There’s an easy answer to this: No Nazis.
I’ve not blogged at all about the film since it came out a year and a half ago, which is surprising, considering how much I love the first and third movies. The second? Not so much. Why? See the first line above.
Sure, I liked the Thuggee as villains, and was one of the few who knew who they were when I saw it in the theater waaaaay back in the day. But the fact that there were no Nazis in Temple of Doom, well, doomed it. They’re the perfect villain for Indy, which was proven in the first film beyond the shadow of a doubt, and reiterated in Last Crusade when they got smart and brought them back.
Enough of the distant past, though — the same problem that was in Temple of Doom occurred again in Kingdom simply because the time-period was wrong. Sure, I enjoyed the Area 51 angle (and read it in a way-early draft under a NDA fourteen years ago when I was writing an Indy game book for West End Games), but Communists-who-used-to-be-Nazis just wasn’t the same as the pure, unadulterated villainy of 1930s and 40s Nazis. There are some other reasons I wasn’t as thrilled with Kingdom, but that’s the first-and-foremost problem.
Yes, yes, Harrison isn’t getting younger and they needed to reflect that in the story, but they could have just done it all with a wink and a nod. People would buy that.
Marion’s return was good, too, and I liked the Rebel without a Cause that Shia Labeouf played as his son, but it has to be Nazis driving the story, George. If you’re really working on the story for Indy 5 as has been reported, please, remember this.
Now to story locations:
- Raiders: Central America, Africa/Mediterranean
- Temple of Doom: China, India
- Last Crusade: America, Europe, Africa
- Crystal Skull: America, Central/South America
So, if they want to hit new territory, perhaps something with Japan or Southeast Asia. Maybe an opening dig scene in Australia, or better yet, Ireland or Scotland. You could have Nazis and Japanese enemies for the Pacific story.
Or…something to do with Alexander the Great. Bring the old Persian Empire into the mix. Yeah, I like that area…lots of history to plunder.
But Nazis, first.
And bring back Sallah, damn it.