Monday, June 5, 2017

Caitlin Willis - Indiana Jones

Caitlin Willis
Intro. to Film Studies

Indiana Jones

         This film was interesting but not in a good way. I can start out by saying that the film was a bit older (visibly dated; while true, it may be of note that it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects the year it came out). While there were a few humorous situations, there are many aspects I did not like, though. The trio was an odd, but expected, mix of people. First, we had Indiana Jones, the white man, the "hero," of the film. Then we had Short Round, a young Asian boy, the one positive minority throughout the film. Last we had Willie, a white woman, who was extremely obnoxious but also a victim of discrimination.

          To get straight to the point, this movie had hints of racism and sexism [Yes, these are valid observations, and you do a nice job backing up your criticisms.  I am curious if you think that the film reflects the cultural values of the time that it portrays (the 1930s) or the of time it was made (1984), or possibly most troubling both?  I also think that your observations make it all the more interesting that Spielberg's next film was The Color Purple]. I didn't like how Indiana Jones (white man) was the savior for the Indians. The fact that him and his female counterpart (Willie) looked down upon the Indians they were "saving" was very evident and stood out to me. It had a lot of racist stereotypes mixed into the movie. In the beginning and end, the Indian children basically surrounded Indiana like he was a savior of some sort, lowering and raising their hands at him as though he was a God. The Indians in the movie enjoyed a meal of monkey brains and eyes, which I'm almost positive fueled racist comments towards Indians when the movie first came out and perhaps even now. The way food was portrayed throughout the movie was very discriminatory and dehumanizing; it make Indians seem like savages for eating such "gross" foods. Despite the fact that the food was definitely dramatized in the movie (because not all Indians eat beetles, monkey brains, and eye soup), it hints at the prejudicial opinions of Indians and the cultural foods.

          There was also hints of sexism in the movie, though less prominent than racism. They portrayed Willie as a diamond hungry woman who was scared of all things bugs and unfamiliar [I also find it interesting that in spite of this treatment/characterization the actor Kate Capshaw ended up marrying Spielberg]. Despite the sexism, Willie's character still managed to be racist by refusing to eat the food of the Indian culture and constantly complaining about her life.

          I can honestly say that I did not enjoy this movie and that it's one I definitely won't be watching in the future. I get that this movie is supposed to be one for "the kids," [this raises an interesting problem as well.  My children are fans of the series; however, they have either not viewed this particular installment, are not fans of it, or are scared to watch it.  But I digress, the problem raised about intended audience may or may not have been resolved by the creation of the PG-13 rating which by most accounts was the direct result of this film] but we can have an action movie for kids that doesn't dehumanize women or an entire race.

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