Last week, news broke that Lucasfilm, Disney, director Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford would be reviving the Indiana Jones franchise yet again, and the nostalgia bomb was met with both fan cheers and more than a bit of skepticism. Fans who grew up loving Indy’s archaeological exploits rejoiced at the prospect of seeing yet another adventure featuring the iconic character, but there’s the undeniably pesky matter of the less-than-stellar reception given to the series’ last installment, 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Released nearly two decades after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — which seemed to be the last film in the franchise — the belated sequel was criticized by many people for its inability to recapture the action and excitement of the original trilogy. The film’s tedious nostalgia was so egregious to some it even spawned a derisive meme catchphrase: “Nuking the fridge.”
Referring to the scene in Crystal Skull where Indy survives a nuclear blast by climbing into a lead-lined refrigerator, the idiom came to denote any declining point of a once popular film franchise. In a movie chock full of ridiculous scenes (Shia LeBoeuf’s Tarzan-esque scene swinging from jungle vines is but one other example), it’s surprising that the fridge scene stuck out. As any Indiana Jones fan knows, there were been plenty of insane moments in the franchise long before the fridge scee.
Here are a few other times the other movies in the Indiana Jones series were more ridiculous than “Nuking the fridge.”
Raiders of the Lost Ark
1. Indy survives hundreds of miles underwater clinging to a Nazi submarine.
- After Belloq (Paul Freeman) and the Nazis steal the Ark of the Covenant from the steamship that Indy and Marion (Karen Allen) were using as a ride back to safety, the bad guys load up everything on a U-boat and head off to their secret Nazi island hundreds of miles away. Little do they know Indy swam from the ship to the sub to hitch a ride. Later, after supposedly clinging to the outside of the sub to evade capture, Indy continues on as if nothing’s the matter when the U-boat docks. It keeps the pace of the movie flowing, but how did he not drown?
2. Thousands of snakes are alive and well in an ancient Egyptian tomb.
- It’s one of the most iconic scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark: Indy plummets into the Well of the Souls in front of a deadly cobra while scattered around him are thousands of snakes. Aesthetically it harkens back to the 1930s adventure serials Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas were trying to emulate, but logistically it makes zero sense. Are we to believe these snakes have just been living in this underground chamber since the time of the pharaohs?
Temple of Doom
3. Indy, Short Round, and Willie survive after using a raft as a parachute.
- After two devious pilots ditch their plane and leave the intrepid trio (including Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round and Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott) to die without parachutes in Temple of Doom, Indy has the bright idea of using an inflatable raft to get them out of the jam. Would you try leaping from a plane thousands of feet in the air and rely on something you should be using to go white water rafting to save you? Probably not. The Mythbusters even busted this one in a 2005 episode, so it’s definitely scientifically implausible.
4. A guy survives getting his heart ripped out of his chest before being lowered into molten lava.
- Mola Ram, the main villain in Temple of Doom is, shall we say, heartless. But not as literally heartless as the poor sacrificial bastard who somehow stays alive long enough to survive having Mola Ram rip his heart out with his bare hands. Is this more plausible than surviving a nuclear blast?
The Last Crusade
5. A 700-year-old knight guards the Holy Grail.
- After being sent through three tests to measure his faith, which are also increasingly ridiculous, Indy suddenly finds himself in a Turkish cave in front of a knight from the Crusades who’s been waiting there for nearly a thousand years for someone to choose the Holy Grail from a series of potential cups. Later, after a Nazi stooge picks the wrong one and dies, Indy chooses the correct one and brings it back to his dying father (played by Sean Connery) and miraculously cures his nearly fatal gunshot wound.
*6. Indy is somehow stuck to a German tank because of the leather strap to his bag.
- This is just Indy being dramatic for drama’s sake. All he had to do was let go of the bag, run to catch back up to the tank, and hop back on to defeat the Nazis and save the day, that way he wouldn’t have been potentially crushed against the side gun of the tank. It would have saved him a few bruised knuckles and a trip to the cleaners to wash his dirty clothes.