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Winds of change is a pretty hard sell to Indy fans. The first half,
Paris October 1919 is easily the most talkative and political episode
in the 'Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' entire run, but give it a
chance, it's actually very good. The second half takes the bookend
sequences from 1996's 'Travels with Father', in which Indy returns home
to his father in Princeton and expands them with footage that remained
unreleased until the third volume of the Adventures of young Indiana
Jones DVD boxed sets hit the stores April 29th 2008. Now we finally get
to see the arguments that drove Indy and his father apart until The
Last Crusade. But don't expect to see the kind comedic bickering they
did in that 1989 movie, this drama is not a pretty sight. Lloyd Owen's
Henry Sr. comes off much less sympathetic than the beloved Sean Connery
The Great War is over at last, we learn by way of a 'radio broadcast' narration delivered by a certain Percy McCallum (producer Rick getting his surname spoken aloud for the second and last time in the Chronicles, the first being in Benares, January 1910/'Journey of Radiance'). Although Indiana Jones (Sean Patrick Flanery) vowed to come home at the end of the last chapter, the rather uneven 'Treasure of the Peacock's Eye', we catch up with him working as a translator at the Paris peace conference and entertaining the notion of becoming a diplomat. He catches up with his old pen pal T.E. Lawrence for the third time in the series (once in each of the boxed sets). As Lawrence, Dougie Henshall looks better in uniform than in Arabian garb. Writer Jonathan Hales manages to cram an impressive amount of info and exposition in here. While George Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson are passing judgment on Germany and dividing up the spoils of war, Lawrence is fighting for one Arabia under Prince Feisal. Even a young Ho Chi Min manages to make an appearance. Only in Young Indy can one find all these names on the same credits.
The war has changed the world as well as everybody who lived through it. When he quotes T.E. from a letter he wrote to him at the start of the war (in the original pilot The Curse of the Jackall, now part of 'Spring break Adventure'), Lawrence fails to recognize his own words. Indy comes close to losing another friend in argument (having already drifted apart from Remy in the previous chapter). Holland's own Jeroen Krabbé gives a strong performance in a small but well written part. Kenneth Brannagh's pal Michael Maloney is also very good as Arnold Toynbee, though he is written as some sort of Nostradamus, foreseeing the future perhaps a bit too accurately. For once, our sympathy lies with the Germans, being forced to take the blame for the entire war and pay (up for) the consequences. It does tend to become a bit one sided when only Indy is willing to lend the Germans a hand not once but twice. And, with this being an American production, of the three world leaders, only President Wilson comes off sympathetic.
After 46 minutes, Indy finally heads home to the States after three years of fighting and espionage to face his most daunting challenge yet: his father. The opening and closing sequence from 'Travels with Father' are mostly intact, with only a few lines changed. But instead of visiting home for what seemed like just one night in that version, here Indy remains in Princeton for the entire summer, romancing yet another girl he met on the steamer trip across the Atlantic. Once again Hales manages to fill the script to the brim with historical facts and characters: Henry Sr. arranges a summer job for his son assisting Professor Robert Goddard, rocket scientist. Indy briefly catches up with old flame Nancy Strattemeyer, and spends significant time with old buddy Paul Robeson. The two of them mention having been friends since they were little. In fact, their first meeting would have been documented in the un-produced episode 'Princeton, May 1905' if the show had been picked up for a third series.
As this part of the movie was produced for the video release and never broadcast on television, production costs were obviously limited. This is especially noticeable with the use of colorized stock shots of ruined European landscapes and the port of New York. Also, a lot of the sets and background mattes seem to be reused from earlier installments. While the second half is perhaps a bit too crammed with unrelated story lines (rasism, rocket flight, Indy falling for a girl out of his league, the trouble between father and son) as a whole, Winds of Change is a worthy conclusion to Indiana Jones' adventures in the First World War. Unfortunately the scenes between Henry Sr. and Jr. are never as good as one would hope them to be. Instead of getting to see what drove these men apart, most of the damage had already been done in the years before, and so they seem only to be arguing about trivial things. I guess some stories work best when you keep the back story a bit more ambiguous. That being said, it would have been a good point to end Young Indy's run right here, as in my opinion the few stories set in the twenties that followed it never managed to catch the spirit of Indy again.
8 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's 1919 and the Great War is over. Indiana Jones (Sean Patrick
Flanery) has returned from his adventure in New Guinea, and is now
working in Paris as a translator at the palace of Versailles, where the
French, British and American leaders are working together to secure a
lasting world peace. Later, when he returns home, Indy assists a
brilliant rocket scientist while encountering racism and trying to
reconcile with his father (Lloyd Owen).
The Paris section is not typical Indiana Jones, but is nevertheless brilliant through it's depiction of the political intrigues and double-dealing at the heart of the so-called peace process. Douglas Henshall returns in his last appearance as T.E Lawrence, but there is also terrific work from Micheal Maloney as historian Arnold Toynbee, who utters his doom-laden lines with a gentle conviction, and Jeroen Krabbe as the tortured leader of the condemned Germans. Josef Summer is also good as the conflicted Woodrow Wilson, torn between his beliefs and the demands of his allies.
The Princeton segment is only slightly less successful. Flanery's Indy has yet another forgettable love affair, but has excellent scenes with Lloyd Owen as his cynical and emotionally impenetrable father. It sets the scene nicely for what happens in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". Stephen Micheal Ayers does well in his scenes as scientist Robert Goddard, and Kevin Jackson (as Indy's schoolfriend Paul Robeson) almost evokes Barack Obama - see the speech he makes at his graduation ceremony.
There is almost no adventure at all in this episode, but it's still a stimulating and thought-provoking watch.
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