Zeitgeist

Indiana Jones and the Legend of the Cold War

May 27, 2008

Multiple Pages

Indiana Jones was born in 1899 which would make him 102-year old on September 11, 2001 and which explains why he couldn’t be taking part in the war against Islamo-Fascism in 2008 in the new “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” that was released last week.

And that’s too bad. Just imagine a plot in which Osama bin Laden steals The Ark of the Covenant from Washington, DC—it has been apparently stored in a government warehouse there since 1936 after Indy had recovered it from the Nazis—and our professor is called out of retirement in some assistant living place for old dudes—and is on his way, on a wheel chair, hooked-up to an IV machine, taken care by a young nurse (Scarlett Johansson, please, please…) who is also equipped with several sets of disposable underwear and false teeth—to the Broader Middle East to fight Moslem terrorists.

This first Indiana Jones movie in 19 year could then become the first in The Old/Senile Indiana Jones Chronicles (In the next film, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets hold of the Holy Grail and old Indy runs over him with his walker). It could also provide for a lot of funny lines about “senior moments” (“Is Dr. Jones sleeping? Or is he dead?”) while Viagra and the McCain election campaign would probably do product placement. But unfortunately, the movie won’t reach the right demographic groups. Geezers  lose in the Box Office (and me hopes also in presidential elections).
So instead of playing a centurian in the new movie, Harrison Ford is a fifty-something kind-of-guy in the latest installment. Not a lot of senior moments yet for him. But the guy “matured,” although poor Karen Allen who plays his former GF and his future wife, Marion, and who is actually younger than Ford by nine years, looks more like his mom. Hollywood is certainly not very kind of aging actresses and female entertainers in general. And instead of the War on Terrorism, we are back in the good-old days of the Cold War, not as good as the Good War, but still, as the Crystal Skull demonstrates, quite a lot of fun.
Remember Greta Garbo as the female Soviet agent in “Ninotchka”? Cate Blanchett plays a similar role in the new Indy as Irina Spalko, a Russian operative who, following the orders of Uncle Joe, is after the Crystal Skull, a ancient artifact that could help the Soviets rule the world. John Hurt plays a professor of something who is actually a 110-year old. And then there is the very irritating Shia LaBeouf  (not relation to these guys) who plays Dr. Jones’ kid, “Mutt,” straight out of “Grease” and on a motorcycle, trying to do a parody of James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The guy really, really sucks, and I hope he doesn’t end up playing Indiana Jones III in the next film. Why didn’t they shoot him?

In any case, to make a long movie sound short, it’s basically a 50’s Retro (it supposed to take place in 1957). We can hear Elvis in the background and there are a lot of allusions to Sci-Fi B movies which were pre-occupied the extraterrestrial menace and with mushroom clouds that would end the world, which are the two major themes in this film that also recalls scenes from “Tarzan,” “Happy Days,” and other stuff that Steven Spielberg (who made the movie) enjoyed watching when he was growing up.

And the Reds/Commies are portrayed as dim-witted brutes whose quest for world domination is foiled by the American-led Coalition of the Willing, that includes also the E.T.’s, one fat Brit, and a group of indigenous people. And Professor Jones is even investigated by some FBI agents (one of whom looks like Roy Cohn) re his loyalty, and is blacklisted for a while. But all’s well that ends well. American Wins and Dr. Jones is reinstated at the university and is–not so good news for him–forced to marry the gal who looks like him mom.

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