Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
As Disney announced that Steven Spielberg would be returning to direct Harrison Ford in a new Indiana Jones movie, it seems like the skeptical and cynical comments took over my social media feed. Does no one want an Indiana Jones 5? Why couldn’t a fifth installment of the series actually be good? I’m very hopeful about a new Indiana Jones film, and here’s why.
Why You Hate the Idea of Another Indiana Jones Film
Before we get to why I’m hopeful, maybe let’s examine why you are not. I think it’s very easy for moviegoers to feel sour on the announcement of a new Indiana Jones movie. Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull is a film that seems to be universally mocked by film fans, so why would they want another?
In my mind, Crystal Skull is not that bad of a film. Does it live up to the legacy of the first three films? No. But its certainly not the abortion of a movie that some people claim — it even has a 78% fresh rating on the film critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Not to say the film isn’t without its problems, most of which have been attributed by fans to George Lucas. The film notoriously took almost 20 years to happen because Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg were unhappy with the alien-infused MacGuffin that Lucas had invented for a fourth story.
But why is it that most film geeks are down on the idea of a new Indiana Jones movie, but embraced recent “legacyquels” like Creed, Star Trek or Star Wars: The Force Awakens? The reason is clearly Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull — fans feel burned by this last film and don’t want to see the legacy of Indiana Jones hurt further. However, I’m hopeful that Indiana Jones 5 could be good, and here are some of the reasons.
George Lucas Is Not Involved
The good news this time around is that George Lucas is not involved. From what I’ve heard, his deal with Disney for Indiana Jones is the same as it was for Star Wars. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t expect Lucas to be involved in the story this time around. I’m very grateful for everything George Lucas has created, but I’m happy he will not have his fingers in this installment. And remember, this whole thing will be spearheaded by Kathleen Kennedy at Lucasfilm. It’s a very different environment this time around.
Steven Spielberg Has Something to Prove
I also believe that Steven Spielberg feels he has something to prove with this film. It would have been easy for him to hire a successor and sit back and produce like he did with the Jurassic Park series. He literally owns a piece of this franchise, and didn’t need to return to direct. And let’s not underestimate Spielberg — he is a master filmmaker and storyteller. Never underestimate Spielberg.
From what I understand, Spielberg is one of those guys who reads movie blogs and delves into comments and message boards, reading what fans really think. In some ways, The Last Crusade was a response to the reaction to Temple of Doom. Sure, this is just mere speculation, but I like to think Spielberg is returning for a fifth film because he believes he has something to prove.
Is Harrison Ford Too Old?
Yes, Harrison Ford will be 77 years old when Indiana Jones 5 opens. Is that too old? Probably. But I think we can all agree that the Harrison Ford we saw in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and on television shows and conventions promoting that film, is a much different Harrison Ford from the one we saw in 2008. What changed? Was it the near-death experience of the plane crash? Star Wars director J.J. Abrams has speculated that his brush with death may have had something to do with it. Whatever the reason, Ford has had a transformation and I’m excited to see him put on the fedora and leather jacket one more time.
But I’m still not convinced that he will be the sole star of this film, more on that on the next page.