When I was a kid, I had dreams of exploring long forgotten tombs, having adventures as I ran across the globe, beating bad guys on wondrous treasure hunts, and most important of all, doing all of this wearing a really cool hat. These lofty daydreams were entirely the product of having watched INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. Watching Harrison Ford play the archaeologist turned adventurer seek the Holy Grail with his motley crew is still to this day one of the most fun movie watching experiences I’ve had in my entire life. As such, the franchise has always held a special place in my heart in a way that very few films have managed to. Because I have such a fondness for the third film in particular (as it was the first film in the franchise I had ever seen), I was one of many who was sorely disappointed at the lackluster fourth film when it debuted back in 2008. It was disappointing to me that instead of going out on a high note with my favorite film in the series, the series ended with a film containing an excess amount of cartoonish CGI, nuking the fridge, and (sigh) aliens from another dimension. Don’t even get me started on the inter-dimensional aliens (seriously, why would you go the science fiction route when the entire series prior to this had revolved around mysticism and the supernatural? I don’t understand you, movie!). Well, fear not Indy fans, it sounds like Spielberg is going to take another crack at the series with Harrison Ford reprising his role! The Walt Disney Company released a statement on its website regarding the upcoming project:
Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.
“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”
Famed archaeologist and explorer Indiana Jones was introduced in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark – one of AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time – and later thrilled audiences in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The four films have brought in nearly $2 billion at the global box office.
This news comes as a pleasant surprise, as there were many rumors circulating around the internet that Chris Pratt would eventually be cast as the iconic Indy in the seemingly inevitable reboot of the franchise after the staggering success of JURASSIC WORLD at the box office. I find news of Kathleen Kennedy’s involvement as a producer particularly promising, as Kennedy’s influence in other Lucas Arts properties, mainly in the STAR WARS universe, have ultimately been to my liking. One has only to look at STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, the STAR WARS REBELS television series, and the upcoming ROGUE ONE to see that she has been instrumental in providing not only engaging stories within that world, but also stories that promote diversity and well-rounded female characters (with Hera and Rey being a few of my new favorites). Her work with Spielberg goes all the way back to ET THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, and has had her hand in producing so many of my favorite films that I’m almost inclined to implicitly trust any project with her name attached to it. The same can be said of the work of Frank Marshal and his extensive resume (almost anyway, they both were producers on the fourth film as well). The biggest concern I think on everyone’s mind is of course whether or not we’ll have another KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL on our hands with this next film.
So, should we be worried? Well, no, not really. It goes without saying that Steven Spielberg is one of the most talented directors of our time, and KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL was a reminder that even someone as successful as him can make mistakes every now and again. What gives me faith in this next project is that Spielberg seems to learn from his mistakes. He took full responsibility for “nuking the fridge” and the positive marks on his resume far outnumber the bad. Not to mention that the franchise in now completely under the Disney umbrella, and considering the drastic steps they took to take things back to basics in the STAR WARS franchise, I have no doubt that the next Indy film will feel like the original trilogy. However, I do think that if anything, the film may run the risk of being too much like the first one. THE FORCE AWAKENS was amazing, but even the most die-hard STAR WARS fan would probably agree that the plot is a little too derivative of the original, so what’s to say that Disney won’t swing too far in this direction with this next Indy film in a well meaning attempt to make up for the fourth film? Well, this is where I’m hoping that new ideas and experience with the franchise will ultimately come together in harmony so that this next film can be something new and engaging, but still feel like an INDIANA JONES film. Whether or not that’s what we’ll get is something only time will tell, but for now, I’m going to indulge my inner child for a moment and I hope you will too. I’m going to set aside my cynicism, grab my fedora, and hope for the best. After all, who knows? Adventure is out there, and anything can happen!
What do you think of the news? Are you ready to see if X marks the spot again, or will you be shutting your eyes as if someone just opened the Arc of the Covenant? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
Want more adventure? Check out the original trilogy on Amazon.com!