by Dale Reeves
“Indiana Jones, we need your help!”
So begins the trailer I recently watched for the fifth installment of the iconic Indiana Jones franchise. You can see that trailer here:
It was forty years ago this summer when Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring legendary actor Harrison Ford, hit the movie theaters. We were introduced that summer to risk-taking, death-defying, globe-trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones, who was in search of the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, a biblical relic said to make an army invincible. The movie had been conceived by George Lucas in the early 1970s, and it became the highest-grossing film in 1981, playing in some theaters for over a year. Forty years ago, we never dreamed that theaters would ever be shut down for an extended time due to a global virus.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is now considered one of the greatest films ever made, winning five Academy Awards, creating a lasting impression on popular culture, and inspiring many other filmmakers. Subsequently, the Indiana Jones franchise included three more films: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984); Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989); and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). A television series, video games, comic books, novels, theme park attractions, action figures, and games have all contributed to the global impact of this mega-hit.
Indiana Jones 5
Yes, that’s right. It’s coming. Prepare yourself for the return of Indy. It’s still a long way off, but the Walt Disney Company (who acquired Lucasfilm in 2012—and with it, all Indiana Jones intellectual property), has announced July 29, 2022 as the release date for the fifth installment. The movie is currently untitled. We don’t know a lot about the plot of the film yet, but we do know that Spielberg stepped aside to “pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.” Indiana Jones 5 will be directed by James Mangold. Spielberg is still involved in a producing role, and, have no fear—composer John Williams, who has been producing the music we know so well for the franchise since day one, is still at the helm of the score.
A few hints have been gleaned regarding the plot from photos taken of the sets filmed at a castle in England, and in Glasgow, Scotland. Also, we know the film is set in the late 1960s, one of America’s most turbulent decades, slightly brilliant for movie nostalgia. Presumably, it will include a scene that takes place during a welcome parade for the Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins in New York City.
It has been more than a decade since Harrison Ford, now 78 years old, last appeared on screen fashionably sporting his fedora. Reportedly, Ford appeared on set recently with his arm in a sling after suffering a minor injury while rehearsing a fight scene. From my perspective, I think that’s an appropriate picture for where our nation and our world have been the past year and a half. Indiana has suffered a few scrapes through the years, but he plans to keep swinging, fighting, and performing daring feats—at least until film #5 is in the can.
On AFI’s (American Film Institute), list of “100 Years, 100 Heroes and Villains,” Indiana Jones was voted number two, just behind Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and just ahead of James Bond. According to writer Rob Walker at nerdreactor.com, there are at least five reasons why Indiana Jones is a cinematic hero that we need today:
- Warrior Scholar
Indiana best represents the classic Greek hero, a learned man who isn’t afraid to go into battle if the need arises. The man is a teacher as well as a brawler.
Dr. Jones gets himself into predicaments for sure, and we love him for it. This hero doesn’t always know what to do, and it makes him relatable. His ready-to-adventure attitude is balanced with moments of incompetence, and the lesson he teaches time after time is “No matter how much you’re in pain, no matter how many snakes there are, you have to pick yourself up and move forward.”
- Worldly Traveler
Indiana is a man who loves his country, and has fought for it, but his American heritage doesn’t prevent him from traveling the globe and learning from other cultures. This worldview leads him to show respect (and sometimes be wisely suspicious) of all those he encounters.
- Stand-Up Guy
Dr. Jones stands up for what he believes in, without exception. While he occasionally shows a cynical streak or a bit of self-interest, Indiana proves himself on the side of right time after time.
- He’s Finite
As writer Rob Walker points out, “He’s not a laser-toting rebel in a space opera, he’s a teacher—a heroic one, but a teacher.” Even with all his heroics, Indy’s finite lifespan makes his character more real and approachable.
Indiana Jones is no Christ figure. We can see his flaws in every film, but he walks through life as a character who exhibits what he knows to be right, fighting against evil, and walking it out with transparency and integrity. And, this is something that every Christ follower should imitate. After the past year and a half, and all that we have experienced in our nation and our world, we need a hero like this on the silver screen now more than ever. We want to know that truth and all that is right will win in the end. Indiana Jones, we need you now!
The apostle Paul challenges us to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV). Whether on the screen or in our real lives, we need to uphold good examples of uprightness today. With many “heroes” today who have led with less-than-stellar examples, may we seek to be leaders who speak truth, and walk it out with integrity.