Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Indiana Jones and the Readjusted Rankings

It has taken much longer than I had anticipated, but - this morning - I finally finished watching Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

I had started to watch it when it was first added to Disney Plus in December. On the night of its premiere, my nephew and I sat through the first hour until it was time for dinner. We decided to finish the film the following day. However, my nephew found himself not being completely keen to finish it off. I gave him a few weeks to change his mind. Those weeks - as you can see - turned into months. Now, with my Disney Plus subscription almost up, I had to go it alone.

Going in, I was not expecting much. The fourth movie in the franchise was abysmal, so my hope was a simple one: do better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It overachieved its goal.

Now that I have once again seen every single Indiana Jones film, it's time to readjust my rankings. They are somewhat controversial, but there are - in my opinion - good reasons why.

So, starting with the worst we have..

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I was one of the many that found Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to be the worst film in the series.

I've only watched it twice. The most recent viewing was a couple of summers ago when my nephew and I sat through all of the movies. I blame Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for his reluctance to want to finish off Dial of Destiny.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Look - you cannot beat the original trilogy of movies. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has to be the fourth on this ranking.

It's a really enjoyable, and fun, visit to Indy. 

Some might think the story went a little bit OTT when he travelled back in time to the Siege of Syracuse and met up with Archimedes. I, on the other hand, thought it was done perfectly.

If this is the last Indiana Jones movie, then it was a fitting conclusion.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Yes, you are seeing this correctly.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is third on my list. But, you'll eventually find out there is a good reason why I have it ranked as the lowest in order of the trilogy from the 1980s.

I was very young when this film first came out. I believe the first time I watched it was on Christmas Day in.. 1984 or '85. I could go back to look, but I am going to guess it's the former.

Either way, one of my memories of that Christmas was my father teaching me how to record films on the video recorder. The first film I ever recorded for myself was Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

I didn't really appreciate the story of the film as much in my childhood as I have on those occasions when I've watched it as an adult.

It is arguably the best film in the series. Read on for my reasons why the other two contest it.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

I was a little bit older when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out. However, I was still at the age where I didn't appreciate the story.

The first time I watched it was at my dad's best friend's home back in the early 80s. A few years later, it was on BBC 1 on Christmas Day. By then, I was a master at using the VCR and - yes - this was one of the films I recorded on a blank tape that Christmas

You know that Empire Strikes Back is my favourite Star Wars movie because of how dark it is? Well, I would say Temple of Doom is kind of like Empire in a way because this one is dark and scared the crap out of me the most out of all five films.

It does have its comedic relief with Short Round, played by Ke Huy Quan, in this one. The young boy was a perfect addition to this movie as it allowed the kids watching it to vicariously live through Short Round. Well, I hope that is what the intention was because I did find myself inspired to jump from my bannister onto the hallway in my home pretending to be Short Round.

If causing me to become a mad bastard in a baseball cap was one of the criteria of this ranking, Temple of Doom would have been first. Alas, it's not because...

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

By 1989, I had become an older, wiser, child (I hope!) and fell completely for the hype surrounding Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

It seemed like there was trailers - and movie posters - of this edition all over the place back then. I couldn't wait to see it.

Last Crusade is the only Indy film I've ever gone to see at the cinema. So, that is a very strong reason why I rate it so highly.

Add in the people I went to see the film with.

It was my American relatives again!

The movie came out when they were staying with us. So, one Sunday afternoon, my uncle took my sister and I along with a trio of my cousins. 

As well as that, when I was on holiday in Malta a few weeks later, we were shopping for pirate movies. My dad told my sister and I we could pick one movie each. She chose Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and I opted for... 

A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master!

My dad then twisted my arm and suggested I buy something the entire family would enjoy. I settled for the latest Indiana Jones movie.

Sean Connery was brilliant as Indiana Jones' father in Last Crusade. I loved the double act. 

The story was also interesting because they went on a mission to find the Holy Grail, so it was kind of back into the Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of narrative following the events of the second film.

And there you have it.

A lot of this ranking is made up of things outside of the films, but - I wouldn't have experienced those things without the movies.

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