Main Page

Movie Marathon Preview: Indiana Jones

January 25, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

Student Activities could hardly be more excited than we are for our next Movie Night Marathon, as we present the original three Indiana Jones movies in the LaHaye Event Space on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, January 28-30. All showings will start at 8 p.m. and will be shown as follows:

  • Thursday, Jan. 28 - Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Friday, Jan. 29 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Saturday, Jan. 30 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

A recent podcast from the great folks at Christ & Pop Culture lamented the fact that there are a great deal of action movies available today, but not nearly as many adventures. Since action and adventure tend to get lumped together, this distinction is important. And lament is not too strong a term to use either. The current state of the movie industry allows for a James Bond or a Star Wars to show up here and there, but sadly, for every one of those, there seems to be three of The Expendables or The Transporter or The (Insert Superhero Name Here) movies. There is a remembrance of and longing for stories that involve great and perilous journeys through exotic locations, places that are felt and experienced, not just driven through, bullet-riddled, or blown to bits. We want the endearing nature and warmth of stories with action that results from the adventure, as opposed to stories that exist for the sake of action itself. Almost no movie or series of movies in the past 50 years define this like Indiana Jones.

Each of the Indiana Jones movies can stand alone. Even Temple of Doom, probably the least of the first three movies, was described by Roger Ebert as “not so much a sequel as an equal” to Raiders of the Lost Ark, the greatest of the three. Steven Speilberg managed to make each movie unique, an amazing accomplishment since two of them are primarily about beating up the Nazis. His lead-role choice of Harrison Ford, who was only a rising star at the time by no means a shoo-in for the part, is one of the great “what could have been” moments of movie history: we could very easily be talking about Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones today*. Thankfully, this never happened, and Harrison Ford gets to be one of the luckiest actors ever, one who is both Indiana Jones and Han Solo. This certainly benefited his portrayal of Dr. Jones, as one critic described that character as “part Sherlock Holmes (smart), part James Bond (suave), part Man With No Name (tough), and part Han Solo (lovable rogue)”. No one plays the lovable rogue better than Harrison Ford.

On one hand, Indiana Jones is an earthy, very real set of movies. All of the chases are on horseback, trucks, tanks, mine cars, or whatever other vehicle happens to be around. Indy travels through jungles and deserts, he gets dirty and covered in spider webs, and he gets punched a lot. Heck, he spends a good bit of his time just running away from people or things that are trying to kill him. Yet, all three movies have religious and supernatural elements as major plot points, incorporated so effortlessly, the movies would never work without them. (What else besides the power of God will defeat/melt the Nazis?) Despite his sarcastic and oftentimes sardonic demeanor, Doctor Jones, archaeologist, seems to assume the power of the Ark and the Holy Grail in Raiders and Last Crusade and the magic of the stones in Temple of Doom. Rogue or not, he is still a hero, and the hero has to keep such power from falling into the wrong hands, no matter how much danger it involves. The sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure elements of Indiana Jones combine everything we love about movies. They are as exciting, goofy, and repeatedly watchable a series of movies that have ever been made and we hope you will join us in viewing them next week.

*See Jamie Benning’s awesome “filmumentary” about Raiders - Tom Selleck screen test footage starts at 16:16.