Celebrating 35 Years of ‘Indiana Jones’

Rumor has it that Indiana Jones is getting old. No, I don't mean Harrison Ford himself. More specifically, I mean that the Indy franchise is celebrating its 35th anniversary after Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981.

To me, this means nothing more except for the fact that I, too, am getting older. As a millennial born in 1983, the fact that some of my favorite movies like Star Wars, Back to the Future, and all of the other "Greatest Franchises of All Time" (including Indiana Jones) are celebrating 30-something anniversaries just goes to show you that I was born during a special age of filmmaking.

But, what is it about the Indiana Jones franchise that makes our hero so special? The only thing special about the last Indy reboot, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was that one of my best friends and I became exactly that--we bonded after realizing the film was so bad!  As he would say, "That movie can be summarized in three words: aliens, ants, and waterfalls. Oh my!"  Why, even the phrase "nuked the fridge" was derived from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Only Indiana Jones could survive a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator.

When I was in high school, I would argue with a fellow classmate of mine on who would win in a fight: Indiana Jones or James Bond. As a major James Bond fan (I own autographs of all six James Bond stars--and yes, that includes George Lazenby!), I would always try to convince my friend that Bond, James Bond, was the better hero, simply because the franchise is almost 20 years older. "He's had way more experience," I would say. "But, he's a man who relies on his gadgets," my friend would yell back. "All Indy ever needs is a whip and a hat."

Now that I'm older, I realize my friend is right.  All Indiana Jones ever needs is a sense of adventure. No jetpack. No exploding pen. No car equipped with machine guns that can turn into a submarine when necessary. None of that! Indy just needs his charm, a faithful leather fedora, and a whip to keep those pesky snakes at bay. Throw in a sprinkle of a good storyline and a temple of doom, and you've got yourself a successful franchise!

Happy anniversary, Indy! Here's to another 35!

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