Higher Movies: Indiana Jones and the Movie of Doom

by Stan Lemon

Twenty years in the making, with who knows how many scripts rejected and with more publicity and hype than anything else this summer, the fourth installment of Indiana Jones has to be a must see movie, right? Try again…

Harrison Ford’s latest train wreck plagues one of the greatest cinematic stories of all time. Everybody loves the heroic save-the-day Indy, who first entered screens in Raiders of the Lost Ark, sent by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, you know the one Moses was given. The bad guys are none other than the Nazis, who are in search of the same Ark because of its supposedly mystical powers.

Fast forward three years and we meet a sloppy sequel, The Temple of Doom. This one made a better stunt show at Disney then it did a movie, as Indy wanders to a distant Indian village where children are disappearing. It ends up that some freaky heart-stealing guy named Mola Ram is the culprit. Indy saves the day of course, with some great stunts, a hot girl, and little Chinese sidekick.

Five more years and we find an attempt to salvage the Indiana Jones legacy, and how are all great trilogies saved in the 80’s? With Sean Connery! The Last Crusade is an excellent conclusion to the Indiana Jones series, with Indy and his father seeking out the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Of course, the de-facto bad guys, the Nazis, are after it as well. Connecting well to the movie that introduced Indy we find these bad guys once again seeking some mysterious power buried in antiquity.

Indiana Jones threw the Jews a bone and then the Christians too, so it only seems natural that the fourth movie would also throw some other religion a bone and give them center stage. Who, though, would have guessed the atheists would have taken the day? [spoilers to follow]

No “God” in this one, just little green men. Taking place some 20 years after the first film, Dr. Jones faces a new enemy, the Soviets. With the Nazi regime gone, the movie needed another evil world power to battle Indiana Jones and with Harrison Ford’s aging the Soviets were the right fit. Once again they seek some hidden source of power buried within antiquity.

Having been to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and India we really only had a couple of choices left… This mystery leads us to South America where the Soviets and Indy are searching for a hidden city of gold. With some hokey twists and turns Indy, his son (played by Shia LeBeouf ), Marion Ravenwood (remember her from Raiders of the Lost Ark) and some other people who are pretty much trivial to the plot go in search of a crystal skull in the depths of the Amazon.

The movie ends with the crystal skull belong to an alien, one of thirteen we find out from a trans-dimensional reality or some nonsense like that. A movie which started in Roswell with the Soviets ends with Indy sending the little green men off. Of course the whole time our martian friends are portrayed as some kind of demi-god. Sounds strange to you?

The movie stunk, what else can be said? When Indy was Indy you could enjoy the film, but eventually you realized that not enough stunt devils, fill-ins and CGI could make Harrison Ford 20 years younger. Throw in some cheesy dialogue, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and you’ve got a bad fourth episode to an awesome saga.

What’s most disheartening about the film is the direction it took, the little green men. Our society is so infatuated with concocting a reality where God doesn’t exist that we should have expected it. But, who counts on archaeology going to space? This Godless movie couldn’t possibly give us a good spin if we tried, and worse yet is the fact that Indy’s not even so heroic this time around to find a Christological connection in him. It’s just that bad.

If I were you, spare yourself the ticket – this one is best reserved for the Red Box or Netflix – it’s not even worth OnDemand-ing! Maybe when it’s goes to $.99 at the Family Video… Instead, go out and see Ironman, that’s what I did to redeem my summer cinema experience. Let’s hope Harrison Ford retires after this one, because I’m sending him and Lucas a whole grove of Lemon trees – that’s how sour Indy 4 was! 

Stan Lemon lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Sara and his dog Ivan and serves as the Higher Things Webmaster. When he grows up, he wants to be just like Pastor Borghardt! (a Texan) 

Created: May 26th, 2008