He hates snakes, he wears a fedora, he loves globe-trotting and he has a whip. It may sound like a very cultured sex worker, but George Lucas’ Indiana Jones is one of the most recognised characters of like, all time. Excluding the fateful fourth sequel and focussing on 1989’s now pointlessly named ‘The LAST Crusade’ yet again we’re faced with a battle of young and old…
River Phoenix did a sterling job thwarting robbers as a young yet rebellious 13 year-old Indiana. Living in the shadow of his obsessive archaeologist father Dr. Jones (played by the unambiguously accented Sean Connery), teen heart-throb Phoenix shows just the right amount of spunky-ness and spirit to mimic Harrison Ford‘s ‘elder’ version in a convincing performance as the younger Indy.
Faultless as the tweed wearing scholar Dr. Henry Jones Jr. Harrison Ford injects a little of that early Han Solo ‘wanton adventurer’ magic into treasure hunting, adrenaline junkie detective Indiana. In Ford we see Indiana as an attainable hero who gets artefacts as well as the girl in the end. He also kills lots of Nazis and can out-run boulders. What more can you ask for?
And the rest
Usually forgotten is the nineties television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Somewhere between the dreadful fourth instalment and the series, the now 92 year-old Jones has lost an eye and is played by George Hall. The series revolves around a number of stories and flashbacks as told by the old Indiana and we see Corey Carrier as the 10 year-old Indy and Sean Patrick Flanery as his elder teenage counterpart. Although not directly part of the canon, the series was extremely popular and revealed a lot more about one of Hollywood’s greatest characters.
The Verdict: Harrison Ford. We repeat: He killed lots of Nazis and out-runs boulders.