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Dear Steven Spielberg, RE: INDIANA JONES 5

Dear Steven Spielberg,

To call myself a “huge fan” would still be a gross understatement. From JAWS to MINORITY REPORT, you are responsible for more of my favorite films than any other director… ever.

I am writing you this incredibly private letter that no one but you will ever read, Mr. Spielberg, to express my concern over the quality of the impending INDIANA JONES 5. I am an Indiana Jones nut, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK being my favorite film of all time. So I have certain expectations for Indy’s fifth silver screen adventure.


Though I didn’t dislike CRYSTAL SKULL, as many did, I am able to pinpoint that film’s major shortcomings and have offered a list of rules… nay… guidelines… nay… suggestions for the next film, should you feel the need to wrap up the franchise correctly.

I present the following five suggestions with the utmost respect. You are God and I am merely your peon. A peon offering up wishes as if through prayer.

1. It’s got to be “INDIANA JONES AND THE…” not “MUTT WILLIAMS AND THE…”

I don’t hate Shia LeBeouf, aka Mutt Williams (Or will you have him go by Mutt Jones now?) as much as the average INDIANA JONES fan. While he is not among my favorite characters, I had no problems with what Mutt brought to Indy’s last adventure (besides those damn, dirty swinging apes). So if you want to spin off the franchise in the Shia direction eventually, go for it.

That being said, INDIANA JONES 5 needs to be about just that, Indiana Jones. (Though putting 5 Indiana Joneses in the film may be overkill.)

Let’s not be tricky, either. No calling it “INDIANA JONES AND THE…” while giving Shia more screen time than Ford. Mutt should not be more than a sidekick.

In fact, I would rather see less of him in INDY 5. Maybe give him something less akin to the Henry Jones Sr.-sized role he had in CRYSTAL SKULL. In INDY 5, scaling him back to Marcus Brody-level screen time would be preferable.

2. Bring back Sallah.
Why not give that chunk of screen time you created by cutting back Shia to one of Indy’s most beloved sidekicks? (No, not Short Round. Absolutely not Short Round.)

I was baffled that Sallah wasn’t in CRYSTAL SKULL.

I understand why he didn’t appear story wise. After all, Sallah calls Cairo, Egypt home and INDY 4 took everyone’s favorite whip enthusiast (outside of the bedroom…) down ole’ South America way. Whenever Indy called on Sallah in the past, he was adventuring in Sallah’s neck of the woods.

Still, when your franchise has a character as beloved as Sallah, I thought you would find a way to work him into your script. Maybe crystal skulls weren’t the right artifact to pick if they kept Indy’s antics on the opposite side of the globe than Sallah.

It really doesn’t matter if his absence in CRYSTAL SKULL was the correct decision or not. The important part is, the kid (Sallah) stays in the picture (INDY 5)! Please.

3. Leave the Mrs. at home.

Indiana Jones has a wife now! Great! Now I never want to see her again.

Don’t get me wrong, Marion is one of my favorite franchise characters. Her spunkiness and strength make her Indy’s greatest love interest. Their near sex scene on the boat in RAIDERS is among my favorite romantically charged scenes ever.
But I imagine that adventuring with the wife would cramp Indy’s style, changing the dynamic of the film too much. Just as every 007 flick has its Bond girl, Indiana Jones needs his love interest. And I know, Mr. Spielberg, that a wife can be the very definition of “love interest.”

I just feel that if you remove the romance and mystery of meeting someone new out of the movie, that you are making a huge mistake.

Why not make it a prequel to CRYSTAL SKULL? That way, Jones isn’t tied down to anyone. Introducing a brand new love interest this time can show us what Indy has learned since his love affair with the traitorous Dr. Elsa Schneider in LAST CRUSADE. Playing up his distrust of another beautiful woman who seeks his affection might provide some great tension.

4. Make it a prequel.

There are many reasons to prequelize (it’s not a word but it should be… you have considerable power. Make it so.) INDIANA JONES 5 besides writing the Mrs. out of the flick.

Mac was a great character. Ray Winstone was fantastic as Jones’ adventuring buddy and all the references to their WWII escapades got my brain spinning. I doubt all the makeup and special effects in the world could decrease Harrison Ford’s appearance to be appropriate for what age he was during WWII, but I would like to see more of his and Mac’s adventures, regardless. Even if they are against Soviets and predate SKULL by mere years.
Also, I know it’s the longest of long shots, but doing a prequel could also allow you to offer Sean Connery his role as Henry Jones Sr., even though his character died before the events of INDY 4. Maybe you could try driving two dump trucks full of money up to his Scottish estate this time. Connery’s worth every penny; the greatest bickering duo of all time might just be Henry Jones Sr. and Jr.

And, hey, doing a prequel would even cut out your Shia problem. Though he didn’t bother me, he did alienate a lot of fans…

(Don’t worry, I wouldn’t miss Shia too much.)

(Not at all, really.)

5. All unnecessary CGI has to go.

I get that to make an action movie in Hollywood today, the usage of some CGI is necessary. But INDY 4’s biggest weakness was all that unnecessary goddamn CGI!

You kept it in check compared to most movies, which was a good start. And you used it very well to complete some necessary visual effects such as backdrops and the ant swarm. But what’s the deal with all the animals? There was NO reason for fakey CGI prairie dogs. Or Mutt the monkey king.
Really, you need to go through the script and preproduction materials, cutting all extraneous CGI. Sometimes, if an action scene requires a great deal of CGI, it means your action scene is flawed. Rewrite it to require a less ridiculous stunt. Doing so in SKULL would have eliminated the ridiculous vine swinging and waterfall scenes, while leaving the classic Jones moments such as the warehouse, campus chase, and ant-surrounded fist fight.

When in doubt about CGI, ignore George Lucas.

I know he’s your buddy, but he’s been mixing with the wrong, CGI-loving crowd these last few years…

Those are my suggestions, Mr. Spielberg. It is important to remember that INDY 5 will never be RAIDERS or even CRUSADE and a good portion of fans will always hate any new movie with INDIANA JONES in the title for that reason. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least consider my suggestions as they will make for a better INDIANA JONES 5.

Please don’t smite me.

Sincerely,

Nick Doll

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