”
Marion: “Mutt, I mean...”
Indiana Jones: “Not everybody is cut out for it.”
Marion: “His name is Henry!”
Indiana Jones: “Henry. Good name.”
Marion: “He’s your son.”
Indiana Jones: “My son?”
Marion: Henry Jones the III.
Indian Jones: “Why the hell didn’t you make him finish school?”

Final thoughts 
  1. John Williams’ film scores are exhilarating and really stirs the old blood. 
  2. How on earth did Indiana keep hold of his hat? 
  3. Kate Capshaw, who played Willie in Temple of Doom, later married Steven Spielberg. 
  4. They’re all really rather splendid, but for me, Raiders will always be the best of the series. 
G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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