It has recently come to light that there will be a fifth Indiana Jones film, as producer Frank Marshall announced, pending a proper script . George Lucas, as always, is involved as producer, and tangentially with stories and characters, but there's no reason we can't start early on giving a helping hand. Here's how we can get this franchise back on the road to respectability. First we'll tackle casting, then we'll hit up the broader issues.
5. Harrison Ford Might Have to Go Cameo.
Sure, he looks amazing for his age, but our dear Indiana Jones could be almost 70 years old by the time the final film is finished. Let's face it, as Harrison Ford himself once quipped, Indy is getting old enough to play his own father. As Jones settled down to teaching and was married at the end of the last film, could he take on an advisory role in the adventures to follow? Panicked phone calls from Mutt Williams to Indiana at home with the wife seem implausible, but if they were to make a sixth film, Shia LeBeouf might have to carry the majority of cinematic weight.
4. Luck Be a Lady Tonight.
It was nice to see Karen Allen back. And Cate Blanchett phoning in a Russian accent was big fun for a few minutes. But we're going to need a legitimate female balance for Shia to play off of. Don't worry, I've already got it covered. Rachel McAdams. Once you see her in Sherlock Holmes you'll realize she's a dame of the highest order. Let her and Shia bicker and fight, allowing the tension to be placed back on the relationships (instead of the story).
3. Speaking of Casting, Let's Get Shia LeBeouf a Little More Help.
LeBeouf's allegedly one of the hottest young stars in Hollywood, with a successful franchise such as Transformers, even though only a few years ago young LeBeouf was a Disney child star. But today, whether he's mincing around with Megan Fox, or giving weird interviews wherein he joyfully admits to being an alcoholic, one can almost feel the general public becoming over-Shia'd. His role in Crystal Skull consisted mainly of making tough faces and being an upstart. So let's get him some help besides McAdams. Make him a part of team again, but this time with an established actor who can pass and shoot. John Krasinski, anyone? The trio set-up has been handled well in past Indy films in addition to the recent Indiana Jones knock-offs, the first two Mummy films. Krasinski, McAdams, and Shia. I'm starting to feel better about this thing.
2. The Crystal Skull Was A Betrayal. Scrap the Mythology.
The infamous scene in Crystal Skull that had Indiana Jones climbing into a refrigerator to escape a nuclear blast was so preposterous that it spawned a new phrase. "Nuke the fridge" came to mean the same thing as "Jump the shark," which is widely used to describe when a show or franchise has wrung every last bit out of its premise and the plot becomes absolutely inane. Many people felt that Crystal Skull had done just that, with a grown man climbing into a tiny refrigerator to escape a tremendously damaging radioactive fallout nuclear explosion. This was just one in a firestorm of nonsense, along with the martial-arts wielding ancient people, the alien spaceships ... the list goes on and on. George Lucas has already proven himself incapable of understanding, but Spielberg should have known better. This next go-round they need to head back to boulders chasing Indy. No, it's not realistic either, but it is the established mythos.
The original three films are memorable, intriguing, and delightful in their strict adherence to making the most mundane discipline, archeology, sexy and interesting. As a new kind of archeologist, Indiana Jones was exciting as he used both his immense knowledge of history, languages, and other miscellany alongside his brawn and powerful physical abilities. Indiana Jones was the whole man -- intelligence, strength, and sex appeal. Crystal Skull is an utter abandonment of this, in the final moments it resorts to a blatant disregard for the basis and foundation of the films that came before. The alien ending has nothing to do with archeology, or Indiana Jones' ability to prove his mettle and out-wit or out-run danger, but rather with a twist that no one could have foreseen or predicted. Red-handed sleight of hand at best, and disappointing indifference for the occupation and essential qualities of Indiana Jones at worst. Let's just pretend it never happened and go back to the dust and boots quality of the first three. Adios, Sci-Fi!
1. The Culture of Camp has Passed.
This point is the most complicated to explain. The original films were silly, a bit campy in their simplistic views of good and evil, but that's what made them great in that time and that place. Things are different now. We're far too cynical as a nation to look upon Indiana Jones with the wide-eyed fervor and adoration that we once mustered. We've given up on ever getting to know our neighbors, and films like that are long departed from our national lexicon. Even James Bond has been forced to streamline and lose the campy factor in favor of a darker Bond. The new Bond is more in touch with our times and the modern mind, something that Crystal Skull failed at miserably. There is a way to reinvent without losing sight of the things that made Indiana Jones great, without destroying the joy and the thrilling adventure of it all, but Crystal Skull felt stuck. They've got to lose the CGI, get back to the basics, and make a film that can stand with the rest of them. Go dark, early and often, Temple of Doom or people's heads on fire (Raiders of the Lost Arc) style. It's the only way to make the light and grinning end worthwhile.
Which change would you support first?