It's amazing what a good casting idea can do for our collective approach to a movie franchise. Someone needed only to photoshop Chris Pratt into the role of Indiana Jones, and suddenly we all thought we had a good thing going. Pratt hasn't even officially been approached for the role in Indiana Jones 5, yet it seems the moviegoing public have already made up their minds! Imagine if they cast someone like Taylor Kitsch instead. Suddenly the project would be doomed, and we'd call for Harrison Ford to return again, working him alongside Star Wars until he literally snaps in half!
Indiana Jones 5
As easy as it is for us audiences to throw names and rumors and theories around, there's this little thing called making a movie that turns out is quite an important factor in giving us what we want. As much of a breakout personality as Chris Pratt is, and as smoldering as he looks in that initial photoshop, his presence doesn't seal the deal for Indiana Jones 5. So what are a few of the vital elements this movie has to nail if it is to feel like genuine continuation of the beloved series?
It would be a little disingenuous for me to call this a reboot at all, for what is there even to reboot? It's not like the Indiana Jones series got itself tangled in convoluted plot lines. Well, unless you count the entirety of Crystal Skull, but who cares if no one liked that one? A hit and miss approach to storytelling is the very crux of pulp! Instead of very pointedly tracking a new Indy into a new adventure (or worse, doing another origins story), Indiana Jones 5 should kick things off just as the original three did, with Indy midway through an adventure that we aren't privy to.
Raiders of the Lost Ark had the hunt through the jungle. Temple of Doom had the shootout in Shanghai, and Last Crusade had Indy taking a punch like a champ! Introducing Indy like this in a new movie would help us get over the sudden presence of Pratt in the role, and is just a better way to begin a movie to boot!
Don't play up the Fedora
Just Googling the word "fedora" should be enough to make one adhere to this point. Yes, when people imagine Indiana Jones, they don't imagine the guy in the white tux at the start of Temple of Doom, but an over reliance on Indiana Jones' iconic costume would render him a prop rather than a character. It's a small detail, but when you consider it, Indy is an impossible masculine ideal. He's at once dorky and sensitive and then incredibly tough and irresistible to women, all while being the good guy! He is not a hat.
"Nazis. I hate these guys!"
This feature isn't exactly a must per se. Temple of Doom did well to avoid Nazis as villains, and Crystal Skull at least got by with only lukewarm Soviets. This is more an issue with situating the movie in a certain time period. Indiana Jones should not be a sequential, ever-moving story that ploughs into the future. The only reason it did before was because Harrison Ford got old, otherwise, he could exist in a perpetual 30s that somehow kept springing endless adventures. And sure! Why not add Nazis as the primary villains once more? They haven't been the cartoony bad guys in quite some time!
Big stakes; small story
Let me list some great Indiana Jones action scenes for you. Indy fights a guy on a truck. He wins. Indy fights a guy on a conveyer belt to a crushing roller. He wins. Indy fights a guy on a tank. The tank goes over a cliff, and Indy wins. There's a pattern of simplicity here, but modern Hollywood would gladly ignore it all for the sake of spectacle. Indy fights a guy on a clocktower, but the clock tower is falling down, and there's an earthquake, and the Starship Enterprise is crashing and oh god the neutrinos are mutating!
The recipe for a good Indiana Jones movie is deceptively simple. Good guy has to get the thing so the bad guy can't get the thing. No more, no less. Any attempt to fill the movie with false twists and bombastic set pieces would only lead to Indiana Jones getting bloated. Speaking of bloated...
Don't do a Jurassic World
Poor Chris Pratt. He must feel like the entire world is his agent, and that he's being roped into every "good idea" the internet has for him. The most recent "good idea" was Jurassic World, and it's the one thing that has me worried for Indiana Jones 5. Sure, Pratt physically fits the bill, but his star persona is one of heroically jovial and harmlessly boisterous. It doesn't exactly match with Indy, who was played as quiet and awkward, yet still caring by Harrison Ford. Try to take the wackiness out of Chris Pratt, and you get Jurassic World, with him being an idealized cartoonish non-character. Humorless is not an advisable trait, but neither is goofy, and we can't risk this movie being about Indy's search for the lost arc... oh yes. Screenwriting jokes.
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