x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Raiders of Indiana Jones

With Tad Jones of Tad, the Lost Explorer, bearing a more than passing resemblance to Indiana Jones, we look back at other movie characters who learned a thing or two from Harrison Ford's adventurous archaeologist.

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the artefact-chasing aristocrat heiress, draws on the spirit of the Indiana Jones movies. Courtesy Paramount Pictures
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the artefact-chasing aristocrat heiress, draws on the spirit of the Indiana Jones movies. Courtesy Paramount Pictures

This week, Tad, the Lost Explorer hits UAE cinemas and patrons may feel they have seen the title character somewhere before. Dressed head-to-toe in khaki and longing for excitement, our hero Tad has the look and demeanour of a young Indiana Jones. However, his bungling nature and lack of academic knowledge get in the way of his ambitions. That is, until a case of mistaken identity sees him off on the adventure of his dreams. Tad, however, isn't the first to be influenced by the Indiana Jones character. We look at other movie characters who learnt a thing or two from Harrison Ford's adventurous archaeologist.

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, video games and movies)

The PlayStation heroine, an aristocrat heiress who travels the world chasing precious artefacts, is certainly derived from the Indy movies. Her adventures, through 10 games and two Angelina Jolie-starring movies, have always kept closely to the spirit of Spielberg's beloved franchise.

Rick O'Connell (The Mummy franchise, 1999-2008)

Wise-cracks, adventures in mysterious tombs, an affinity for khaki - it's clear that Brendan Fraser's lead in Stephen Sommers's horror-adventure trilogy took a lot of cues from Dr Jones. However, unlike his inspiration, it didn't take Rick that long to settle down; he was married with a child by the second film (but that didn't stop the adventures).

Allan Quatermain (King Solomon's Mines, 1985)

Many words have been used to describe this mid-1980s Indy imitator, few of them positive. Richard Chamberlain stars in a film that does little to hide the fact that it is trying to cash in on the adventure movie craze of the period, with Chamberlain's character even wearing a fedora and starring alongside John Rhys-Davies (who starred in two of the Indiana Jones instalments). The most notable part of this film and its equally dreadful sequel is an early appearance of Sharon Stone as the glamorous sidekick, Jesse Huston.

Jack T Colton (Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, 1984-85)

He may initially have had more money-oriented goals, but Michael Douglas's character from the director Robert Zemeckis's breakout success certainly shares Harrison Ford's word-weary grumpiness. Together with Kathleen Turner, he swam, swung and swashbuckled his way through two hit movies, which were as heavy in comedy as they were in action.

Dirk Pitt (Sahara, 2005)

The literary hero Dirk Pitt (who was portrayed in a more serious manner in the 1980 film Raise the Titanic!) was given an Indy-style makeover in 2005 for the mega-budget blockbuster Sahara. Portrayed in typically laid-back style by Matthew McConaughey, the character certainly shared Henry Jones Jr's knack for getting himself out of a tight spot. Sadly, the same could not be said for the film, which lost close to US$100 million (Dh367m) according to some reports.

Jackie (Armour of God franchise, 1987-91)

One of Jackie Chan's earliest hits broke several box office records in its native Hong Kong when it was released in 1987 and spawned a sequel four years later. Like Indiana Jones, Chan's character Jackie leads something of a dual life (although he is a rock star rather than a teacher), and his archaeological quests feature more martial arts.

Benjamin Franklyn Gates (National Treasure franchise, 2004-?)

Taking a lighter tone but using the same theme of relic hunting adventure, the Disney-produced films featured Ben Gates, an amateur cryptologist, on the tail of American artefacts such as the declaration of independence and the diary of the Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth. A third film is in the works, with franchise stars Nicolas Cage, Helen Mirren and Jon Voight all keen to return.

The Goonies (The Goonies, 1985)

Perhaps not the most obvious comparison to the whip-cracking adventurer on this list, but Spielberg himself produced this tale of a gang of youngsters looking for the treasure of a legendary pirate to save their home. The caves and tunnels that the pint-size heroes explore are reminiscent of The Temple of Doom (which Spielberg had released the previous year), and the tone of the movie throughout plays like "Indiana Jones for kids".

Sydney Fox (Relic Hunter, 1999-2002)

Perhaps owing as much to the number one entry on this list as it does to Dr Jones, the only TV series on this list featured a weekly Indiana Jones-style quest, with the university-based archaeologist Fox (portrayed by Tia Carrere) dragging her British sidekick around the world battling villains for often fictitious treasures. Dubious in both plot and the "facts" mentioned, the series seemed more interested in parading Carrere in a series of increasingly revealing outfits.

Adele Blanc-Sec (The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, 2010)

While the graphic novel on which the film is based portrays her as more of a Sherlock Holmes-style sleuth, Luc Besson's film adaptation of the French heroine features the feisty travel writer as one who often becomes a part of the adventures she writes about. While chasing the tail of an escaped dinosaur around Paris is, maybe, more fantastic than anything even Indy encountered, the protagonist shares a love of the chase and the belief in saving artefacts for the benefit of research rather than profit.