Monday, May 19, 2008

We Named the Blog Indiana*: He is...nefarious

In re-watching the Indy films this weekend (something that everyone probably is or should be doing) a lady-friend (who had never seen the movie) pointed out the following. As Indy ran out of the cave to a face full of Hovitos natives, she remarked "That's messed up", refering to the fact that the statue had belonged to someone still around. I immediately countered with a mature and well-thought out "Nuh-uh it isn't" and left well enough alone. However, the thought is now gnawing at the back of my head and has me wondering "Where does one draw the line between out and out tomb-raiding and archeology." I'm sure that his is a question actual non-fiction archaeologists have grappled with for years as they've watched the films either sighing wistfully or shaking their fists in anger at the glaring inaccuracies. Never you mind the plausibility of a man having his heart pulled out of his chest, but where are Dr. Jones' field permits dammit?! The film's themselves actually point out Indy's, let's call them atypical, methodologies. Toht (that would be the scary German guy from Raiders) mentions that Jones is "nefarious" in the bar in Nepal and given that at this point in the film the two have never met is worth noting. More illuminating is Indy's encounter at Pankot palace in Temple, where Chattar Lal (the Maharajah's second in command) regales the audience with tales of foreign dignitaries who are not particular fans of Jones' (It was my...misunderstanding). It begs the question, outside of his world of academia is Jones a crook? To we the viewers the answer is a simple no, but I'd be curious to what the world that Indy inhabits thinks of his escapades. Is he a righteous adventurer or a dangerous rogue stealing the priceless artifacts that he has no business taking?
Let's think back to that aforementioned incident with the Hovitos. That golden fertility idol is obviously an important totem to these people, they all bow when Belloq (Belloq!) raises it over his head. Still, how often could the Hovitos actually utilized this statue into ANY part of their daily religious practice? I have a difficult time imagining going to services on Shabbat only to avoid the light triggered spikes, tarantulas, poison darts and of course the giant boulder. The Hovitos weren't going into that chamber probably ever. Final verdict. Jones is in the right, Hovitos are wrong and Belloq is still a dick. Have your top men look at that. Top. Men.
*Props to Joel for the title suggestion.

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