Sunday, June 2, 2019

Young Indiana Jones -- Episode 12: Attack of the Hawkmen

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Indiana Jones receives spy training and goes to work for an American unit in the French Army as a photographer based in airplanes, and he crosses paths with the German fighter ace known as the Red Baron. Later, Indy goes into Germany on a mission to convince a young scientist to switch sides from the Central Powers to the Allies. 

Memorable Quote:
It's great to see you!  ~Indy
I think I'm gonna cry.  ~American pilot

All of the air battles are amazingly filmed, even if it's hard to imagine someone (i.e. Indy) capable of hanging on to the bottom of the plane after rolling off the wing, all while the plane is under siege and moving every which way.

I had several issues with the last thirty minutes:
  • Indy parachutes in the heart of a German city during the day, and no one sees him?
  • After the warehouse explodes, he slips away from the entire German division with no one on his tail?
  • And the biggest issue: he speaks to numerous people in the research facility with an American accent and no one questions what he's doing there.  Imagine if a guy was walking around Los Alamos during WWII speaking German to everyone -- they'd just say, come on in and look at our atom bomb! 

Brushes with historical figures:
  • Manfred von Richthofen, aka the Red Baron. The actor who plays him does a great job of giving the character some arrogance. Surely the Baron would be humbled to know that he's probably more well known to today's generation for his frozen pizza and his Christmas song with Snoopy. 
  • Charles Nungesser, a French flying ace. I hadn't heard of Nungesser before, 
  • Anthony Fokker, a Dutch engineer. This episode could have been the forerunner of Meet the Parents, like if the French told Indy, "Go bring back that little Fokker over to our side."

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Indy's always writing letters to Lawrence of Arabia, but he seems like a guy on the move whose address wouldn't be constant. 
  • The process of becoming a spy for the French seems pretty easy: "You forged a signature? Great, you're hired and entrusted with all our top secrets, no reference checks necessary!
  • I would not at all enjoy flying in a plane that was doing barrel rolls or going at mach 2 like Top Gun -- I don't even feel all that great when swinging at a playground (although apparently I'm not alone).  
  • 16:14 mark - random shot of a small lion on a chain next to the plane. We see the lion again later and it's never explained -- is he's the captain's pet?
  • Does Indy really have to go crawl on the wing to check if the wheels were ok? What's the alternative if they're not ok?
  • I know it's mid-90s tv and so I shouldn't expect too much, but it's hard to watch all these "Germans" speak English. Always works better to have characters speak in their native language and use subtitles. 
  • If the Germans know where the American base is, why not just drop a bomb on the base instead of just dropping a message challenging Nungesser to a duel?
  • 38:30 mark - a small goof as one of the Americans looking at Indy's photo celebrates "the Red Baron going down" even though he had just painted his plane red for the first time and so wouldn't have been known as the Red Baron. 
  • Indy has no formal spy experience other than taking the photographs from the plane, and the French leadership barely knows him, so why not send him on a dangerous and critical mission?
  • 52:34 - a hat tip to James Bond and Q Branch as Indy gets outfitted with some random gadgets by some mad scientist-types. 
  • I had a quick stop in Hannover about 15 years ago -- I remember the train station and how clean and well-kept the city seemed (not unusual for a German city).  
  • The explosions and pyrotechnics at the end are quite impressive. 
  • Perhaps I missed something, but I have no idea what "Hawkmen" refers to.  

Final Analysis:
I wasn't wild about this one -- the storyline of Indy going on a spy mission into Germany had a lot of potential, but it came off as somewhat farcical. The first half was better, and the Red Baron was an interesting character. Ranking this 6 out of 12 and only ahead of Demons of Deception for older Indy episodes. 

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