Speculation has been circling the internet for weeks over the possible casting of Chris Pratt for the revival of the Indiana Jones films. Since Disney’s purchase of the franchise two years ago, they’ve reportedly been keeping Pratt in mind.
Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt has been launched to a household-name actor. Previous to the Marvel film, his most well known role has been in Parks and Recreation, and his talents have proven that he’s capable of both great humor, and great humility.
Indiana Jones is a series that sits very close to my heart. The three original films were released in 1981, 1984, and 1989, setting me up to be raised with a spectacular golden trilogy of the wonderfully human hero Indy, enchantingly played by Harrison Ford. Ford’s own history of film appearances is naturally quite epic, and if you don’t know why then please see a Nerding 101 course.
I had the pleasure of watching these three films (or usually more the first and last film, leaving out the creepy bugs and squealing love interest in the middle) upon every illness, summer vacation, and numerous family movie nights while growing up. To this day these films act as a bonding event for my dad and me as we spout useless trivia at each other and quote lines. These films are precious to me, much as the original Star Wars, The Princess Bride, The Frighteners, LOTR, and many others are. First and foremost, no one can replace Harrison Ford. Don’t bother trying. The day that man dies I will have a movie marathon, dressed all in black, while eating brownies and crying. I’m not joking.
However, if the franchise must be revisited, then I have to admit I’m not opposed to the option of Chris Pratt taking the lead. His unconventional charm and humor gives him the same quirky off-center feel that Ford captured for many of his roles. The current day heroes are often over muscled, morally burdened, and sexually frustrated. Indiana Jones was a quick thinking, do-what-it-takes hero with a good build, and few objections to the opposite sex. Pratt seems like an actor who can take those attributes and run with them, just as he already has in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Pratt’s possible reprisal of the role will not keep me up at night, but what might is how Disney approaches the project. The term “revival” is used in most articles discussing the topic, but “reboot” is also thrown in. The Indiana Jones films are already fantastic (with the exception of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which I choose to pretend never happened). There is no need to “reboot” and remake the movies as they were. The films are already set in the past, so any dated nature of the 80’s production actually adds to the 1930’s setting, as does the gritty filming and pacing. My fears of a remade version today would be of hyper unrealistic fight sequences, ridiculous stunts, one liners, and above all else, an over reliance on CGI (which could never replace the grotesque melting face in the end of Raiders). All of which would lead to a cheapening of the drama that underlies the supernatural events of the films (Crystal Skull comes to mind once more).
However, if they truly mean a revival of the franchise with new stories, then I’m on board. We the fans have no doubt that Indiana Jones continued to get into trouble before, in between, and after the storyline of the films completed. Ford was 39 when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981, and as of this year Pratt will be turning 36. We’re left with the option of taking Indy before he searched for the Ark and exploring his life leading up to the hat and whip, or we can continue with the unseen stories throughout his prime.
Truly there are many options available with Pratt, and with Disney’s approach to the Indiana Jones continuation. However, I beg of them to leave the original three alone. It’s unnecessary to take these fantastic films and try to make them a better version of themselves. I won’t be able to stomach it if Disney negates their incredible nature with a do-over, but if they want to offer additions to the series with Pratt as their man, then by all means please continue.