The holiday season is upon us once again. And in the time-honored tradition of making a wishlist of what we hope to receive, I thought I would present something from my personal list for 2009:
A fifth Indiana Jones movie.
Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't expect to receive one in 2009. What I am hoping for is the official announcement that one is in progress; that the contracts have been signed, and pre-production is well under way.
I know that some of my colleagues here at Screen Rant have weighed in on their opinion regarding a fifth Indy movie. Harrison Ford, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, stated that George Lucas was working on an idea that was "crazy but great."
As unhappy as many people were with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I was happy they managed to get the band back together again. The movie felt like a sound-check, a warm up jam session in preparation of the concert to come. It is my opinion that if Steven Spielberg, Lucas and Ford truly listen to the criticism regarding the last film, they have the ability to win back the fans of the franchise, and maybe even end the series on a high note. Is this likely? George Lucas certainly doesn't have a history of caring what the fans of his films think.
Granted, while another film seems to be a sure thing, it still took seventeen years before we got our fourth Indy movie. One of the reasons for this is the MacGuffin, or object of Indy' quest. Lucas has stated in the past that Indiana Jones' greatest obstacle is finding a MacGuffin that he, Ford, and Steven Spielberg can all agree on. The two greatest, most memorable quests have been for the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. But for many fans, it is not the Grail nor the Ark that are so fantastic, but the story that surrounds them. They are mere plot devices for the adventures of Indiana Jones.
What I am basically saying is: Don't stress too much about the object of the adventure... just focus more on the characters and the action. Everyone knows that Indy will find what he is seeking - it's how he achieves his goal that keeps us entertained.
To that end, one thing I'd like to see less of in the fifth movie is exposition. The last film featured more expository dialogue than any of the previous films. This slowed the pacing down noticeably at several points in the movie. While exposition is necessary in any film to get some points across, just tone it down a bit next time, please.
In regards to the characters, it should remain an Indiana Jones adventure, NOT a Mutt Williams picture featuring guest star Indiana Jones. If Lucas and company want to feature Mutt, I might be up for it in the future, but only after Indy has received a proper send-off. Personally, I enjoyed the character growth of Indy as a father, with the parallels drawn between the relationships of Henry Sr. and Indy with those between Indy and Mutt. In this context, Mutt as a character worked for me. What drew the ill-will for Mutt from so many was the way he took too much focus off of Indy. Henry Sr. was more of a foil for Indy, whereas Mutt seemed groomed as more of a successor.
Who would I like to see in a fifth movie? Aside from Indy, Mutt would be welcomed if he doesn't take too much focus off of Indy. I would love to see Henry Sr. , but it would seem Sean Connery won't be coming out of retirement any time soon. The two characters I'd really love to see are Marion and Sallah. Marion was such a pleasure to see in Crystal Skull, but she should have been given more. I'd like to see her utilized further in the fifth movie. Sallah, on the other hand, was greatly missed this last time around. I would love to see John Rhys-Davies return in the fifth Indiana Jones movie, and preferably as more than just a cameo.
Finally, in regards to the action in the fifth Indy movie, obviously I want to see more. Just keep it as close to plausible as possible. Keeping the CGI to a minimum would help in this case. Mutt swinging through the trees was so implausible that it took me out of the movie experience. And please, return to the super-natural tones of the first three films. The aliens, inter-dimensional beings or whatever they were just didn't feel like a good fit for the Indiana Jones series.
Eventually, the Indiana Jones series featuring Harrison Ford will come to an end. My wish is for everyone involved to end it on the highest note possible. Crystal Skull featured many things I enjoyed, but I still feel there is at least one more great adventure awaiting us. With Harrison Ford in his mid-sixties we can't wait another seventeen years for the next sequel.
So my wish is that before the end of 2009, we get the official confirmation that at least one more Indiana Jones film will arrive within the next three years.