Saturday, March 16, 2019

Young Indiana Jones -- Episode 10: Phantom Train of Doom

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Indiana Jones and Remy are reporting for Belgian Army duty in East Africa, but they get lost after taking the wrong train. They find a British squad comprised of middle-aged soldiers and join their mission to destroy a German train and capture an elusive German officer. 

Memorable Quote:
Well, we should be safe enough down here, I reckon.  ~Birdy
What are you talking about? The whole mountain's about to blow up!  ~Indy

The entire train sequence, while preposterous, is clever, entertaining, and well filmed.

I thought the Germans were overly incompetent in the train sequence (e.g. terrible shots, failure to jump on the train), but that was nothing compared to the hot-air balloon scene when they surrounded Indy's balloon with 200 guys but still couldn't bring it down. We haven't seen this big a failure to bring down a hot air balloon since you know what.

Brushes with historical figures:
Colonel Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck: a German commander in East Africa 
Margaret Trappe: a pilot who helped the German army
Frederick Selous: a British big-game hunter 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I noticed in the opening credits that Paul Freeman, who plays Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, was in this episode. I hadn't remembered that he was in an earlier episode as the same character until Indy brings it up. 
  • Everyone seems pretty calm in the trench by the sea even though things are exploding all around. 
  • Not sure if this is intentional on the part of the writers, but Indy extolling the virtues of having a plan is a nice contrast to Raiders where he talks about making things up as he goes along.
  • Mr. Golo's only speaking line is "Hakuna Matata," one year before The Lion King.
  • For being such a legendary military commander, Col. Von Lettow doesn't seem all that bright, and he doesn't try that hard to escape even with ample opportunities. He also sounds British, not German. 

Final Analysis:
Cool idea to have an old guy unit and an enemy train that hides in the mountain, and as always, the location work was great and really felt like Africa. The train action sequence was outstanding, and at that point I was thinking this might be my number one episode, but the last third with Col. Von Lettow fell flat. Ranking this one 3rd out of 10.

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