Right off the top I will say that yes, I am aware that these rumors have already been dismissed. And yes, I realize that even before that, they were nothing more than unsubstantiated conjuncture.
That said, hearing anything at all about a new Indiana Jones movie makes my blood boil, and a rant quickly becomes imminent.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, earlier today, the internets were all a flutter with word that Disney may be looking to reboot the Indiana Jones franchise, and that Bradley Cooper was at the top of their list to take on the iconic role.
These rumors filled me with all kinds of mixed emotions.
The absolute disaster that was the last movie proved many things, namely that an action movie where the protagonist looks like he can barely stand – let alone fight off countless Commie thugs – simply doesn’t work. Rumors of a fifth film have swirled around since #4 came out, and the point made in the original post that started all this speculation is still valid: that Harrison Ford ain’t getting any younger. That doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t play Indy again, it just means that if he’s going to be beating up bad guys, he’s going to need to do it before he eats his dinner at 4:30.
(ASIDE: I worry less about Ford in the new Star Wars movies, since Han Solo always relied less on his fists and more on his cunning and skills with a blaster and as a pilot to get out of a jam. And yeah, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are no spring chickens either, but their characters can be more like mentors for the next generation of heroes. END OF STAR WARS ASIDE.)
Weirdly, there is a part of me that actually does want Ford to don the fedora one more time. Why on earth would I want that? Because I’m so damn eternally optimistic, and I can’t help but think that if they made a great fivequel, it would retroactively make the fourquel seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are slim. Would they even try to get Shia LaBeouf back? In case you forgot, that guy isn’t even famous anymore.
So then if another movie with Ford is a bad idea, maybe a reboot does seem better by comparison – right? Well, I’ve expressed my thoughts on the recent trend of reboots before, and I still believe that we’re all better served when Hollywood makes original movies instead of retreading familiar and well-worn ground. Sure, not every new idea is great, and not every reboot is bad. But the original Indiana Jones trilogy is a beautiful and wonderful thing; three fun, exciting adventures that have (so-far at least) stood the test of time. Yes, it could be a James Bond kind of thing, with a new actor stepping in every few years, but what’s the point? Why not just let the three original movies stand on their own, without the good name of Indiana Jones being brought down by future imitators that can’t measure up? I’m not knocking Bradley Cooper, just pointing out that he (or anyone else who would take on the role) would have some mighty big shoes to fill.
Look, I get it. A brand new series of movies featuring a well-known and beloved character would be like the Holy Grail. But in the end, isn’t reaching for something so powerful and tempting also incredibly dangerous? Isn’t it wisest to just remember what Henry Jones Senior said when Indy was similarly tempted?