Article originally posted on the website abnersjournal.com, you can read it here
WELCOME to another installment of "The Reboot Awakens", your weekly update for all news, rumors and speculation on Indiana Jones 5.
Here it is, Episode 4. Feel free to take the discussion over to the Forum after reading and remember... anything goes.
INDY FIVE: THE REBOOT AWAKENS
EPISODE 4: SATURDAY MORNINGS
APRIL 13, 2015
Thanks for joining us for another installment of "The Reboot Awakens". Last week I went through my choices for CASTING the main roles in Disney's new Indiana Jones film. If you have not read Episode 3, you can do so here. This week is all about nostalgia as we look at one way Disney could sell the idea of a new Indy to a younger audience.
BUT FIRST, THE WEEK THAT WAS
Nothing in the way of official news has been released this week from Disney, but who cares, check out these great finds.
- If you tried searching for any Indiana Jones news this week, odds are you came across the video "Indiana Jones in Real Life", close to three minutes of amazing footage that shows a group of people being chased down by a human-sized hamster ball, recalling the boulder that chases Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Created by Devin Graham and his team over at youtube.com/devinsupertramp the video was filmed in Rotorua, New Zealand and features inflatables provided by the Zorb company. If you have not seen it, head here to watch it now, it's hilarious!
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are trying their hand at a new web series called Academy Originals and one of their episodes features an Indiana Jones cartoon entitled "THE STORY BEHIND THE EPIC BRIDGE EXPLOSION IN THE TEMPLE OF DOOM". "One Take George" Gibbs describes the complexities surrounding the bridge scene in the films finale here.
- 2 fantastic blog posts this week: the first, "Fun with Franchises: Our Favorite Images from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (read it here); the second, "Breaking Down Character: Indiana Jones" (read it here).
- Staff Writer for buzzfeed.com, Keely Flaherty (@flahertykeely), has put together a list of "53 Fascinating Facts About "Indiana Jones" You Probably Never Knew". Read it here.
- If you have not heard the bi-weekly Indiana Jones podcast at The Indycast, do yourself a favor and go listen, they just released Episode 209!
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
I have to admit, I was very lucky to have grown up in the eighties. Being a child of that era, I had the privilege to be a part of what some consider is the golden age of television animation. Not only were they still broadcasting classics of the Hanna-Barbera Productions like Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, just to name a few; but we also witnessed a glorious surge of anime from Japan studios with cartoons like Speed Racer, Voltron, Transformers and G.I. Joe. The list goes on and on: He-Man, Super Friends, Thundercats. As we barreled into the nineties we got the Disney Afternoon's lineup (Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin, Duck Tales, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers) and Fox's Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men.
I don't know about kids these days, they do seem to have a lot more distractions than we did. I grew up with Atari and Nintendo NES, and the cord on my phone couldn't reach my bedroom until I was fourteen. Still, I remember my brother and I knowing the exact time and day all of the shows listed above came on, what channel they were shown on, and we made damn sure we were sitting down and comfortable to watch them. Now I can't believe that kids today and a hell of a lot of adults don't still do that. Just look at the recent success of Star Wars Rebels, and cartoons like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls. Some things are timeless, like ice cream and baseball. They might hit some rough patches where their popularity slips. But they will always be a part of our life, they will always be around. They are constants. Cartoons are no different.
Many of you are probably asking what this all has to do with Indiana Jones, it is a blog for the movie series after all. Well, I wanted to talk a little bit about branding and marketing the franchise in this episode by concentrating on one particular outlet, an animated series. Disney will surely go down this road, the question remains is: what will the cartoon look and feel like? Will they go the route of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and make a 3D CGI series, or will they create a show using classic animation techniques? What age group should they direct the series towards? Should the cartoon be more Temple of Doom, or more Last Crusade? I'm going to try to get through these ideas and more on this week's episode but first, ladies and gentlemen, I want you take a long hard look at the wonderful image below from the brilliant Patrick Schoenmaker...
A LITTLE ABOUT THE ARTIST
PATRICK SCHOENMAKER is a character designer and animator, based in the Netherlands. Words alone cannot do justice to the hard work and imagery that this artist has produced. I recommend everyone to go and check out the galleries of his official website here, his blog here, and his deviantart site here.
The beautiful piece shown at the top of the page, entitled Escaping the Tomb, featuring Indy and Marion, was commissioned by Lucasfilm and is available as a print here. The company Topps used his work on the baseball card set Indiana Jones Masterpieces (seen in the gallery at the bottom of the page). All the images in this episode of an animated Indiana Jones are Patrick's work. He has created the foundations of what would be an amazing series.
AND NOW INTRODUCING...
INDIANA JONES: THE ANIMATED ADVENTURES
The Disney logo appears then fades away. What is left is a dark gorgeous painting of lush green trees and vines. Birds squawk chaotically, there is a disturbance that even the wild jungle recognizes. Out of the thicket a silhouette appears, animated, laboring with a machete through the brush. He finally steps into the light. It is Indiana Jones. A legend appears at the bottom of the screen, the year 1937. Thus begins this Saturday morning's episode.
Just a glimpse into the set-up of a cartoon series with limitless possibilities, and a plethora of characters and locations. Rest assured though, this series should not be CGI. The show should be in the classic style of animation. It should wreak of nostalgia with beautifully drawn characters and painted backdrops. Just look at the use of color from the images below.
1... 9... FILL IN THE BLANK
One of the benefits of the show could be the time period set up. What if you tuned in one day and the year was 1937, and that storyline lasted for three episodes. The next time you tuned in the year was 1945. You could revisit old Indiana Jones characters like Short Round in one adventure, Henry Jones Sr. in the next. There is a certain freedom with animation, where you don't have to worry about casting, actors aging and all. You can take certain liberties with the timeline.
I, personally would like to see both a young and old Indy being represented in an animated series. I think it could add something to Crystal Skull if you created a few adventures around that time period. And if Disney ends up rebooting the film franchise in the years before Temple of Doom, the animated show would be a nice way to connect the entire catalogue of movies
THE DARK... AND THE LIGHT
The animated series could do good by not dumbing down the stories, the show should play for an older audience as well. Disney does a great job with their films by throwing in adult humor, why can't the same be done for a television series? It's all about writing. The tone of the series should skirt the edges of adult and child, dark and light. Throw in some of the disturbing elements that make Temple of Doom so unique. Kids love that kind of stuff. They feel like they are getting away with something by watching. Kid's are smart too, they don't want to be talked down to.
The background images created by Patrick Schoenmaker (seen below) are perfect. They have great color but they are also edgy, borderline spooky. I think that is the mood you're shooting for. Have adventures and McGuffins where the characters have to cross a threshold into the underworld, into the abyss, then return home safe and sound. Side characters or even Indy himself could go through personal, emotional transformations during these story arcs, much inline with the hero's journey, each adventure could be a small morality tale.
I would be cautious not to make some of the same mistakes that The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles made. I would stay away from introducing a lot of historical figures that Indy runs into during his travels. The show can still use history without being an animated Forrest Gump.
When I first saw Patrick's work I was reminded of Don Bluth, a former animator for Disney, who struck out on his own, created his own studio and went on to direct such classics as The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, and The Land Before Time. He also designed the video game Dragon's Lair.
I would love to see an Indiana Jones series with the same tone and look as a Don Bluth film. They always felt a little grittier than what Disney was putting out. Hell, The Secret of Nimh scared the crap out of me as a kid. But that's what I'm talking about. Movies like Nimh, Dark Crystal, Goonies, had some really twisted things going on. But they also had a pulse, we weren't being spoon fed. Take Raiders for instance. The film was sweaty and dusty. Was Crystal Skull sweaty and dusty? No. Crystal Skull was polished and clean. That's huge when it comes to the believability of a world. We have to feel like this universe really exists. Cartoons, even though they are animated, are no different. It's the look of the 1987 G.I. Joe movie or the 1986 Transformers movie that I am talking about. Those cartoons were fantastic. They were dark and beautiful.
ATTENTION DAVE FILONI
I hope Disney brings Patrick Schoenmaker onboard when creating this animated series. People should be rewarded for talent and hard work and I think Patrick has really nailed the look and feel of what the series should represent. The world of Indiana Jones is full of many colorful enchanted environments, unique and humorous characters, frightening critters and fearsome villains. It would make a classic cartoon. That is, as long as Disney remembers one thing, that most important of things, beyond anything else make the world of Indiana Jones sweaty and dusty, make it dark and beautiful.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
"The Reboot Awakens" is taking a week off, look for Episode 5 on April 26th. In the meantime:
CALLING ALL SCRIPT REVIEWERS, fancy yourself a Hollywood producer, agent, or just like to read. I need my script Indiana Jones and the Stone of Destiny (the link is here) reviewed for rewrites.
Send your review to [email protected] and I'll post a few of them on a future episode. Until next time, thanks for coming back.