Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

*****contains spoilers*****
It doesn't happen very often, but a major motion picture company has just made a film because a lot of people wanted to see it, instead of vice versa.

...and it only took them 19 years.

I have to admit, my knowledge of Indy isn't that great. I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark once on TV many, many years ago, and I only read the comicbook of Temple of Doom, although I did read it more than once, so I must have enjoyed it. However my recall from those first two films is bad at best.

The third film however - The Last Crusade - I must have watched maybe fifty times. That was out in the summer of 1989, when I was an usher (sorry – Customer Service Assistant) at the Odeon in Richmond. It was my first job after college, and out of all the films that summer, including Batman, Lethal Weapon 2 and Licence To Kill, the one with Harrison Ford and Sean Connery arguing in the desert remains the one that defines that chapter of my professional life.

Tonight therefore, I mustered a group of my friends – John, Steve K, David, Fraser and Scottish Dave - to assemble at the very same cinema for the long-awaited next Indiana Jones movie. Special thanks must go to Scottish Dave, for flying-in all the way from Australia just to make this thing happen.

And it was a hard film to get into at first, without over-scrutinising things. Would 66-year-old Harrison Ford still be doing his own falls, climbs and jumps?

Initially, it didn't look promising. The first action sequence featured him scaling a mountain of wooden crates and racing along the top of them, seen both from behind and in the distance. Oh dear. If the entire film was going to be shot like this, then my disbelief could prove tough to suspend.

It must be said though, he is still doing his own stuff, and that sequence was the only one where I found myself wondering if it was really him.

The action sequences take a back seat in the first half of the film anyway, although this makes things run quite slowly for a while. The scene in which he's investigating a tomb with Mutt seems to go on for ages, because it's just the two of them talking. However once that ends and they get captured, there's absolutely no looking back.

The second half easily makes up for the first, and there's absolutely no sense that this film is in any way an attempt to emulate the earlier chapters in the series. This is the fourth of four Indy movies, and in no way a retrospective addition.

The revelation that Mutt is his son is a cliché that you can really see coming from the poster, but it's played entirely for laughs, making Mutt and Marion welcome characters, rather than the deadweight emotional intrusions they could so easily have become. And Shia LaBeouf is perfectly cast.

It's exciting, it's funny, and it delivered just what I was hoping for. When the closing credits began, it actually got a ripple of applause in the theatre, which in my experience is incredibly rare for any film.

It could have all gone wrong so easily. Just imagine if they'd treated this revival the same way so many new versions of old franchises are – the new Indy played by a woman from a leading sitcom, the soundtrack by any current singer at all, and endless CGI bullet-time. And all with a press-kit pouring scorn on the original camp series, and declaring that today's "more sophisticated" audiences paradoxically need everything to be younger.

And yet, by having the integrity to stick to the original ingredients, Spielberg cooks a film that gets applause. In England.

While the closing credits were rolling, I craned my head round and looked around the auditorium that I had spent so much time in nearly 19 years ago. Everything looked identical – the seats, the house-lighting, even the same music was playing through the atmosphere. Yes, I had definitely succeeded in briefly nipping back to 1989 again.

Harrison, Steven and George – thanks. Once again, movies were just as great as they used to be.


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