So Sean Connery won’t be taking up the tweeds once again to play Henry Jones Sr. in the next Indiana Jones movie. He says “retirement is too damned much fun” and will limit his involvement to seeing the movie when it opens next summer.
I’m not so sure I’ll be joining him. I was flat on my back sick for most of the week; one night I fell asleep watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and dreamt that I was trapped inside one of the big drums during an orchestral performance of the 1812 Overture. Can John Williams write any music that isn’t scored for marching bands, jackhammers and drill presses? Like the Bond series it supplanted during the 1980s, the Indiana Jones series lost its fizz in a hurry and tried to compensate by amping up the noise. If I want good Bond, I rent out Goldfinger, and when I wanted to give my oldest a taste of Indiana Jones, I went for the first one, when all the huggermugger seemed fresher and getting trapped in an Egyptian tomb with Karen Allen sounded like the start of a great weekend.
Having said that, I’ll add that Connery’s mid-movie arrival in The Last Crusade was a much-needed jolt of oxygen, if only because the idea of Indiana Jones being treated like a backward kid was pretty funny in itself. We may also give thanks to Connery for demanding that his role be rewritten away from the original script’s standard-issue Yoda/Obi-Wan gasbag that stands in for wisdom in movies associated with George Lucas and Steve Spielberg. Connery saw Henry Jones Sr. as standing tall in the tradition of eccentric British expeditioners, and forcing that idea into the script rescued a movie that would have been just another rattling collection of Big Action Scenes.
Anyway, the next Indiana Jones flicks is supposed to have a young stud playing Indiana Jr. Jr., and Connery has already played the grandfather in a multi-generational picture: Family Business. That’s the flick in which we were supposed to believe that Dustin Hoffman was Sean Connery’s boy, and Matthew Broderick was Dustin Hoffman’s kid. Not quite as plausible as having Yul Brynner play Cedric Hardwicke’s lad in The Ten Commandments. I’ve heard about thinning gene pools, but getting from Sean Connery to Ferris Bueller in only two generations is pretty scary.