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Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory (2008)

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The definitive look at the legacy left behind by everyone's favorite Archaeologist, Indiana Jones.



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Credited cast:
Jeff Anderson ...
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The definitive look at the legacy left behind by everyone's favorite Archaeologist, Indiana Jones.

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If Fandom Has A Name... It Must Be Indyfans!





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Dull and disappointing
16 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Some fan documentaries are really special, like "Trekkies" was. That film managed to show a little bit of everything about the STAR TREK phenomenon, from a sincere reverence to the fans in general, to an exploration of the passions of their fandom, but also a look into the stranger, more disturbing glimpses of fans who take their love of the sci-fi show just a little too far. A lot of it was funny, but some of it was quite powerful, too.

Unfortunately, like CRYSTAL SKULL was nowhere near the quality of RAIDERS, INDYFANS AND THE QUEST FOR FORTUNE AND GLORY is nowhere near the quality of TREKKIES. It hurts me to say that, as it seems to be a little labour of love on part of the filmmakers who made it, and especially because I've been a lifelong Indiana Jones fan myself. I've been to conventions, movie openings, collected the action figures, games, books … and as a kid, I always felt like the outsider (even among all my dorky friends!) because I always preferred Indy to Star Wars.

So when I got the INDYFANS DVD I was really, really excited: I could finally hear stories about others who shared my passion for the character, whose hearts would soar to the sounds of John Williams' bombastic Raiders March, who would anxiously await for the next high-spirited Indiana Jones adventure.

It's to bad, because the only real surprise of Indyfans was how a documentary about some of the most exciting movies ever made could prove to be so oddly dull and boring. INDYFANS AND THE QUEST FOR FORTUNE AND GLORY is a long-winded title, and it's probably appropriate because the film itself is also excessively wordy.

The writer-producer-director-star-Indyfan-and-host is a guy named Brandon Kleyla, whose was first introduced to the character not by the films but by the Indiana Jones stunt show in Florida back when he was a little kid. This fact skews the entire documentary in the wrong direction, because Kleyla spends waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time talking about it and the Forbidden Eye ride in Disneyland. Not that I'm against them, they're really cool, but this takes up a significant chunk of the movie, and through it all there isn't a single cutaway image to the ride itself. It literally is just a bunch of talking heads.

What's also surprising is that, for a film that purports itself to be about the fans, there are very few die-hard Indyfans actually featured. Most of what's shown are "on the street" interviews with everyday people, and while many of them like the character and the movies, it's plainly obvious that they just have a casual interest. Such clips feel too much like "filler", and do nothing to explain the appeal and the phenomenon.

There are "true" Indyfans in the film, but there are barely a handful and have very little screen time. The best of these is a guy who brought his two young kids to crash the set of INDY IV's shooting in New Haven, and how he explains what the films meant to him when he was a kid, and how it played into his relationship with his own late father. There's also an interview with an artist of whom Indiana Jones is his favorite subject ("Can't you paint landscapes for once?" his mom asks), and an elderly woman who claims to have ridden the Forbidden Eye ride thousands of times. (Ten thousand? Are you serious?) We also see a lot of Indyfans at Comic-Con, dressed in the hats, jackets, etc… A bullwhip lesson taught by the guy who trained Harrison Ford on CRYSTAL SKULL… An interview with RAIDERS' costume designer who talks about Indy's trademark look (though, for whatever misguided reason, her explanation of Indy's hat is tossed into a short bonus feature)… A look into some Indiana Jones action figures by Sideshow Collectibles, and Dark Horse comics stories… And interviews with stunt legends Vic Armstrong and Wendy Leech, who worked on the original three films… These segments aren't uninteresting, but they're handled in a really uninteresting way, with literally one talking head after another. And for a film about THE FANS, it's amazing how few are actually featured. Nor does the film address the reasons behind the fandom, in the same illuminating way "Trekkies" did. What makes Indy Indy? What's so magical about the films? How have they changed or influenced lives? None of these are explored.

The film's biggest problem is how it completely ignores the fans' reactions to INDY IV, instead ending the film just as the movie is about to premiere. Even if CRYSTAL SKULL may have left a bad taste in a lot of fans' mouths, to completely ignore it was a big mistake, and seems like a lazy move on the part of the filmmakers…who were probably too nervous or too depressed to deal with any "Indy" controversy.

INDYFANS has cute moments, but like INDY IV it never possess much substance, or feels anything more than merely workmanlike. If INDY V ever comes around, maybe an updated, reedited version of the documentary might be viable…

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