Friday, November 17, 2006

You Asked For It

It has been brought to my attention that there are a number of Harrison Ford fans among the readers of this humble blog. Cool. I've been a fan since I saw Star Wars as a kid. I don't know about the rest of you, but Luke Skywalker never seemed as tough as Han Solo. Ford infused the character with a coolness that can't be faked; just as he brings a certain twinkle to Indiana Jones' eye. Ford doesn't have the number of sci-fi/fantasy movies roles under his belt that Schwarzenegger does, but if you were to create a contest in which you measure quality vs. quantity, Ford wins hands down. The original Star Wars trilogy is just one of the best series' of movies that has ever been made in my opinion. Though episodes I-III were a disappointment to me. And being in a blockbuster series doesn't guarantee a future in Hollywood, just ask Mark Hamill. I think what won me over about Han Solo was the bit of swagger Ford brought to the role. The guy is a bit of a scoundrel and generally speaking only looks out for himself. Over time he changes and I think it Ford does a good job of showing the progression of the character. One of my main complaints about the newest Star Wars trilogy was that the character of Anakin went through such an abrupt personality change. I never felt there was a natural progression. Ford manages to bring empathy to Han Solo without changing the essential character. Perhaps there was a bit of luck that landed Harrison the part of Indiana Jones, after all it was originally offered to Tom Selleck. Fortunately for Ford, Selleck was unable to take the role and Ford became indelibly linked to the part. Indian Jones is another fun character. I loved these movies growing up and really can't imagine anyone else in the role. Indy can have a bit of the scoundrel in him too, but he's mostly a good guy. I love the way the character is a bow tie wearing teacher when he's not off looking for some artifact and a fedora-wearing, snake fearing adventurer the rest of the time. I also think Ford brings across the idea that Indy is winging it most of the time, never really knowing if his latest gamble will pay off. One of my all time favorite movies is Blade Runner, based on the Philip K. Dick book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (is that the coolest title or what?) Ford plays Rick Deckard, a retired bounty hunter who is hired to hunt down rouge "replicants," as androids were called. Some people I know don't like this movie that much, feeling the pacing is too slow. I like it though, it conveys a broodiness that I feel is in keeping with the storyline. This part was also very different that Han Solo. There isn't the cocky bravado he became known for in the other role and instead brought a certain weariness to the role. I can watch it over and over. Ford has done so many more movies than the one's I described here. But since this blog does have a theme, I'll leave off mentioning any others for now. Though What Lies Beneath has supernatural elements, it's not one of my favorite Ford films. Also, tell me if you think they will end up making another Indiana Jones movie. They keep promising to though I think it's been stuck in development Hell for quite a while. Do you guys think Ford is too old to keep playing the part? Frankly, he could be 80 and I'd go see it. But that's just me.


Sidney said...

I love Blade Runner too. I tend to like the theatrical version with Ford's voice-overs best. Deckard is not my favorite Ford character, but the look, mood and feel of the film combine to make it very interesting. Firewall's not sci-fi, but I liked it just because it's pretty high-energy.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Sidney and I agree on many things, including our love for Bradbury (you should visit his blog and read his interview with the great writer), but we must part ways on Firewall. This was a painful movie for me to watch.

Harrison Ford has reached an age where he should stop doing action films. Sean Connery was able to pull it off through his early seventies, but come on, that's Sean Connery.

In Firewall I found myself bending over and holding my stomach in pain. Sympathy pains. Ford should stop doing anything where he has to be thrown through a window or fall down a flight of stairs. Hell, or even get punched.

The time has come for him to take dramatic roles that focus on character and theme. Think "Regarding Henry" or "Sabrina",

Yes, they will make "Indiana Jones" #4. And do you know what the focus will be? Age. Column after column will chuckle about an aging Indiana. There will be jokes about the good doctor searching for relics and finding himself.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Ford has reached an age where he could do different films to the ones he's done before.

Lee said...

Yeah, I just recently heard the Indiana Jones/Ford rumor. I think if it's as action packed as the others, it's going to be difficult to really beleive in him. He's great but he's gettin a bit old for flingin a whip about.

DesLily said...

i'd go see anything Harrison is in and enjoy it .. He's not too old for another Indy movie if they start sooner then several years from now! argh~! For years the hangup was the script but from what i've read/heard, the script is finally what they all want..

some of the gossip is they are still trying to get connery again for his dad.. who knows, maybe there will also be a "grandson" to pass the torch to??? one never knows ! I just want to read that its in production!!!

SQT said...

It makes me think of the Star Trek movies with the original cast. They started making jokes about their age in number IV I think. That always made me chuckle. At least they didn't take themselves too seriously.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Sorry ain't going to happen...the Indy movie.

So you see..the same reason that the last 3 star wars movies were crap is what is stopping the Indy movies....

Lucas won't make a collaborative film again. He will only make things that he completely and totally owns/writes/directs because then he pockets the most money.

Why else is he not in the Directors Guild....he won't pay the dues.

There is a huge difference between the first Indy movie and the second two....because Lucans and Spielberg were not working anymore with Frank Marshall who was ONE of the reasons the first one was such a good movie.

Lucas is a cold and greedy little bastard with no respect for craft, talent unless he can market and exploit it to his fullest abilities.

And I used to LOVE Ford...worshipped him..but he is sadlly past his sell by date.

Stewart Sternberg said...

When I read of love for an actor, I wonder how many people have seen everything that person did? Sometimes it's a matter of rediscovering your person. Me? I did this with Vincent Price and Marlon Brando. I went back and sought available films of the actors through netflix. I've watched some great films in the process, stuff I had not seen in years and years, and stuff I had never seen.

For instance, in my Vincent festival, I watched "Last Man On Earth","Theater of Blood", and "House on Haunted Hill". There are still Vincent Price films open to me for festival part two.

You can do the same with Harrison Ford. For instance, take a look at his small role in "American Graffitti". Fun. At same time enjoy the same film that gave birth to the tv show "Happy Days", along with co stars Cindy Williams, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ron Howard.

Or check out "Dead Heat on A Merry Go Round", a smooth film with Charles Coburn as a con man and Ford in an uncredited role as a bell hop.

If you don't want to do the obtuse thing, then go for the more mainstream roles of Ford; some of which aren't as well known.

"Force Ten From Navarone", "Frisco Kid" (a great comedy with Ford at his most charming),"Witness","Mosquito Coast", "Working Girl" "Sabrina", "Regarding Henry".

I know these aren't science fiction or fantasy, but I think watching such a sampling of less successful or less critically acclaimed films helps an audience rediscover an actor.

SQT said...

There are so many good Harrison Ford films it's hard to pick one. I like all the Tom Clancy one's in which he plays Jack Ryan. (the role originated by Alec Baldwin in "The Hunt for Red October")

"Air Force One" is great and I liked the "The Fugitive." I also thought he was really funny in "Six Days Seven Nights" as kind of an over-the-hill Lothario.

DesLily said...

I hate to disappoint anyone but on IMDb I did find this tidbit:

Indiana Jones 4 (2008) (pre-production) .... Indiana Jones
Harrison Ford .... Indiana Jones
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Karen Allen .... Marion Ravenwood (rumored)

Sean Connery .... Dr. Henry Jones (rumored)

Natalie Portman .... (rumored)

John Rhys-Davies .... Sallah (rumored)
(I am doing the happy dance!!)

3 happy dances! Harrison/ Connery AND John Rhys Davies! This information just made my day lol.

I guess you'd call me a fan.. I do own 24 of his movies on vhs.. I haven't been able to afford to buy movies the past number of years so my collection came to a hault.. Mosquito Coast is a great movie, that most hate.. i liked it and it's one of Harrison's favorites (according to him on Actors Studio) But Hans Solo and Indy will always be his most famous characters.

SQT said...

I wouldn't be disappointed at all if they ended up making the 4th Indy film. I may be in the minority here, but I love the character and I don't care how old Harrison gets. I thought he looked darned good in "Six Days Seven Nights" and he was well into his 50's. He might be a bit older now, but who cares. It's still a great character.

crunchy carpets said...

Sorry...the imdb thing is just rumour .....the darabont stuff is the truth.....he has been given great scripts for the fourth movie. All the actors DO want to make it...Lucas is wasting everyone's time.

Oooooh the stories I hear!!!!

Winged Acrophobic said...

If I had to choose only one, Blade Runner would be my favorite Harrison Ford flick. Apart from it being sci-fi (and a great one, too), Ford nailed the character that Deckard is: Jaded, efficient and almost aimless save for an underlying pining for innocence, traces of which were nuanced fleetingly at most. Can't believe I typed that. I stand by it, still.

Crunchy Carpets said... too. I loved Bladerunner...I think it is an amazing film...for Ford movies that and Witness are my top faves after Raiders.

SQT said...

Bladerunner really is fantastic IMHO. I went to school in Japan about 10 years ago and I was actualy able to rent the movie while I was there, Japanese subtitles and all. It seemed so appropriate since the movie's neon infused atmosphere was so similar to the Japanese cities I traveled through every day. I love the feel of the movie.