I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 7

Day 7: Indiana Jones and the (far too) Lucky Escape

So Harrison Ford finds himself standing in the famous 'Hangar 51', the giant secret warehouse at the heart of Area 51. A dozen commies are pointing guns at him, and he's got a rifle in his hands. Obviously he can't shoot his way out, both because it would be suicidal to try, and because Steven Spielberg won't allow the hero of a film to ever solve a problem with a gun.

Knowing these two facts, I was excited to see how Indiana Jones was going to get out of the situation. While he may not be the type to have a plan for every situation, Indiana Jones has a combination of innate scrappiness and a talent for improvisation that manages to get him out of even the toughest scrapes.

Imagine my disappointment when Harrison Ford simply drops his gun to the ground, causing it to serendipitously go off, firing a bullet into one of the Commies' boots. Rather than motivating all of the Russians to open fire on Harrison in unison, this sound shocks and confuses them long enough so that Harrison can slip away between two rows of boxes.

That's it? He got lucky? It's not like he could have possibly known that the gun would go off when he dropped it, let alone what the Commies' reaction to him doing so would be. Not only is this an unsatisfying result for the viewer, it's just terrible writing. Yes, luck has swung Indy's way before, but this is possibly the first time that his success has been entirely dependent on it.

The crazy thing is that the script actually sets up a much better out for the scene - while the commies are aiming their guns at Harrison Ford, they're standing just a few feet away from an impossibly powerful sci-fi magnet. Harrison is the only person in the scene who has any familiarity with the sci-fi magnet, so it's entirely plausible that he knows something about it that none of the commies do: It's so powerful that guns won't work near it, because it causes their workings to seize up. Then Harrison would take advantage of this knowledge to make a quick getaway as the commies ineffectually tried to pull their triggers.

Not only would this change have made Harrison look clever, but it would have established the magnet's power in a dramatic way, and even provided with a plot-based reason to limit the use of firearms in the flim.

Instead of failure, we could have had a win/win/win situation.


Brad Gallaway said...

Count Vardulon, not only have I have been endlessly amused by your Jones breakdown, I have agreed on every point without exception.

Critique on, sir.

Anonymous said...

Dude you haven't gotten to the refrigerator yet please don't let your rage subside!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so much fun. Whenever I'm blue and need a good laugh, I can count on Count Vardulon! Keep 'em coming.
I'm almost at the point of going to see the movie just to point out the problems.