Indiana Jones and His Miserable Failures

In this month of June, 2012, I happened to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark twice. Once, on TV and again at the Music Box Theater (it was digitally remastered.) Mulling the film over I discovered that Indiana Jones is a miserable failure. A handsome, charming, kick-ass failure.

Let’s take a look at his “accomplishments.” We see him lose that hard-fought for idol to Belloq and the Hovitos. Later, we see an entire class of coeds swooning as he discusses the dangers of folklore and superstition. While, seemingly cute at first, it seems suspicious later in view of his relationship with Marion.

Hired by the US Army, he goes to Nepal to speak with Abner Ravenwood. He only finds Abner’s daughter (Abner is dead) and she is pissed. (In 1981, my mom’s rave review of this movie was “Oh, it’s great… this girl sees her ex and she punches him right in the face!”) Based on their conversation we can decipher that when Indiana was a student (27 years old) he had a relationship with the then 16 year-old Marion. She says plaintively, “I was child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it.” Gross.

But enough about that stuff…

  • The Nazis have only one side of the headpiece. As Indiana and Sallah say at the same time, “They’re digging in the wrong place!” So, Indiana shows them the right place. Without his help, the Nazis might never have found the Ark. Certainly not within their timetable.
  • After escaping the Well of Souls, Indiana and Marion destroy the plane that was supposed to take the Ark to Berlin. Imagine if they didn’t… and Belloq opened it “in Berlin, for the Furher…” Boom. End of World War 2 as the Nazi high command has their faces melted off.
  • Does Indiana Jones believe the Ark has supernatural powers? Does he want to stop the Nazis at any cost? Who knows? But when he has the bazooka aimed right at it, he allows himself to be talked out of destroying it. “Hey, 20 guys with machine guns holding my girlfriend hostage! I have one giant bullet! What’s that? Oh, nevermind.”

So, if Indiana Jones was never involved in this plot  A) the Nazis might never find the Ark of the Covenant, and B)if they did find it, they would have opened it in Berlin, killing Hitler. Thanks for nothing, Professor Jones!

I still love Raiders, but man, all these things really bothered me. Also, that island is a Nazi base… how did Indiana & Marion (with the Ark!) escape it?



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