I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 3

Day 3: Indiana Jones and the Disrespect for the Dead

Tragically, in the 18 years since Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, two of the franchise's most beloved figures, actor Denholm Elliot and stuntman Pat Roach, have died. This is not a criticism of the film's inability to resurrect the dead, nor is it a condemnation of their refusal to recast a part.

I'm completely satisfied with the decision to kill off the character Marcus Brody. What disturbs me is just what happens next. After a relatively touching scene between Harrison Ford and new University Dean Jim Broadbent in which they commiserate about their advancing years, I assumed that a photograph on Indy's desk would be the last that we'd see of Marcus Brody. A quiet, respectful send-off for the actor and character.

If only.

A few minutes later in the film, as Harrison Ford and Shia LaBoeuf are riding a motorcycle, attempting to escape from a couple of Commie spies, they swerve at the last minute to avoid a statue, causing the pursuing Commies to plow right into it. It's a statue of Denholm Elliot, and the crash causes its head to go flying off, smashing through the window of the Commies' car, winding up in the lap of the diver.

The camera even focuses on the statue's face, as it stares up from the Communist lap, as if to ensure that Marcus' character leaves the series with as little dignity as Spielberg can offer him.

The entire scene is capped in the worst possible way, with Shia LaBoeuf looking pleased with himself for causing the accident, and having his good mood killed by a withering look from Harrison Ford, who's none to entertained to see his good friend's memorial defaced.

This callback to The Last Crusade is especially awkward, since the scene being mirrored in that was so wonderful - Harrison Ford thrusts a stick through the spokes of a Nazi Motorcycle's front wheel, causing the bike to explode and send its rider flying off into the air. It's an amazing stunt, that Harrison Ford is rightly proud of himself for having caused. Then Sean Connery gives him a look which suggests that maybe he shouldn't be enjoying having killed someone that much.

It's a beautiful father-son moment that this film's scene pales in comparison to.

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