Friday, December 15, 2006

Just Look At The Title

Everyone discusses how George Lucas' recently-completed Star Wars prequels are a commentary on George W. Bush's Presidency. (Well, for a given value of "everyone" and "recently-completed", that is. And "discusses", come to think of it.) Palpatine manufactures a war, then uses it as an excuse to claim dictatorial powers, et cetera, et cetera.

But recently, it struck me that 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' is a far more incisive, and indeed prescient commentary on Dubya's two terms. Jones, the protagonist who serves as an analogy to George W. Bush, is a man who has a somewhat shaky reputation in his chosen field, and who lives in the shadow of his famous, emotionally distant father (who named his son after himself.) Encouraged by a group of major figures in the field who are closer in age to his father (many characters in the film, including Brody and the Grail Knight at the end, serve as metaphors for Bush Senior's contemporaries in government), he embarks on a quest for the legendary Holy Grail that eluded his father his entire career (in this case, peace in the Middle East and a stable, democratic Iraq.)

Indy/Bush goes to Europe, and romances the same beautiful, bewitching, treacherous siren that seduced his father (presumably, this is a metaphor for the Presidency and the American people, unless we someday discover something about Barbara Bush that I, personally, never ever ever ever want to know.) He is both helped and hindered in his quest for the Grail by various Middle Eastern powers, and finally winds up leading his forces to the heart of the desert land himself. After a series of battles in which he vanquishes a military power, he finds himself involved in a series of more complex tests. Eventually, he finds the Grail, reconciles himself with his father, and seems poised for victory...

But he winds up screwing up, lets the beautiful woman and the Holy Grail plummet into a bottomless, murky pit for all eternity, needs to be rescued by his dad, and winds up devastating the entire region while an old guy glares at him disapprovingly. Then, seemingly oblivious to his total failure, he rides off into the sunset like he's accomplished the mission he set for himself.

It's downright eerie.

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