"How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?" – Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Raiders is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. I've been less enamored with the rest of the series so far and have not seen the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yet. I won't dispute that Indiana Jones is a cultural icon. Lately the promotion for the new film has been all over the place – from selling Indy's Fedora hat as a Facebook "gift" to Major League Baseball trying everything but on the field advertising to the NBA shameless opening segments during the playoffs. Some of the placements are harmless. Others are causing a stir – Not-The-Real-Ronald-McDonald is one of many folks blogging about the negative Burger King promotion for the film, targeting kids and fast food. But what about the whole premise of targeting kids in general?
I have 3 boys (all under 8) and I can't wait to watch Raiders with them one day. No way I would let them see the series now. Yet the marketing team is promoting Burger King, a massive Lego genre (no way AFOLs would sustain the product alone), and a ton of other products. "Indiana Jones Role Play Whip" for ages 6-10? "Playskool Mr. Potato Head: Taters of the Lost Ark Idaho Jones Spud" for ages 2-7? The spark for this post was seeing Indiana Jones Madlibs in an airport bookstore. Even tongue in cheek these types of toys are a bit over the top targeting the wrong age group, for films that are based on the original R-rated film (all the others were PG or PG-13).
Let's review. In the first film, in the opening scene, a former Indy assistant gets skewered in a jungle cave. Aside from the obvious snakes scene, a German officer getting run over by a truck and the bald soldier getting chopped up by an airplane propeller, there's always the 2 Germans and 1 French archaeologist melting into a bloody pool at the end of the movie. In the second flick, a shaman pulls a pumping heart out of a guy before dropping him in magma. In the third, I think the worst is when a pile of guys' heads get chopped off as they neglect to heed "Only the penitent man shall pass."
These are not scenes I want my boys re-enacting around the house, sorry. (I can't wait to watch the movies with them one day though.) There are so many other ways to market this film, I think the extra targeting of young kids just doesn't sit right.
Photo credit: Despotes via flickr, titled "For your toddler, a Jewish religious artifact and a killer ghost!" (note "Ages 3+" on the package).