Welcome to Defending the Indefensible Week, where we attempt to vindicate some of pop culture’s crappiest moments through the magic of harebrained internet theories. Such as …
The Indiana Jones franchise has its share of terrible moments, from the time Indy passed up the opportunity to kill Hitler to Temple Of Doom‘s suggestion that Indian food is mostly insects and severed heads. But most fans would agree that the dumbest moment in the history of Indy’s adventures was the infamous “nuke the fridge” scene in Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, in which Dr. Jones stumbles into a nuclear test site …
… hops inside a refrigerator …
… and gets blown across the desert sky like he’s starring in a particularly artsy Maytag ad …
… only to roll out and walk it off like it was all just a shoddy carnival ride.
There are so many problems here. Sure, the fridge is lead-lined or whatever, but even if you accept that (you shouldn’t), it doesn’t account for the senior citizen bouncing around like a rag doll inside a metal coffin. Wouldn’t he break his neck, at the very least? Fans of the series accepted face-melting Old Testament lasers, but they couldn’t swallow Indy surviving this scene.
But what if this scene does make sense, but only because it’s Indiana Jones? One redditor has a theory asserting just that. Indy is no average guy, after all. He’s battled the Nazis, freed a city of enslaved children, and, uh, battled the Nazis again (it’s hard to think of a third thing). But most importantly, Indiana Jones keeps having brushes with God, who in this universe is a verifiably real guy. Indy survives the Ark of the Covenant’s actual magic attack. He discovers the literal Holy Grail, and then drinks from it.
In The Last Crusade, we learn that drinking from the cup grants immortality, but only if you decide to spend the rest of your life in a dank cave full of fake grails. Apparently, JC was all about the irksome loopholes. Indy bails on relocating to the world’s filthiest Crate and Barrel, so he isn’t immortal. But isn’t it possible that there was at least some effect on his physiology? Like, maybe downing an entire cup of holy water imbued Indiana Jones with some degree of healing ability …
That would mean the fridge scene wasn’t just terrible; it was a clue that Indiana Jones has become something more than human as a result of his constant encounters with the supernatural. After all, it was George Lucas who originally proposed that Last Crusade focus on the search for the Holy Grail, even when Steven Spielberg didn’t like the idea because it had been “defined by” Monty Python. And as we’ve mentioned before, Spielberg also resisted the fridge-nuking scene. They only wound up including it because Lucas absolutely insisted on it. If it wasn’t telling us that Indy was a little magical himself, then why make such a big deal over a scene that doesn’t actually add anything to the film?
Aside from being bad at making movies, of course.
This could also explain something in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which originally had bookend scenes featuring an elderly Indiana Jones mainly yelling at teenagers.
The show revealed that Indy was born in 1899, but the present-day scenes were shot and apparently took place in 1992. But apart from the eye patch and an unbridled hatred of anyone under 30, Old Indy sure didn’t seem 93. In fact, the actor who played him, George Hall, would was only 76 at the time … almost the same age Harrison Ford is now. So why does Indiana Jones look almost 20 years younger than he should? It could be that his youthful sheen is all the result of his actions in The Last Crusade. Expect to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Grail-Water Enema” on shelves this fall.
Sorta makes you wonder if Terry Gilliam might be immortal too.
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