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Chris Pratt: Indiana Jones and The Rebooted Franchise

Crystal Skull got old fast and I’m not taking a cheap shot at Harrison Ford. After months, maybe years of anticipation of a new Indy entry, what was up there on screen as a representation of the fourth Indiana Jones’ adventure was just sad. It was like seeing a boxer out of his prime, swinging and missing, getting more brain damage with each dumb line and dumber looking special effect until the final bell.

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How’d we get out of this? The movie I mean

Sure, film auteurs Spielberg and Lucas introduced some new characters into the mix, but coming as they did in the form of Shia LaBeouf playing Indy’s estranged son – the additions were just plain insulting. Really, that’s Indy’s son? (the apple, in fact, does fall far from the tree). Even the otherwise super talented Cate Blanchett couldn’t save this Crystal Turd, adorned with a fake looking black wig and faker Russian accent.

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Is that a practical effect or CGI?

In the entire movie, there was one line I cherished that lived up the original source material, where Dean Stanforth opines ruefully, “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” It’s a good line. That would have made a fine review summary of the movie. Crystal Skull may have been the last nail in the sarcophagus. Time to put the Indiana Jones franchise in that same warehouse where they put the original Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

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Actual review of The Crystal Skull

Personal moment. I’ve been a fan of Raiders since I saw it in a rundown movie theater with itchy flea bitten seats in Brighton, England when I was 12 years old. The movie had come out the same year, but I had managed to miss it. I saw it on its second cheaper run which was something they still did in the early 1980s. My mum had no idea what the film was about – she just knew it was my birthday and I loved going to the cinema and the tickets were cheap.

What I beheld on that screen that day became the standard by which I have judged every other Hollywood action movie ever since. With a few exceptions, I’ve found most other movies wanting. Raiders has remained my favorite movie from 1982 when I saw it through to today. I assume I’ll leave this mortal coil, uttering, “Indy” on my deathbed like Kane recalled Rosebud as he died in Welles’ Citizen Kane. The question is, when other people remember Indy, will they think of Raiders and Temple of Doom (1984) and The Last Crusade (1989), or will it all be marred by The (f’ing) Crystal Skull?

Or, is there another possibility?

Could Indiana Jones be rebooted? It seems Batman Begins and Casino Royale, everything is being rebooted. Sometimes a franchise like Spider-Man or The Fantastic Four seem destined for endless reboots. Rebooting is going to give re-imagining a bad name.

The reality though is the both Batman and Bond were always in reboot mode. Frank Miller rebooted Daredevil then Batman in the comics with his graphic novel takes on the characters. The movies merely copied him. Batman has been reinvented so many times in his 75 years of existence, his ability to reboot has become a strength. We can imagine Pirate Batman or a futuristic Batman Beyond, without it hurting our quintessential understanding of the character. The same with Bond. The first reboot was Sean Connery leaving the role after five movies and George Lazenby picking up the tuxedo. I’ve written about this here.

Spielberg and Lucas are “threatening” us with a fifth Indiana Jones following along the timelines and story told in Crystal Skull. I hate to say this sounds like stubbornness, but it does. I’d expect this from Lucas after his second trilogy, but Spielberg should know better. Wasn’t Jurassic Park 2 enough? Perhaps it’s Spielberg and Lucas who “belong in a museum”. Sorry.

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A few months back, however, I read something on the internet about Chris Pratt being considered for the role of Indiana Jones in a new reboot of the series. At the time, I’d already seen Pratt in the phenomenally good Guardians of the Galaxy so I knew he could play the funny, anti-hero part to a tee. Then this week, I finally watched Jurassic World on HBO Go, a movie I’d managed to avoid for whatever reason I could find. I was surprised that the movie was surprisingly fun, in fact, I think it’s my favorite entry in the Jurassic series. A large part of this is because Chris Pratt was in it and played his character so entertainingly.

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So, here goes. We’ve really got to light a fire under Hollywood to put Chris Pratt’s head under the old Indy Fedora. If Spielberg and Lucas was to go head to head with a rebooted version, I say, “Bring it”. The Pratt version is going to be better. I’m fine with continuing to tell Indy’s story as he heads into his twilight years a la Rocky. Indiana Jones and The Colostomy Bag of Doom sounds like a hoot. I’ll see that out of some misplaced loyalty to the franchise, but I really, really, really want to see Chris Pratt play Indiana Jones.

Here are 5 reasons we should throw Chris Pratt the whip:

(1) EVERYMAN: Indy is an everyman. He’s not a superhero. He’s not super tough. We love him because he never stops fighting. He even fights dirty when he has to. Remember that German when he was trying to hijack the plane in Raiders? He threw dirt in his eyes and kicked him in the balls. Chris Pratt would love to kick a German in the balls, and I really, really want to see him kick a German in the balls.

Chris Pratt is an everyman. He’s the neighbor we’d love to have, the professor we’d love to infatuate over, the archeologist we’d hope would jump on our bones.

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(2) HUMOR: Indiana Jones is a funny guy. He’s glib and sarcastic. He’s always aware of the irony of his predicaments. There’s an existentialist/Zen quality to his self-deprecation. Despite being a little curmudgeonly, Indy is very playful with other people, finding them humorous.

Tom Selleck of Magnum, P.I. fame in the 1980s was first and famously considered for the role of Indiana Jones but couldn’t get out of his contract with the TV show. Enter Harrison Ford, Lucas’ buddy who’d Han Solo from a small series of movies known as Star Wars and a bit role in his American Graffiti. The rest is history. My point is – Selleck actually would have worked quite well as Indy, even though it’s hard to imagine now – AF (After Ford). Harrison worked out fine as we all know. Chris Pratt will work!

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(3) PHYSICAL: Harrison Ford used to do a lot of stunts for Indiana Jones. I don’t mean the big stuff. Of course he didn’t leap from a horse onto a truck or get dragged behind that same truck. That was a guy called Vic Armstrong who I’m planning on writing a different article about. No, Indy did a lot of fight sequences, etc. far more than he was required too. In fact, he herniated his back in the scene where he is attacked by a Thuggee assassin.

Chris Pratt is more than up for the physical exertion that the Indiana Jones’ role will require of him. We’ve seen his do a ton of physical stunt work in Parks and Recreation as well as his action roles in Guardians and Jurassic World.

Also, there’s this:

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(4) ACTING: Chris Pratt is a good actor. He’s very naturally funny, but when the part requires it, the man can act his way out of a paper bag. Here’s a video that shows him “acting” drunk. He’s also very articulate and will easily be able to play the part of Professor Jones pontificating about “a find of incredible historical significance”.

(5) FASHION: Honestly, I can’t imagine rocking that fedora better than Chris Pratt. He’s got the looks, the charm, the humor and the physique to pull it all together to make a great Indiana Jones. I don’t know who created the “Photoshop Indy” below, but I do know they did a heck of a job. This is an image that makes me want to see another Indiana Jones’ movie at the theater. How about you?

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 So where do things stand with Chris Pratt taking the role of Indiana Jones? Well, a year ago, it sounded like something might actually happen. Chris had been doing all kinds of great work after Parks and Rec in Guardians and then Jurassic World, establishing himself as an A-list Hollywood actor within the Action genre.

The media kind of tried to force the rumor that Chris actually was being cast as Indiana Jones in a reboot, which is really unfair on the actor, although I’m sure he’s up to the challenge. You can see how the camera guy below totally throws poor Chris a curve ball and he does his best simply to be an honest respondent.

Then there’s this from Cinemablend. If you read the piece, it actually seems to be two different stories. One story suggests that Chris Pratt was being eyed to portray Indy in a reboot of the franchise. The other was that Spielberg would want to direct the picture if the script was good. What I can’t put together is whether Spielberg knew this might be a reboot or not. He’s just up for the next Indy movie. Why the heck not, he met his wife Kate Capshaw on Temple of Doom. The series has been good to him.

So in March this year, Disney finally announced that there would be an Indiana Jones 5 coming in 2019.

“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Disney chairman Alan Horn, according to THR. (see more)

Deadline reported that Spielberg wanted Chris to be involved, however, with Harrison Ford returning to the main role, it’s a question as to whom Pratt would be playing. Certainly not Indy.

Harrison Ford’s star rose spectacularly thanks to his largely praised role in The Force Awakens, reprising Han Solo after 30 years. This gives him the box office muscle to keep the role of Indiana Jones he inhabited and forged. Still, as a fan of the character, I can’t help but be a little sad that we might not see Chris Pratt as Indy. I truly believe he’d be perfect for the part.

I want to see another Indiana Jones film that made me feel the way about movies as I felt when I was 12 and saw Raiders. Interestingly, one of the most recent movies that made me feel that way was Guardians of the Galaxy. That film just exuded pure joy and energy and audiences responded appropriately by throwing dollars at it.

Regardless of what happens, Chris will be fine. But how will Indiana Jones survive?

Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones
Wishful thinking

You can keep up with the Indiana Jones 5 here on Wikia.

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Adam Carey

Adam works at Wikia during the day as a mild mannered Ad Monkey, but enjoys a second life as an avid fan of Batman, Daredevil and The Evil Dead. A lifelong gamer, comic book reader and movie addict, Adam hails from Brighton, England and lives with his wife Kim and his daughter Cassie in Vallejo California.

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