Indy’s back for the third and final time! (Unless you count the fourth film.) Join me as I examine the way the third film returns to familiar territory in welcome ways… and then kind of wears out its welcome by the end. I explore the father-son theme, the shift from Jewish to Indian to Christian to, um, alien religion and the way the tone has shifted from a little too dark to a little too light. Overall, I love the film, tho, and never take to bashing it.
Start the commentary with beginning of the Paramount logo, on the countdown.
Indy is back… uhh… pre-back… back earlier… whatever—in a prequel adventure set one year earlier in Asia, land of mystery and peril! (Before it became the land of cheap toys and tech support.) I compare it to the first and third movies and try to ignore the fourth. I discuss my surprising affection for both Short Round and Willie. I marvel at Lucas and Spielberg’s ability to get child torture into a teen adventure film. (The secret: have a child do the torturing!)
I deconstruct the episodic nature of the film and reveal the dullness of the middle part where they’re just trudging thru jungle, playing cards, and getting slightly scared by animals. I discuss the problem of stacking all the action at the end, which of course is related. And I point out which characters are actually of no real value.
Start the commentary when the Paramount logo fades, on my countdown.
Harrison Ford breathes life into another icon when he picks up the whip and fedora offered by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan. I talk about the film’s origins and episodic nature, call it “nearly perfect,” and point out its various imperfections. I ponder the nature of the triple villain and the character arc that Indy travels. I compare it to romantic comedies and serials of the 1930s and ’40s, and to the other Indiana Jones films. I say 1935 a couple of times when I mean 1936. I say Martin Scorsese directed Tucker when I mean Francis Ford Coppola. And I squeeze in a reference to Yakima Canutt.
I watched the US release on DVD from the boxed set. The commentary should work with any other version unless Lucas does something stupid with the Blu-Ray release (like replacing Marion’s final ‘drink’ dialog with: “By the way, Indy, what do you think of the name ‘Mutt’?”).
Start the commentary just before the Paramount logo fades in.
Running commentaries that you listen to while you watch the movie.