By now, you’ve probably seen these photos of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones on the set of Indy 5...
Sorry, but I can’t say I’m 100% excited. While these images have got me cautiously optimistic, they’ve also got me really worried.
What follows may be seen by some as controversial - perhaps even heretical - but here goes…
I’m hoping that 78-year-old Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is NOT the main star of this movie.
As you know, I LOVE the original Indiana Jones trilogy… but when Crystal Skull came out, all the “jokes” in it about Indy’s advanced age made me a bit sad. Of course, that was just one of many things in it that made me sad, but I couldn’t help feeling, many times during the film, that the character was just too old for a lot of the things he was being asked to do. The movie then bizarrely addressed this by making him virtually invincible.
“Invincible?” you say, “Really?”
Yes, really. He runs, he jumps, he fights, he wins. He evades or beats the bad guys every time, and he never gets injured, he never gets tired.
By hiding in a fridge.
I have nothing further, Your Honor.
The character of Indiana Jones was far more human in Raiders, 27 years earlier. And that’s one of the things we all love about Indy; he’s human! He gets bruised, he bleeds, he gets tired… he hurts! He has faults and foibles; he’s fallible.
In real life, when you get older, you become less athletic, not more athletic! But the 65-year-old Indy we meet in Crystal Skull was virtually bulletproof, dispatching villains half his age, one third of his age, without even breaking a sweat. He was just a couple of steps short of being a superhero.
That’s not our man. That’s not the Henry Jones Junior we know and love.
Which brings me to Indy 5. My great fear is that this movie will have Indy doing just as much running, jumping, fighting and stunt work as he did in Crystal Skull.
13 years ago.
Back when he was just 65.
He’s 78 now.
78 years old. 78.
I just looked it up, and Harrison Ford is 4 MONTHS OLDER THAN JOE BIDEN!
Surely that’d stretch the audience’s suspension of disbelief beyond its limits, even in such a heightened universe as the Indiana Jones franchise. One of the things I always loved about these movies was that, despite their exoticism and melodrama, they were always grounded in reality. They played out in real places, alongside real events, in the real 20th century. If Indy 5 could bring some of that real world grittiness back into the franchise, after the vapid grownups-playing-dress-ups, alien-hunting silliness of Crystal Skull, it’d be a big step in the right direction.
And I think that although Indiana Jones should be the star of the upcoming movie, Harrison Ford should not.
What I’d really love to see is 78-year-old Indy bookending the start and the end of the film.
In a perfect world, here’s what I’D like to see in Indy 5…
We join 78-year-old Indy half way through an adventure concerning an artefact that has a very personal history for him. It’s an elusive prize that slipped through his fingers 50 years ago, and it’s haunted him ever since. This artefact does something dramatic, destructive and supernatural every 50 years. It happened back then, and it’s about to happen again now. For 78-year-old Indy, it’s a race against time to stop it. He needs to utilize every scrap of his life experience; everything he’s learned from a lifetime of amazing adventures. But most importantly, he needs to use everything he learned from the last time he went after this powerful object; way back in 1928, when he was just 28 years old…..
Then, the middle section of the film is THAT adventure. It’s 1928, and the new young actor to play 28-year-old Indy has his very own adventure here, which takes up the middle hour of the movie. As this adventure ends, the artefact slips through 28-year-old Indy’s fingers, and we dissolve back to the “present day”, where 78-year-old Indy completes the adventure, and defeats / destroys / neutralises the artefact by drawing on all his accumulated knowledge, wisdom and resourcefulness… and by using just a small dash of age-appropriate stunt work / ass-kicking too.
The Indiana Jones universe is no stranger to this ‘bookending’ story format; they did it in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of The Blues. What I’m proposing here is the same principle, but done much bigger and way, way better.
I think this structure would be a great way to set the franchise up for more movies, and for Harrison to pass the baton to the next fresh young actor to play the role. My choice would be Anthony Ingruber, who has already played a younger version of Harrison in The Age of Adaline...
Then, future Indiana Jones movies can be made, featuring the 20-something / 30-something Indiana Jones having adventures in the 1930s…. all of which will unfold (and this is important) with Harrison’s blessing.
Of course, I’m just daydreaming here, but that’s what I’d like to see.
And I’m certain that’s not what we’re gonna get. I suspect that a more-athletic-than-is-humanly-possible-for-a-78-year-old Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones WILL be the all-action hero of this film, and he'll be on the screen most of the time.
So there they are, for what it's worth; My Thoughts On, Reservations About and Hopes For Indy 5…
What are yours?