When I heard there was going to be a new Indiana Jones movie many moons ago, I groaned. I was not happy with what Mr. Lucas did with the new Star Wars movies, and I just couldn’t see a new Indy movie being anything other than a train wreck.
I wanted it to be good the way you want a friend’s new romantic interest to work out. You just pull for it, no matter how many doubts you have. But when the topic came up I would groan, roll my eyes, cross my fingers, and recite a list of reasons why it just wasn’t a good idea.
When the first trailer went up on You Tube, I braced myself and clicked the link. New images that seemed familiar, a familiar fedora, then… “dun duh dun dun DUN DUH DUN” and I was GONE. Hooked. Sold. John Williams and his damned themes and I was a kid again with a bucket of popcorn in my lap watching Raiders on the big screen, grinning like a fool. Same grin watching that trailer. INDY WAS BACK! WOO HOO!
Characters like Indiana Jones transcend their makers. You can’t write someone like Indy, I can’t, nobody can. They come off the page and become part of the collective experience, larger and deeper and more real than any one scribe could make. Indy’s name wasn’t in the first movie title, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, but he’s headlined every one since and a TV show to boot. That’s why so many people (including moi) had such heartburn over the final Star Wars series. Lucas didn’t fully own those characters anymore, except in a courtroom. They are OURS. Like Indiana Jones, Dread Pirate Roberts, Rick Blaine, Charles Foster Kane, E.T., and others.
I can’t sit in the theater and watch Indiana Jones on the screen and get the slightest idea how to write a character that grand, but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, I’ll just curl up with my popcorn and enjoy.