Indiana Clones

Image for Indiana Clones

Given that it's based on a book written in 1885, it might be considered unfair to say that this Richard Chamberlain movie is something of an Indy rip-off. But J. Lee Thompson's giddy movie significantly tweaked the story from H. Rider Haggard's book in order to make it fit a movie mould, even inserting a spunky female sidekick/love interest in the pre-fame form of Sharon Stone. The less said about the sequel, Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold, the better.

Cut Indy's trousers off at the thigh and shove a couple of grapefruits up his vest and you have Lara Croft. Eidos' adventuring female archaeologist was created to deliberately transfer the properties of Indy into a shape younger, sexier and more likely to make teenage boys twitchy in the underpantal area. The creations worked brilliantly over nine video games, but fared less well on screen. Despite having found the perfect human embodiment in Angelina Jolie, the two cinematic adventures were as insubstantial as her hotpants.

The Nic Cage franchise about another relic hunter differs in one very particular way from the Indy franchise - well, not counting the fact that Indy is a classic and this is more mindless fun. Where George Lucas' stories opt for genuine, or perceived to be genuine, historical artefacts in order to ground the films in some kind of reality, these movies make them up. A President's book of secrets indeed.

Robert Zemeckis' guileless adventure is one of the few Indy-inspired films to actually nail the same playful, but not silly, mood. There's no attempt to hide the fact that Michael Douglas' Jack T. Colton is directly inspired by Indy, with even the characters introductory shot very similar to that in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Exotic locales, spunky female lead, a McGuffin - it's got the lot.

It's said that Raiders was in small part inspired by Disney's Uncle Scrooge comics of the 1950s. The opening sequence particularly has similarities to Uncle Scrooge #7, The Seven Cities of Cibola. However, Uncle Scrooge's more modern adventures in cartoon were quite unapologetically influenced by Indy. DuckTales: The Movie aped the movie in all forms. The poster has the same design (and was drawn by Drew Struzan). The early part of the movie has Scrooge and his nephews hunting for the treasure of Kali-Baba and a villain called Merlock (close enough to Belloq for us to pedantically say it's homage).

Indiana Jones in all but hat, Stephen Sommers' romp is one of the few films to come anywhere close to the mood of Indiana Jones. In fact, it has a lot more in common with Indy than it does with the original horror film from which it takes its name. The wise-cracking hero? Check. The spunky heroine? Check. The ancient artefact that everyone's forgotten the purpose of come the first great action sequence? Check.

In Clive Cussler's novels, Dirk Pitt had arguably more similarities to James Bond than Indiana Jones, with his predilection for gadgets and thwarting of global plots. He was distinctly un-Indy-like in Raise The Titanic, which might not be surprising, given that Raiders of the Lost Ark didn't come out for another year. The character was given a Indiana overhaul for Breck Eisner's Sahara, with more mysterious treasures to be hunted and a love for khaki. Matthew McConaughey makes a strong adventurous substitute for Dr Jones, but the film has little of the zest of Spielberg's series.

Go Back
Head back to our Indy hub for more exclusive features and interviews.