There are some movies that are on our “must see” movies list–films like Harry Potter, James Bond tales, the Star Wars series, Indiana Jones and others of that ilk–just ’cause–regardless of the reviews one way or the other. We went Monday to see the new Indiana Jones film, but were surprised by a new and unexpected phenomenon of our retirement thus far–the first time a movie we’ve driven to see has been sold out. Not just the showing we were there for, but the following two, and a line stretched out ahead of us.
We decided it was a no-go, an unusual combination of luck– national holiday (Memorial day), kids out of school, and last but not least, it was raining (and would continue to rain all day long). So we stopped at the grocery store, bought some popcorn and went home to watch Queen Elizabeth (The Golden Age) from a Red Box dollar rental instead. I’m usually a great fan of limey movies but have to admit I drifted off to sleep somewhere in the middle of this one, and I’m pretty sure it had little to do with Cate Blanchet’s performance. I saw the beginning, most of the middle, and all of the end, so I’m good.
So today we decided to try Indiana Jones again. We were having our car windows tinted at a window tinting shop near a theater where it was being shown, so we left the car in the shop and walked about four blocks to the theater. There was a small line forming, and it was only 11:15 in the morning. It turned out there were a couple of teachers treating their high schoolers to a movie as a special treat. There were 50 or so students, remarkably well-behaved I must say, as well as a sprinkling of other people mostly in our age group. The theater wasn’t full, but we haven’t been to a show with so many people sitting in the seats around us since we retired.
Now I know there have been a lot of negative reviews, most of the more negative ones I suspect come from the twenty and under crowds (the ones that aren’t attending with high school teachers I mean). One of the more stupid remarks I read was on YouTube from several whipper snappers who could hardly spell, much less impress with any credibility as movie reviewers. It’s just a movie, people! There’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief a viewer must engage in, just as we do when we read books of fantasy fiction.
According to an account I read in Wikipedia, Harrison Ford argued that “The appeal of Indiana Jones isn’t his youth but his imagination, his resourcefulness. His physicality is a big part of it, especially the way he gets out of tight situations. But it’s not all hitting people and falling from high places. My ambition in action is to have the audience look straight in the face of character and not at the back of a capable stuntman’s head. I hope to continue that no matter how old I get.”
Ford also refused to dye his hair for the role, since he felt his reprisal of Henry Jones in the newest version would also help American culture be less paranoid about aging. He stated further that “This is a movie which is geared not to [the young] segment of the demographic, an age-defined segment. We’ve got a great shot at breaking the movie demographic constraints.” He asked that more references to his age be added to the script. Spielberg said Ford was not too old to play Indiana:
I was glad that Spielberg hadn’t cast the role with a younger actor, and furthermore impressed that Harrison Ford did all his own stunts. That’s why the movie worked so well for me. As Spielberg said, “When a guy gets to be that age and he still packs the same punch, and he still runs just as fast and climbs just as high, he’s gonna be breathing a little heavier at the end of the set piece. And I felt, ‘Let’s have some fun with that. Let’s not hide that.'”
Add Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to a growing list of movies with older actors playing characters who get older just like the rest of us. It looks like Hollywood is finally noticing that many of us boomers and those a little beyond boomers do go to movies after all! Getting old really isn’t all that much about the years, as Spielberg recalled in the line from Raiders of the Lost Art. “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage”, and felt he could not tell the difference between Ford during the shoots for Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Hubby and I agreed we liked the movie very much, just ’cause!