Indiana Jones is arguably one of the best movie franchises ever created having entertained audiences for over three decades. The epic four-part movie series is based around the adventures of the handsome Dr Henry Walton, aka Indiana Jones in his archaeological quests. And is set for a return in 2022!
First hitting the screens in 1981 with the Raiders of the Lost Ark, fans have followed Indy on some dangerous voyages. Let’s remind ourselves of the journey so far and remember why we’re so excited for the next instalment.
We first meet the dashing Indiana Jones when US Government agents hire him in the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. He is tasked with taking on the Nazis in a quest to find the fabled ‘Ark of the Covenant’ which is rumoured to make the army that carries it invincible. This is a real one-man show with Indy using all of his knowledge and charm to beat an entire army to the discovery. Along the way, he recruits the help of his glamourous ex-lover Marion, as well as his close friend Sallah. After plenty of grim and dreadful traps, pitfalls, betrays, ambushes, and outcomes worse than death, Jones finds the Ark only to be kidnapped and lose the Ark to the Nazis. However, Indy still conquers. The Nazis are killed when the Ark is opened and by averting his eyes, Indy is safe. He saves Marion and returns to the US with the Ark, as a hero.
Indy was an instant hit and dubbed cooler than James Bond by fans. His cool, buccaneering style of exploring has gone on to inspire generations with the name Indiana Jones synonymous with adventure. Alongside the more widely known films and TV shows, his character is also featured in several novels and comics. And there are even Indiana Jones-themed attractions and appearances at Disney. His whip and fedora hat can be found across multiple different industries. Video game characters like Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and Rich Wilde from the “Book of Dead” slot game featured at sites found in the UK casinos list are truly paying homage to our beloved archaeologist. And there have been several official video games released by LucasArts throughout the years. In all likelihood, there are dozens of other forms of entertainment that have used Indiana Jones as their stimulus, and more will follow.
Following the great success of the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in 1981, the second in the series and a prequel to the first was released in 1984. The Temple of Doom was criticised for its more violent theme. However, it is one of our favourites in the series and a must-see classic! Creator George Lucas (Star Wars) and director Steven Spielberg later revealed the darker tone reflected their lives at the time, which is a pretty cool extra to know before you watch it. If you have seen it before, then this is the one where Indy searches for the mystical stone while saving a bunch of kids who have been kidnapped by an evil cult.
The third movie – ‘The Last Crusade’ hit the big screen in 1989. Many fans thought this was the end of the trilogy *spoiler – it’s not* because of its name. Lucas took a more light-hearted approach with this film, bordering on an adventure comedy. Indy takes on the Nazis once again, and again it is some religious crusade. He must discover the holy grail before the pesky Nazis. We also meet his estranged father, also named Henry, who Indy must now save. Of course, despite all the odds being against him, our hero Indy recovers the sacred relic and rescues his father in the process. Phew.
It took a further 19 years for the fourth film “the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ to be released, with Indy ageing by the same number of years. In this addition, the artefact that needs saving is that of a crystal skull. In a similar vein to movies 1 and 3, there is a light-hearted, tongue in cheek tone throughout. We meet Indy’s son Mutt Williams (who we grew to love), and our favourite adventurer finally gets to marry Marion who we meet in the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.
So, what next for Indy? Very little is known about what the fifth installment has in store for us, but we’re sure it will be something special. Harrison Ford will definitely play Indy (who else could?!), and Mutt Williams is also expected to feature. However, Spielberg has handed the whip over to another director. James Mangold (Walk the Line) is rumoured to be stepping up to the role, and we’re excited to see what new perspective he can give to the franchise. One thing is for sure, though – there will be an adventure! Let the countdown begin.
9/10 Indiana Jones Franchise