Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Indy Reviews - Titanium Series Vogel's Tank

I know it's been a while since I posted in this blog, but aside from real life issues, we're back to normal service. To kick things off, we're gonna take a look at the Indiana Jones Titanium Series. They were normally 15mm scale die cast models featuring vehicles from the franchise.

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Believe it or not, they're actually modern day Micro Machines, since Hasbro now owns Galoob.


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Now for today's review, we're going to be taking a look at one of the more iconic vehicles from the Indy franchise: Vogel's Tank from Last Crusade. It was released in 2008 like all the other toys in the Indy line to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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The tank measures roughly 15mm long from the tip of the treads to the rear. The main turret can rotate 360 degrees and the side 6pdr guns can move side to side. All of the Titanium series vehicles come with their own little display base to put them on and all feature the INDIANA JONES logo. Aside from the turret and the side guns, it's all completely die cast metal, something which is missing from today's toys. On the secondary market, they haven't lost much of their secondary value. Depending on where you go for the tank, it doesn't really go for much more than $10.

I really do like the Titanium Series. They're nice little collectables that you can either keep carded or take them out and put them on display somewhere. They fit quite neatly on any shelf, either on their own or on their display stand. For the more creative amongst the fandom, you could even create some 15mm scale dioramas and put them in there.

As a fun little side note for all the vehicles, the back of the card features a little fact sheet about said vehicle and a little blurb describing it's moment in the movie. Here's Vogel's tank:

http://www.parrygamepreserve.com/images/toys/indianaJones/hasbro/titanium/indyTitaniumVogelsTank6_M.jpg

In conclusion: It seems a very cliche thing to say about the Titaniums, but I love them and I think that every Indyfan should have them in their collection. Like I said previously about the Adventure Heroes figures, they're small and don't take up much room. They look great on any shelf and even desks. If anyone at there plays Flames of War or even Axis and Allies Miniatures, Vogel's Tank, the Flying Wing, the Cargo Truck and even the Biplane would look great as part of any army.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Indy Book Club - Last Crusade Adaptation

Another post about the comics? Yes, I understand that I only just put up a blog about the comics only a few weeks back, but the UK version of the Last Crusade adaptation came through my letter box this morning and I felt it was perfect to write about in an article.

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The cover itself is rather plain. Just a cropped version of the movie poster against a greyish tan background. There's a picture of Indiana Jones in the corner looking at the reader. It tells the reader that it's a "holiday special". UK readers who are familiar with Marvel UK will know that they produced special comics around the time of the British Summer Holidays around July/August, so that kids on holiday somewhere could read comics like Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, Transformers, Visionaries, Zoids and Real Ghostbusters, but I'll be saving a review of the Marvel UK run for another time.

The comic is essentially a reprint of the US comics, just in black and white. There was a colourised version, but it was serialised in the Incredible Hulk Presents comics, which also featured Action Force and Doctor Who stories. It features the same art as the US comics, which I think feels a little dated, more late 1970s, early 80s than the 1989 era of comics when it was penned and released.

I picked this awesome comic up on eBay for 75p with free shipping. If anyone out there is interested in this comic, I really do suggest tracking it down and adding it to your collection. It's a rather unique piece of British memorabilia.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Disney and LucasArts


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Gaming fans around the world are still reeling from the news that Disney chose to close down LucasArts, the gaming arm of LucasFilm, which it bought last October for a record $4 billion. There have been many divided opinions on it across the board as some loved LucasArts and some thought they went downhill over the years. However, the fact is, it's still a sad day to see a beloved developer finally close it's doors for the final time and no longer make games.

First conceived in 1982  by George Lucas as a way of expanding what he had and making a multitude of entertainment across all formats. Their first game, Ballblazer was released in 1985 for all home computers and the NES under their name of LucasFilm Games. They released several other games under this brand, the most iconic of which was Maniac Mansion in 1987.

As a gamer, I started playing LucasArts games. I remember playing some of their best games like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Last Crusade, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, The Dig, Monkey Island, Zombies ate my Neighbors. Dark Forces, Rebel Assault, TIE fighter, X-Wing and so much more. They were a staple of my childhood and I will remember them fondly. I'm not blinded by nostalgia, LucasArts is far from perfect. Who can ever forget stinkers like Masters of Teras Kasi or Demolition? It seems that in the era post 1998-2004, LucasArts were more interested in quantity and not quality, pumping out loads of sub-par Star Wars games and licensing them to other developers.

However in 2004, Jim Ward took over and I respect him. He made some very difficult and tough choices for LucasArts at time time, such as making games that would put LucasArts back at the top of the ladder. He also reduced the staff from 450 right down to 190. He was concerned with making games that were about top quality, rather than just pumping them out. Under Ward, there were major successes in the Republic Commando game as well as the Battlefront games. As well as having later hits with episode 3, Galaxies and Force Unleashed, he also made new IPs in Fracture, Mercenaries and Thrillville. He also kept up the good relationships with other developers like Free Radical.

However, when Ward left in 2008 for personal reasons, his replacement Darrell Rodriguez changed things up. Things went back downhill with the mediocre Force Unleashed 2 and because of it's low scores, Rodriguez reorganised LucasArts once again and laid off more staff. His only success so far is the hugely popular MMO The Old Republic, which is one of the most played on the planet. LucasArts kept experiencing layoffs until 2010, when he was replaced by Paul Meegan. Under Meegan, the average Star wars Kinect was released and then we got the talk of Battlefront 3 and Star Wars 1313.

However, with the subsequent news of Disney shutting down LucasArts, all future projects have been canned to make way for Episode VIII. Disney later revealed that LucasArts would no longer create or develop any games and all future titles would be made by Disney Interactive or licensed to third party developers. This resulted in massive lay offs from LucasArts and ILM.

As a gamer, I am sad it's happened and we have lost an awesome studio with an awesome library of games. Sure, not all of them were perfect, but what studio is? It was inevitable as the quality of games had indeed slipped over the years and things were getting worse. I hope though with the licenses they do have, the best ones end up with studios who will cherish them, like Telltale and I hope this doesn't mean the end of classic franchises and IPs.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Indy Book Club - Dark Horse Bonus

Since the main series is done, I just thought I'd make a smaller article showing off the shorter one shots and bonus stories.


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The first story was a short 2 page story in the Young Indiana Jones Magazine. It's set between the Mexico portion of Spring Break Adventure and the start of Love's Sweet Song. In this short adventure, Indy overhears a German spy trying to start a mutiny on the steamer he's on. However, thanks to his quick thinking, he and Remy save the day. It's only appearance was in the only issue of Young Indy Magazine.

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Now, I know what you're thinking. Aside from Ford playing both, what does Han Solo have to do with Indiana Jones? Well, in 2003, Star Wars Tales published a story called Into The Great Unknown. It's an uncanon short in which The Falcon escapes from an Imperial Star Destroyer, however, a damaged hyperdrive and a blind jump cause the Falcon to crash somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Han believes they've made it to Endor. However, Han and Chewie are attacked by Natives. Chewie flees the scene and becomes the basis for the sasquatch myth. 125 years later, Indy and Short Round come across the wreckage of the Falcon. Upon exploration, Indy notices how "eerily familiar" a set of remains are and the pair decide to leave it be. Look for it in Star Wars Tales issue 19, or in the Star Wars Tales vol 5. trade paperback.



In 2008, Dark Horse released a one shot mini trade. Called Indiana Jones Adventures Vol 1. Set in 1930, it follows Indy from Northern Europe on the search for a statue that's worth millions and has incredible powers. However, Belloq is also after the same statue. Will Indy get to it in time?

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In 2009, Indy returned to comics again, but this time in a one shot. The Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day special. It was a flip comic, with one side being a Clone Wars story and the other being the Indy story. The Temple of Yearning. The story follows Indy in Thailand as he's found an old temple with a combination. However, his college intern has stolen a copy of the combination and plans to steal the vast treasure within. Indy decides the treasure is too dangerous to get a hold of, leaving his greedy intern to his fate.



The final short was Indiana Jones Adventures Vol 2 - The Curse of the Invincible Ruby. It was published in 2009 as a digest sized trade paperback, following from it's previous installment, Adventures Vol 1. It's set in 1931 and Indy investigates a series of burglaries of animal statues from around the world. The authorities believe that it's a simple burglary for the black market. However, Indy and Marcus believe otherwise. According to legend, the statues stolen are the keys to unlocking the Invincible Ruby, it's now down to Indy to rescue the statues and prevent them and the ruby falling into the wrong hands.


That's it folks. That's everything by Dark Horse covered. It's been a load of fun putting together these articles as it's given me and the fans reading this an insight into the world of Indiana Jones. All the stories I mentioned from marvel right through to the end of Dark Horse are all worth picking up, so please do if you don't already have them.


Indy Book Club - The Comics of Indiana Jones (Dark Horse part 2)

Welcome back to this super special look at the world of Indiana Jones comics. It's been a roller coaster ride through the Mighty World of Marvel's take on the intrepid adventurer. We've seen their adaptations of the movies and of course, their own take on adventures between the movies. We then took a look at the world of Dark Horse and their take on Indy's world. The first half of the story is complete, but now, back to the story, where we learn what happened in the world of Indy from 1996-2009.




 

After their successes right up until 1995, Dark Horse changed things up storyline wise and made their first story about Indy set in a post-war world. Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix was set in 1947. A world where the Nazis were long gone, Russia was on the march and Communism was on the rise throughout the world. This story saw Indy on the hunt for the Philosopher's Stone. A mystical artifact that a secret cabal of Nazis planned on using to resurrect Hitler.

A video game was planned of the adaptation by LucasArts, however since European laws meant that any games that have Nazi images in them, especially in Germany are banned, the game was shelved. However, LucasArts were infact credited in the pages of the comic. It was reprinted in Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol.2.

 


The next story to be released was Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny. It was a four part series set in the closing days of WW2. It featured Indy and his father in Ireland, searching for the Spear of Destiny, which is what Nazi agents want. With the spear in their hands, they could dominate the world and be invincible. It's up to both Jones boys to save the day. It was reprinted in the UK Indiana Jones Adventures comic as well as in the Indiana Jones Omnibus vol. 2.

 

The final story of the 1990s is perhaps a cult favourite of the fans. Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates was a 3 part story set in 1939. In it, Indy is in the Arctic, searching for a Viking ship, when he's betrayed by the people he thought he could trust. Now, his only companions are a conman who's pretending to be Indy's brother and a woman who's on the run from the law. There's plenty of action, adventure, intrigue and betryal. Who do you trust? The story was reprinted in the Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol 2.


Sadly, after Sargasso Pirates hit in 1995, Indy was largely silent from 1996-2008. However, in 2008, Dark Horse released their adaptation of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.


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Presented in 2 issues, each with it's own variant cover. It's set in 1957 and largely follows the plot of the movie with some minor differences. In the comic book adaptation, there is no race between the Soviets and the American teenagers. Some of the scenes in the comic are based around deleted scenes from the movie. It was reprinted as a trade paperback and in the UK Indiana Jones Comic.




The most recent Indy comic was Tomb of the Gods. It was released in 2009 and is set in 1936. Indy is tasked with finding 3 pieces of a stone key that will open the Tomb of the Gods. He's joined in his quest by Marcus Brody and a mysterious treasure hunter. Is she friend or foe? The story was partially reprinted in the UK Indiana Jones comic and it had it's own trade paperback release in 2009.

That pretty much covers all the major story lines and series released by Dark Horse. Will we ever see another Indy story? I'd like to see it. With Disney owning Marvel now and with the licenses for Indy and Star Wars comics supposedly expiring soon, will Disney take them back under the Marvel umbrella and we see them back under the Marvel brand? It's certainly possible. Feel free to comment on this and other articles.

Once again, if anyone out there is interested, the issues can be bought online or if you'd rather have them on a bookshelf, then you can find the trade paperbacks easily as well.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Indy Book Club - The Comics of Indiana Jones (Dark Horse) Part 1

As the days of Marvel drew to a close after the release of Last Crusade, many wondered what would happen to the intrepid archaeologist in comic book format. For fans of the novels, there were still novels being published by the likes of Max McCoy and Rob MacGregor. I'll be covering these in a later article. But in March 1991, things were about to change.

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This was the first brand new comic to be published by the current license holder of Indiana Jones. This was a 4 part series that predates the hugely popular game by a year. It follows Indiana Jones as he searches for the lost continent of Atlantis. Aided by his friend and love interest Sophia Hapgood, Indy must race Klaus Kerner to Atlantis before the Nazis get the unlimited power of Atlantis. Like the game it is set in 1939, just months prior to the outbreak of WW2. It was reprinted in 1992 as a trade paperback to coincide with the game's release and then again in 2008, with the launch of Dark Horse's Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol.1.

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After the amazing feedback that Fate of Atlantis recieved, Dark Horse released it's second tie in. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles debuted March 4th on ABC in 1992. Dark horse released a 12 issue series that tied in with the series. Issues 1 covered Egypt 1908 (My First Adventure),  Issue 2 covered Mexico, 1916 (Curse of the Jackal). 3 and 4 covered British East Africa, 1909 (Passion for Life). Issues 5 and 6 covered covered Verdun 1916 (Demons of Deception).  7 and 8 covered German East Africa, 1916 (Phantom Train of Doom). 9 and 10 covered Austria, 1917 (Adventures in the Secret Service) and finally 11 and 12 covered Peking, 1910 (Journey of Radiance). Sadly, the series has not been reprinted yet, so the only way to get these at the moment is by tracking down the individual issues. Hopefully, Dark Horse will reprint these comics.

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The next mini series to be released by Dark Horse was Thunder in The Orient in 1993. It follows the story of Indiana Jones and Sophia Hapgood racing the Imperial Japanese Army this time to Shangri-La. The journey takes them through India to Nepal to Afghanistan and then finally through enemy occupied China towards their goal. It was a six issue series. There are several references to the Young Indy Chronicles within the comic. Indy states that he remembers riding with Pancho Villa and Indy also states that he worked with French Intelligence during World War 1.  It was recently reprinted in the Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol 1.

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Storming off the back of Thunder in the Orient in May 1994, Dark Horse released their next storyline. Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold. Set in 1937, the story follows Indy as he travels to South America in search of Chimu Taya Arms of Cuzco. A set of golden armour belonging to an Inca emperor. Oddly, as the story takes place in South America, most of the people he encounters speak Quechea, Indy relies on a translator, though he should already know and speak Quechea as he rode with Pancho Villa and his men, who did speak Quechea. The story is spread over 4 issues and was reprinted in the Indiana Jones Omnibus vol 1.

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Only a month after Arms of Gold had finished, Dark Horse released their next story for our intrepid adventurer. It was a two part story called The Golden Fleece. It hit stores and newstands in June 1994 and is set in Greece, 1941. In this one, the Nazis and the Cult of Hecate are after the Golden Fleece, which would mean supreme victory for the Nazis if they got their hands on it. Indy must recover the Fleece before the Nazis or the Cult of Hecate get their hands on it. It was first reprinted in Dark Horse Spotlight in 1994 and then again in 2008, in the Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol.2.

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Penned in October 1992, the same month as Young Indy Chronicles, Dark Horse released their big story Shrine of the Sea Devil. The story was published in Dark Horse Comics Anthology to begin with, rather than a separate series dedicated to Indy. The story is set in 1935, prior to the events of Temple of Doom. Indy is in the South Pacific, searching for the Shrine of the Sea Devil, an underwater palace that's supposedly filled with vast wealth and treasures beyond comprehension. It was later reprinted in 1995 in a trade paperback format, but hasn't been reprinted since.

This is just the first part in a look at what Dark Horse had to offer in terms of Indiana Jones stories since they took the license in 1990. Next week, I'll be finishing my look at Dark Horse stories that;ll cover the end of 1995's run and then into the 2000s. Most of the stories have been reprinted in the omnibus format, which can be found online. Though some collectors may want the individual issues, which can be found in comic shops and online largely cheap these days.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Indy Book Club - The Comics of Indiana Jones (Marvel Comics)

First off, I want to apologise for not putting up a blog last week, but this one has been so big, that it's required a full two weeks or so to prepare and put together. It's a very special one for the Easter holiday.

You can name any movie or TV series and it will more than likely have had a comic book tie in. Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator, RoboCop, Aliens, Predator, Buffy and much much much more. Indiana Jones has been no exception.

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In 1981, a few months after the release of the movie in theatres, fans were treated to the official comic book adaptation from Marvel Comics. The three issue series was penned by Walter Simonson and drawn by Sal Buscema, both of them famous already in the Mighty World of Marvel for their work on the likes of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Thor and Star Wars. Like the movie, there are some subtle differences between the comic version and the movie. In the comic, Barranca isn't killed by the Hovitos. Toht is killed in Gobler's car when it drives over the cliff. The Cairo Swordsman does not appear in the comic. There are two scenes in the comic which were inspired some deleted scenes from the movie and it does explain one other. In the comic, Sallah explains to Indy after the Flying Wing scene that he was able to escape punishment by claiming that he believed Indy was infact a German officer. As to how Indy got to the island on the U-Boat, he lashed himself to the periscope with his whip, losing his hat on the way. Other than that, it's largely the same moments from the movie. It was reprinted in Marvel Comics Super Special 18, an Annual and in the recent Dark Horse Indiana Jones Omnibus: Further Adventures Vol.1

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In September, 1984, Marvel released their second adaptation. This time of Temple of Doom. This time, it was penned by 90s Spider-Man scribe, David Micheline and drawn by Jackson Guice. Like Raiders, it largely follows the plot of Temple of Doom, with some differences like the novel. Like the novel, Short Round learns that fire can cure the Black Sleep after witnessing a thuggee guard get burned by lava and returning to normal, only for him to be carried away to be reconverted. It was also shown that this was a deleted scene. Chattar Lal is killed in the comic when he and Indy fall into the flame pit, however, Indy is able to climb free, leaving Lal to fall to his death. For some reason, Mola Ram is drawn wearing his cattle skull headdress for majority of the comic, unlike his movie counterpart of wearing it for the ceremony only. It was reprinted in Marvel Comics Super Special 30 and in Dark Horse's Further Adventures Omnibus Vol.2.


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Though after the release of Raiders, Marvel released a spin off series. It was The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. It ran from 1983 to 1986 and filled in the gaps of the story from 1935 to 1937. The first story, Ikons of Ikammanem picks up only weeks after the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The series ran for 34 issues overall. It featured all the classic Indy characters and even what they got up to post Raiders. Marion ran her own nightclub called The Raven's Nest. Indy even meets the sister of Arnold Toht, Ilsa. All 34 issues have been reprinted in the Dark Horse Indiana Jones Omnibus The Further Adventures vol 1-3.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1

In 1989, Marvel released their third and final comic book adaptation. The Last Crusade launched on September 1989 and was penned once again by David Micheline, though this time drawn by Brett Brevins. It follows the plot of the movie more closely than the others with fewer noticable differences. It took place over 4 issues, much like Temple of Doom was. Some of the changes were that there is no motorcycle chase in the comic book adaptation. All of the Hatay tank crew were Germans. The adaptation was collected in The Further Adventures omnibus vol.3.

Overall, the series has had it's ups and downs. Some have liked it's art and some haven't. I've been reading them and I've been enjoying the series. If you love your Indiana Jones and you love comics. I highly recommend collecting either the original issues, most of which you can get very cheaply at comic book stores, garage sales, flea markets and even eBay, or there are the Dark Horse reprints which you can find in comic book stores and online.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Disney and LucasFilm

I can understand many of my readers being a bit confused as to why I'm only just writing about this now, but I wanted to get more facts before I wrote a blog. Now that the legal dust has settled and all the information is here, it's time to throw my hat into the ring.

The biggest announcement of October 2012 was that Disney had bought LucasFilm and all it's subsidaries from George Lucas for a whopping $4 billion. Everyone I knew was excited. FaceBook, Twitter and the forums were alive with the news as well as thoughts and hopes for the future. Many people were excited and thought that it'd be amazing. Some thought that Disney were turning into a monopoly after previously acquiring Marvel. But to be honest and fair, Disney have largely left Marvel to their own devices comic wise and only really stepped in with distribution of movies.

The news broke that in 2015, Star Wars would return to the big screen for Episode VII and it'd have the original trilogy cast in it again. Once again, everyone was taking to the internet to explode about how great this was and what it would do for the Star Wars franchise as a whole and now that it'd be owned by Disney. Fans across the world have been in speculation ever since.

But then the interest turned to Indiana Jones. Where did the intrepid archaeologist sit in this deal. The answer is sadly tossed aside on the scrapheap. Despite there being several attractions dedicated to Indy across it's theme parks, the stores and the piles of merchandise with Indy's likeness on it available at the parks, as well as an overall box office record for all four movies of $1.9 billion worldwide, many people thought that Indy V would be a no brainer. The biggest issue that came up was Paramount holding the distribution rights for all Indiana Jones movies on formats. Though, this isn't much of an issue as Paramount currently distribute many of Disney's movies and have recently distributed the Marvel Cinematic Universe on DVD and Blu-Ray and there's no sign of that deal ever stopping. So if it's not that, what could it be? 

There are a few theories, so lets have a look at them. 

  • Spielberg tired of directing action movies
In a recent interview with TV show 60 Minutes to promote Lincoln, he claimed that the thrill of action has faded on him as the years have gone by. .“I knew I could do the action in my sleep,” he said. “At this point in my career, in my life, the action doesn’t hold any — it doesn’t attract me any more.”.

As Indiana Jones at it's core is an action-adventure movie, it doesn't hold much hope for a return to the franchise. But he hasn't totally given up on the action genre, as he's currently set to direct "Robopocalypse".  However, if Indy was to get new life in Indy V, how would fans feel if Spielberg didn't direct and instead, someone else took the helm?

  • Frank Marshall claims that "Crystal Skull" was Indy's "Last Hurrah"
Frank Marshall was the producer for Raiders, Last Crusade and Crystal Skull. While on the promotion trail for his most recent movie, The Bourne Legacy, Marshall was asked about Indy V by Collider and he had this to say:  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was “the last hurrah” for the franchise. He added that the principal Indy creative brain trust — Spielberg, Lucas, Harrison Ford, and himself — still “talk about” a fifth Indy film. “But there’s no idea [for a story]; there’s no MacGuffin.”

  • Harrison Ford's age
There's no denying it and no getting around it. Ford will be 71 this year. Sure, he's in fighting shape when he filmed Crystal Skull five years ago and he's still making movies even to this day. But how long can he keep doing action? The other point is that suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Can we really see a 75 year old Indy in the 60s, getting into fights with communists like he did in the 30s?

  • Shia LaBeouf is done with Hollywood
This one will affect people differently. There's Indy fans out there who like Mutt and then there's some who can't stand him. It seemed that in Crystal Skull, Mutt would be taking over the franchise at a future date and be the hero of his own series of adventures.  However, things changed when the news broke in 2012 that Shia was quitting mainstream Hollywood for more independent movies as he believed that “there’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system — it literally cannot exist.”

Now, compare his statement about Hollywood to the statement he made when he apologized for Crystal Skull. “[Spielberg's] done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball"

It seems to me that after a flagging career over the years, bad movie choices over the years, his drunken antics off camera and then the thinly veiled attack at Spielberg, his career within Indiana Jones is slowly looking dimmer.

Now, I believe that these challenges and hurdles could be overcome with a killer script, some recasting and a new director. But with Spielberg occupied with other projects and Disney/LucasFilm looking at expanding the Star Wars universe, Indy's fedora is going to be hung on the rack for another long while to come.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Indy Review - Mickey Mouse as Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is one of those movie characters that will forever be engrained into pop culture iconography. From the many parodies on TV from the likes of Muppet Babies to even Tiny Toon Adventures, Indiana Jones is everywhere. This leads perfectly into the wonderful and amazing world of Disney, though more specifically it's Theme Parks.

Indiana Jones has played a massive role in shaping these parks, I'd personally say on par with Star Wars as external franchises that aren't created by Disney themselves. Now, over the years, we've had many items in the theme parks that tie Indy into Disney. These have ranged from pin badges to plush toys of Disney characters wearing the hat and jacket.

In 2008, Disney Theme Parks released an exclusive PVC figurine for it's theme parks. Mickey Mouse as Indiana Jones.


Indiana Mickey as many fans call him stands at about 2 inches in height. He's not an action figure in the strictest sense, but he does swivel at the waist, neck and arms. His accessories include the gas mask bag, a whip and an idol in gold plastic that resembles a smaller Mickey Mouse. he can hold either the whip or the idol his hand, but the hand seems a little too open for the whip. If you want to pose him with the whip in his hand, I would recommend using a small bit of sticky tack on the whip to keep it in place.

As for the overall sculpt, there's no denying on who it's supposed to be. This is Indiana Jones. It keeps an Indiana Jones flair, while keeping with the whole animated style of Mickey Mouse. As is expected on PVC items there are mold lines and minor paint bleeding.


As a collector, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who doesn't already have him in their collection. He's a must for anyone who collects Disney memorabilia, or collects the Disney/Muppets figures and of course Indiana Jones collectors be they casual or die hard.

If you are ever at the parks, they retail in there for $10. If you can;t get there, you can find them with online retailers or even eBay.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Indy Game Club - Infernal Machine

After the LucasArts Point and Click Adventure era slowly came to a close, LucasArts turned to new styles of games for their franchises. Star Wars went deeper into the way of the shooter, going into first and third person combat as well as space. There were even RTS games.

LucasArts had already had a massive hit with the ever popular and cult favourite: Fate of Atlantis. So how could they make the intrepid archaeologist a hit for the dawn of the new millennium? The answer? Hal Barwood, famous for his work on the previous Indy hit, Fate of Atlantis, came upon the idea of making Indy into a 3rd person adventure game.


In 1999, LucasArts unveiled their new game. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. The game is set in 1947. Indiana Jones is met on a dig in Utah by his friend from Fate of Atlantis, Sophia Hapgood, who now belongs to the newly formed CIA, explains to Indy that the Russians are searching in Babylon for the Infernal Machine, which allowed the ancient Babylonians to contact their god Marduk. The Russians intend to find the Infernal Machine, the lost parts which are scattered in locations around the world and use the Infernal Machine to win the Cold War. With the clue of Babylon and an ancient gear that Sophia gives him, Indy sets off all over the world trying to keep one step ahead of the Russians and get to the Infernal Machine before the Russians can get a hold of it first.

The game has some exotic locales, ranging from Utah in the US, to Kazakhstan, to Mexico and the Phillipines. Fans of the series will enjoy a bonus level which can be accessed if the player can find enough treasure within each of the game's levels, a map can be bought which takes the player back to Peru and to the Chachapoyan temple from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The level still has many references to the movie as the remains of both Forrestal and even Satipo can be found. After recovering a second golden idol from the temple, Indy muses that "Belloq isn't around to get this one" and after the pedestal sinking and escaping yet another boulder, Indy mentions that he "still can't speak Hovitos".

The strategy guide from Prima actually contains some prequel material for the game. Indy and Henry Sr. are currently living together in New York and Indy is preparing to start a semester at Barnett College and the trip with students to Utah as mentioned in the first level of the game. Henry Sr. is going to be looking after Indy's classes while he's away and Henry reminds Indy to be weary of those "Godless Communists."


The game looks, feels and plays very much like a big hit of the era, Tomb Raider. Indy moves in 90 degree angles to himself in all directions. He can run and jump onto certain ledges. There's obvious blocks which can be pushed and pulled to provide a higher platform to reach others. Other items that can be used are statues and bits of wood where Indy can whip and swing across large chasms that are too big to jump across.


The game was released in late 1999 on PC and N64. An entirely different Gameboy Color version was released around the same time, however it was an isometric adventure and released by THQ instead of LucasArts. A Playstation port was announced and set to be released, however, it never made it to the console. Sources claim that poor sales of the N64 version were the reason behind the cancellation.


To end this blog, I'd personally say that Infernal Machine is quite an interesting game in it's own right that deals with the supernatural again, being as there's gods and ancient robots for Indy to fight. However, it's done in the right way that still keeps with the Indy theme. I do feel with the amount of action, the game could work as an interesting Indy movie. I'd say that if you have an N64, a PC that could run it or even a Gameboy Color, I'd say check out this quite cult Indy gem.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Indy Reviews - Adventure Heroes

Last time in the Temple, we discussed Idaho Jones and how he was aimed at the more younger fans. Though Idaho Jones wasn't Hasbro's only attempt at bringing the world of Indiana Jones to the younger crowd and get them interested in the intrepid archeologist.

In 2008, Hasbro launched it's Adventure Heroes toyline alongside the others. Aimed solely at the junior level archeologist, they were a resounding success, making Indy out to be more cute and friendly to appear more appealing to parents and children. It follows a similar vein to the previous Playskool Jedi Force line, where they brought the world of Star Wars to the younger crowds.


The first wave, shown above, was based around Raiders of the Lost Ark. The figures usually had very limited articulation, usually having a neck swivel and one or both arms on a swivel. Still though, despite their limited articulation compared to the main Hasbro lines, they were still a success with children and also became a more permanent fixture with adult collectors as well. I've seen pictures online of adult collectors putting them in their regular collection or even on office desks as little statues.


Wave 4 was the final wave of Adventure Heroes to hit store shelves. It rounded off the movies and gave us characters from Temple of Doom, Last Crusade and Crystal Skull. However, the story of Adventure Heroes doesn't end there.

Each figure came with an insert sheet with a map of South America and a sticker to go on it. Once the sheet had been filled in and posted back to Hasbro, after 6-8 weeks, then you'd recieve an exclusive that was unavailable in stores.


Indiana Jones on Horseback figure. Only available through a special mailaway offer. It arrived in a special crate-like mailer box. It would have been a perfect addition to anyone's Adventure Heroes collection.

Before I end this, if anyone is interested in a checklist for their AH, here it is:

Wave 1 - ROTLA

  • Indy & Cairo Swordsman
  • Indy & Tribal Warrior
  • Indy & Marion 
  • Indy & German Mechanic
  • Sallah & Mummy
  • Renee Belloq & Ark Ghost
Wave 2 - KOTCS
  • Indy & Colonel Dovchenko
  • Indy & Ugha Warrior
  • Mutt & Irina Spalko
Wave 3 - ToD
  • Indy & Willie Scott
  • Short Round & Temple Thug
  • Mola Ram & Temple Priest
Wave 4 - LC
  • Indy & Henry Jones Sr
  • Indy & Elsa
  • Grail Knight & Colonel Vogel
Mail-Away
  • Indy & Horse
In closing, a very nice and interesting way of keeping children interested in Indy, backed up by a Mr. Potato Head. If only Indy's interest didn't die off in 2010, we might have actually seen more from the AH line and it might have expanded further into the realms of Indy's world. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Indy Reviews - Idaho Jones

What an interesting name. Who or what is Idaho Jones? In 2008, Playskool cashed in on the Indiana Jones craze, just like their many other Mr. Potato Head figures with such hits as Darth Tater, R2-Pota2, Optimash Prime and Spider Spud. 


Enter Idaho Jones in Taters of the Lost Ark. He comes with Indy's trademark Jacket, whip, fedora and a golden Mr. Potato Head Idol in his hand. The fedora is unique as when pushed, it plays a series of short clips from the now famous Raiders March. In addition to all this, he comes with an Indy style smirk that can be swapped out for a Mr. Potato Head style grin. 


All in all, he;s a fun little toy for collectors and collectors with young children. The idol is a fun little accessory that's glued into his hand. It's a spud-ified version of the Idol from the start of Raiders. For a child's toy, the coiled whip is pretty detailed, with crosshatching on the whip. 

I'd recommend it for any Indy collectors as well as novelty collectors. It'd make a great conversation starter in any collection. If you can find it on the secondary market like eBay, flea markets or anything like that or even online for a good price, you won't go far with this purchase. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Indy Game Club - Emperor's Tomb

Year released: 2003
Format: PS2, Xbox and PC
Publisher: LucasArts

Indiana Jones has always been popular, be it comics, movies, action figures and general merchandise. However, there's one thing that's always been made since 1980 is the video game. After their success in 1999 with the Infernal Machine (which I'll cover in another article), LucasArts hit the ball out the park with 2003's Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

Storyline





Set in May 1935, a mere two months before Temple of Doom, the game opens with Indy in Ceylon, looking for the idol of Koru Watu. Indy searches through temples, avoiding traps and ivory hunters as he eventually makes his way into the idol chamber. After narrowly avoiding being eaten by a giant albino crocodile, Indy meets with the villain of the game, Albrecht Von Beck. After escaping from Von Beck and his men, Indy makes his way back to New York, where he resumes teaching at Barnett College, where he's approached by Marshal Chang and his assistant, Mei Ying. They tell Dr. Jones about the Heart of the Dragon, a black pearl buried with the First Emperor of China. They think the Nazis are going to steal it and want Indy to get it before the Nazis do. 

The journey takes Indy to Prague where he searches a large and seemingly haunted castle, filled with Gestapo agents who want the piece of the puzzle Indy has and the second piece that's hidden in the Prague castle. Indy finds the second piece, but is captured by the Nazis. Indy awakens in Istanbul and is feed by Mei Ying, who gives him a clue that the Nazis are after the third and final piece of the puzzle.

After battling his way through parts of Istanbul and into a nearby Mosque, Indy finds the Nazis have found the sunken palace of Belisarius, where the third piece supposedly buried. After a fierce and intense battle with a kraken in the amphitheatre, Indy recovers the third piece and escapes. After this, Indy finds Mei Ying and she tells him that Kai is the leader of The Black Dragon Triad, the most powerful criminal group in all of China. On the hunt for Kai, Indy heads to Hong Kong, where he meets up with Wu Han (from Temple of Doom). After Mei Ying is kidnapped by Kai's men, Indy and Wu Han give chase, right up to Kai's hidden fortress at the top of the Penglai Mountains.

After Indy infiltrates Kai's fortress, going through a Nazi U-Boat base, he learns that Kai and Von Beck are working together and plan to use the Heart of the Dragon to take over the world. He eventually makes his way into the Black Dragon Fortress, where he rescues Mei Ying from Kai and ends up falling down a shaft into the Temple of Kong Tien. After Indy makes his way out the temple, Von Beck persues Indy across a series of platforms in a drill tank. Though Indy is able to outwit and keep ahead of the tank, barely making it across a giant chasm which Von Beck falls down and is killed.

Indy learns that Kai has gone into the Netherworld after the Heart of the Dragon. Indy follows Kai and gets into a battle with him over the Heart. After losing control of his newfound powers Kai is consumed by the spirits of the Netherworld as Indy and Mei Ying barely escape.

Back in Hong Kong, Indy celebrates his discovery and tries to get some romantic time with Mei Ying, but Wu Han is quick to remind Indy that Lao Che has requested they find Nurhachi's urn, thus, leading directly into Temple of Doom.

Gameplay

The game is a basic 3D action platformer. Indy can swing across large gaps with his whip, shimmy across ledges, perform running jumps, exceute rolls and more. In combat, anything can be used as an improv weapon, depending on the level. This can range from shovels, to chairs, to bottles and more. Indy's own weapons aren't limited either. Aside from his whip, fists and revolver, Indy can pick up shotguns, extra pistols, SMGs, a rocket launcher and a crossbow.

During the game, there are puzzles, but usually the answer to the puzzle is conveniently nearby, except the Clock Tower puzzle in the Prague castle level. Though with looking around, the answer is always nearby.

The manual isn't what you'd expect from a game. Instead of being a basic info and controls booklet like most, it's actually in the style of a special 1935 journal, where the controls and everything is laid out as such. There's diary entries that fill in extra portions of the story. The controls are listed as part of a doctor's note.



Throughout each level of the game, there's a hidden artifact for you to find. Some of them are harder to find than others, but keep your eyes peeled.



The above picture shows all the artifacts that are available in the game.



The loading screens between each new locale is just like the movies

And finally. It's by no means a perfect game. There are glitches within it and some fans don't like the extreme supernatural elements of the storyline, such as magical boomerangs called a Pa Cheng, zombies, demonic possession and portals to the Netherworld, but nevertheless, it's still a game that's got a very rich and decent story to it and I do recommend that any Indyfan who has an Xbox, PS2 or a PC, get this game and give it a try, you won't be all that disappointed. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

So here we are. 2012 is behind us and now we face what's ahead of us in 2013. I hope all my fans and readers out there have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013. As Doc Brown said at the end of Back to the Future Part III: "The future is what you make it, so make it a good one"

Indy Book Club - The Treasure Trade (Epilogue)

Seems last time, I made a small mistake and missed out the epilogue. Oops....For all the fans wanting to know how the story ends:


Washington D.C.


          Crow could not believe it. He had spent days trying to figure out how that ring was a fake. He certainly didn’t switch it. He’d just gone along with Berlati because it seemed the only feasible method of surviving the old man’s wrath. Rath and Carson couldn’t possibly have cherished a fake so greatly. In fact, when he had told Rath about the incident, she had been just as confused as he was. And yet Carson was telling a different story…
“Wait, Jerry. Are you telling me you switched the ring?”
Carson seemed to take particular pride in regaling Crow with this tale. “Well, in the sense that I paid somebody else to do it…”
“When?!”
“A friend of mine within the CIA tracked Berlati’s calls and saw that he contacted a Dr. Vincent Conlon of Florence about verifying the authenticity of a ring fabled to be Andvarinaut.”
“Who’s Vincent Conlon?”
“That voice on the telephone you mentioned, most likely. He is the director of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze. Apparently they’re quite a reputable body for these types of evaluations, don’t ask me why. However, their repute does not extend to their employees. I contacted Conlon’s secretary and promised to pay off his mortgage if he switched the ring when it came into Conlon’s hands.”
“Did he?”
“Oh boy, did he ever! Turns out Conlon had to come to Shanghai to evaluate the ring, but he didn’t much like the idea of spending a few nights in a city that isn’t in Europe. So guess who he sends in his place?”
          “You’ve gotta be kidding.”
“I kid you not. He had eight hours with that ring, only two of which he was under supervision. Bloody daylight robbery!”
Crow was sitting in the exact same spot he had been weeks ago, when Carson had first sent him on his mission. It was now late evening in D.C., and Crow had recounted to Carson what had happened during his assignment. Now Carson was proceeding to tell Crow his own little story about what he had been doing over the past few weeks.
Crow responded, “Well, that was lucky for you.”
Carson replied mischievously, “I don’t think luck came into it…”
Crow suddenly realized, “You tipped Berlati off about that ring, didn’t you?”
“I told him if I couldn’t have it, Rath shouldn’t either…”
“So all that crap I went through was for absolutely nothing?”
“More or less,” he paused. “What, you didn’t think I would actually part with the Ark Wood, did you?”
          Crow pouted, “You sure know how to waste a guy’s time, Carson.”
          Carson rubbed his forehead, thinking hard.
          “I suppose I should give you something extra, for all your trouble, then?”
          Crow smiled mischievously.
          “Sixty-million too much to ask?”





THE END