Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest holidays for movies and this year we get to see the return of the bad-ass, flawed, fedora, leather jacket and bull whip-wearing anti-hero archaeologist from our (my) childhood: An homage to a bygone era long before I was born, where cliffhanger matinées ruled the bijou and Hollywood was more focused on entertaining audiences than just separating them from their wallets.
This is the weekend (starting today, of course) that Hollywood dusts off and shines up a little bit of its long-tarnished golden age and brings back some of that charm that has been lost for the past few decades.
This weekend, dear readers marks the triumphant return of Indiana Jones.
As long-time readers of Media Morgue know, I have been pretty critical of the steps taken to bring this to the big screen. From numerous script re-writes and frustrated directors, to cast editions (and more importantly casting omissions) title decisions and blabbermouth bit-part extras, this has been a long road to home. So now that it's finally here, Its safe to say that I'm more than just a little excited (and nervous) at the possibilities.
I can remember walking into my local flea-bag, one screen, sticky-floored theater, leaning into the squeaking, velvet-lined, uncomfortable as-all-Hell seat and being transported away, watching the intrepid hero frantically outrun a tribe of dart-blowing natives in some Amazonian jungle. To me Indiana Jones epitomizes the stereotypical action hero. Someone you wanted to be (and I have a few bullwhip scars to proove it) or at the very least have as your next door neighbor. So to have Lucas and Speilberg (Lucasberg?) crack open the dusty books one more time for our reluctant, square-jawed explorer, I am mixed with both excitement and trepidation.
My first thought when hearing about bringing back Dr. Jones one more time was, "Oh god, please don't screw this one up, fellas." For far too long my dreams and aspirations of what I consider entertainment has been dashed upon the rocks of mediocrity. Far too many times have I hoped for something fantastic, only to be supremely disappointed by the images flickering on the screen ("Speed Racer," is but the latest glaring example of this). So it is with a certain, justifiable amount of paranoia that I approach what I consider to be one of my most cherished childhood memories.
But from what I can tell from the trailer and from the early reviews I have been feeverishly devouring as soon as they are posted online, is that this film delivers.I have a feeling that Lucasberg (I'm coining that name from now on) are playing to audience members nostalgia for the previous films, but frankly as long as it delivers the way it looks to in the trailer, I'm OK with it.
Look, Indy is not for everyone. Some people think that its too comic book. That its too far-fetched. But that is precisely why it works. Of course its comic book! But its done in a way that actually relies on story, character development and pacing that Lucasberg historically know a thing or two about. Its camp. Its adventure. And its pure, unabashed, cinematic fun.
Will this film be bigger than Iron Man? I dont know. All I DO know is that all you have to do is play John Williams theme and I'll be there, a box of red vines and large Sprite in hand, sitting in a darkened theater, impatiently waiting to be transported one last time.
I may even wear my fedora in the theater just to annoy the people behind me.