Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones meets Star Wars

With today being the 25th anniversary of "Return of the Jedi" and with a new Indiana Jones movie out, I thought I'd celebrate by posting about where the two franchises created by George Lucas intersect.

Aside from sharing a number of cast and crew members, Star Wars references make several appearances in the Indiana Jones movies. Sound effects such as the one used for both the Millennium Falcon's failing hyperdrive (right before Princess Leia asks if it would help if she got out and pushed in "The Empire Strikes Back"), and when the plane engines sputter out early in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" can be found in both franchises. Certain scenes mirror one another as well. Just before Indy strikes out onto the rope bridge near the end of "Temple of Doom," he chases off two thugees, and then runs back as their dramatically increased numbers chase after him, paralleling a similar scene involving Han Solo and Chewbacca aboard the Death Star in the original "Star Wars."

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is not exempt from the Star Wars references. Indy mutters the Star Wars tag line "I've got a bad feeling about this" near the film's climax, and earlier in the film, he speaks Quechua to some Peruvians. When asked where he learned the language, Indy replies "It's a long story," pauses then continues to mention his time spent with Pancho Villa. I liked the pause without explanation better, since Quechua was the language used for Huttese in the Star Wars movies and is spoken by Greedo in "Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope" as well as by Jabba the Hutt and his major domo, Bib Fortuna.

There are also a number of visual Star Wars references slipped into the Indiana Jones movies. This kind of tribute was not new, and Steven Spielberg, director of the Indiana Jones movies, directed the first movie to visually reference Star Wars. In "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" released the same year as the original Star Wars movie, R2-D2 was incorporated into the model of the mother ship and can be seen hanging upside down with his eye glowing red as the mother ship first appears rising up ober the cliffs of Devil's Tower. You can see R2-D2 hanging like a bat at the top of Melinda Dillon's sight line in the shot below.

A year after the first Indiana Jones movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," another movie starring Harrison Ford, "Bladerunner" would also incorporate familiar Star Wars iconography into its visual effects. Here are three shots which reveal the location of the Millennium Falcon reconfigured into a building with a number of communication towers jutting from it.

In "Raiders of the Lost Ark" the Star wars references begin with Indiana Jones making his escape after his first encounter with Belloq. The plane flown by his friend, Jock, is numbered OB-CPO, a reference both to Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and the droid C-3PO.

C-3PO returns, along with R2-D2 a number of times in the Well of Souls, where the Ark of the Covenant is discovered. This time the droids are incorported into the heiroglyphics through out the chamber.

I don't know if this large panel showing both droids is visible in the film, but...

... a smaller version of the two droids can be seen on the collumn on the left side of this frame, between Indy's right hand and the top coil of carved snake. This occurs just as Indy and Sallah are about to lift the ark out of its container.

R2-D2 can also clearly (though out of focus) be seen here right at the end of the loop extending from the handle to Indy's whip. This moment comes just after Indy tells marion to wave her torch at anything that slithers and before she mistakenly takes the whip for a snake.

There is also some geographical spillover from Star Wars as well. In the scene where the nazis carry the ark through a canyon towards the spot where its opening ceremony will be performed, Indiana Jones threatens to blow it up, rather than let the nazis have it. This scene was filmed at the location in Tunisia where R2-D2 wound his way into being captured by the jawas in the original "Star Wars." By the time this scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was filmed there, the canyon had officially been named Star Wars Canyon.

I don't recall any Star Wars references in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," the third movie, but the second movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" had one of the best known, and easiest to spot. All of the action in the opening sequence takes place in Club Obi Wan. Signage on the exterior of the club can be seen a couple of times following when Indiana Jones and Willie Scott exit the club via the window.


Todd Franklin said...

I always love these little tributes that show up. The Marvel movies have been having fun with 'em too. Did you catch the mention of Damage Control in the Iron Man movie? It's on the news scroll during the end of the movie.

Dave Lowe said...

I never knew the Millenium Falcon reference in Bladerunner.

I liked the "Pancho Villa" mention in the new movie as it was an episode from the Young Indiana Jones TV series titled "spring break adventure" which was directed by Star War designer Joe Johnston.

Shawn Robare said...

Thanks for these John, I never caught any of them before.

Anonymous said...

Was looking up the references in Indiana Jones after I saw the Obi wan bar sign and didn't notice the plane was OB-CPO. Thank you John. I was also told by a friend (although this could be debated) that the scene in "Raiders of the lost ark" where they were opening the Ark and Indiana and Marian were tied to the pole that R2 D2's head was on top of the pole.

Anonymous said...

this is some high class nerd shit

Anonymous said...

That sound effect when the engine fails is also in Looper when the hover cycle fails

Anonymous said...

is it me or isn't the line when Indy offers 3,000 to marion and then 2,000 more when they get back to the states the same as OB1 and han in Mos Eisley?

Marvin Maxwell said...

Just watched the Indiana Jones trilogy at Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh. Awesome fun and i also spotted that the Millennium Falcons failing hyper drive sound can also be heard in Temple Of Doom when Willie Scott is being lowered into the lava pit.

Also a small R2-D2 can be found on the model ship of the Inferno in Goonies.