Larger than life ~ characters we love

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.

About Jeff Moriarty

A dabbler in many arts, from Ignite Phoenix to Improv, and from Information Security to Screenwriting. Jeff loves creating new things, and tries his hand at many forms of writing from screenplays to prose. He pontificates on his personal blog, and helps authors get their works online.


  1. maddoganchorite says

    enjoyed your review, i actually liked the starwars movies. i mean the prequels, but hey, i guess that makes my opinion not worth anything to you. 😛 anyway, good job with the review, it was very well written.

  2. maddoganchorite says

    i only disagree with your george lucas rant. i actually like the guy, but that makes my opinion wrong doesnt it? 😛

  3. Hey, different opinions are what make discussions interesting! Thanks for leaving a comment, and leave another any time you think any of us are wrong (or even if we get one right!) 😉

  4. interesting notion of allowing a character to come to life.

    I think tho, you need to retain some form of ownership or responsibility over your characters to ensure the stay true to themselves.

    Like a child bounced from foster home to foster home, i think characters like indy need to be cared for by someone who wants the best for the character and will not force them to change who they are.

  5. @Harry – I’m not saying that a creator loses his ownership entirely over a character that becomes an icon, but that he does lose some of the ownership to the people. Does it really matter what comes after “Indiana Jones and the…” in the title?

    The generation that grew up watching Indiana Jones loves him, and that gives Lucas and Spielberg have an obligation beyond the normal.

  6. isn’t it amazing how John Williams wrote so many of the scores for the movies we love? How consistently superb his work is? The guy’s incredible!