Words by Lewis Orr, a major fan of Robert De Niro


The Indiana Jones films were part of those sagas that defined childhoods. These sagas were composed of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings. The time was the early 2000s, and these movies held the same value for siblings, family, and the little culture of Western Australia I grew up in. Those early years emblazoned the dials of Ford, Radcliffe, and Bean on my eyes. Such faces stare at me from woodland screens, warped in the two dimensions.


Of those legendary sagas, the Indiana Jones films were the ones we watched the least. There were several reasons for this. A sort of adult tone distinguished them, making them less enjoyable. In our childhood, we wanted warm and safe emotions. We did not want to watch the terror and the stakes that ran through the Indiana Jones films. We did not want to see the snakes either. The orcs of the Lord of The Rings were egregious. But were they as confronting as watching a man’s heart be torn from his chest to the call of Kali-ma? Watch The Temple of Doom if you don’t believe me.


Some strange discontinuities in the Indiana Jones series also challenged our childhood values. We wanted a well-known, easily forecast sequence of events to give us dopamine. We did not want confusion or chaos. The first and third are similar, but the second is out of place with a horrifying tone. The second film does not use several characters from the first and third. The fourth – The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull – is infamous for the aliens and the terrible graphics. A memory of Steven Spielberg’s face as he contorts with the words “Let’s do aliens!” haunts me to this day (yes, I watched the director’s documentary that came with the DVD). I mean, George Lucas and Spielberg were legends of their time. But it is difficult to remember what Steven did in the 2000s, except for that weird AI film with Haley Joel Osment. Yikes.


Now, picture this. We were in a room, my friend and I, after a night of escapades. There was still the feeling of discomfort and alcohol. The friend had enjoyed a similar cultural vocabulary in childhood. We watched Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade because we could just make out a weak halo of greatness around it. We had come close to forgetting its value entirely.


We enjoyed the depth of culture and the exquisite direction. The transitions and the narrative felt effortless and sharp, as was the dialogue. So were the edges of the chairs and tables of the expensive, Old-World decor. Viewing that film breathed a fresh world into a slice of my childhood. We were spiritually enlightened. The film was meant to be the end of Indiana Jones, as Spielberg wrote. We can look past the ending of the fourth. We also nod and thankfully move past the series’ engagement of Shia LaBeouf. Consider the future. There was a beautiful element in the first Indiana Jones trilogy. We want it back this time. Take up the hat Spielberg! Wait- the new director is a bloke called James Mangold. Well, we’ll see. 

Indiana Jones 5 will come out in June 2023.


By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is one of the oldest student publications in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you like having opinions, writing, drawing, and/or free tickets to local events, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *