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Face-Off: Original Indiana Jones Trilogy vs. Original Star Wars Trilogy

Sep. 7, 2012by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face Off, two of the best films of the gangster genre went head to head in the form of Godfather vs. Goodfellas. It was a hell of a battle with The Godfather pulling out the victory by a couple points.

This week, in celebration of Raiders of the Lost Ark being re-released in IMAX, we have decided to throw two of the best trilogies against each other and let the chips fall where they may. Both trilogies have had films follow the beloved original films, both of which some die hard fans have chosen to ignore. So let's focus on the films that originally captured our hearts shall we? I'll be mixing and matching the films according to their quality in my eyes. You ready for this?
Temple of Doom/A New Hope
I recently watched the Nostalgia Critic episode focusing on this addition to the trilogy, and just shook my head at all the mans points. First of all back up off Short Round the little shit was awesome, second of all those opening minutes were awesome, especially the life raft plummeting unbelievably down a mountain. Plenty moments of memorable situations Indy had to pull himself out of, a plethora of comedic moments, and when I was younger the proceedings actually freaked the piss out of me. What scares me most these days is that little kid. Yeesh. All in all, Temple of Doom is actually my second favorite in the series. Take that Nostalgia Critic.
What can you say about A New Hope? The original New Hope that set the story that would become Star Wars so beautifully, the New Hope that only alluded to how bad ass Jaba the Hutt was, The New Hope where Han shot first. From the first appearance of Vader you knew you were getting something that wasn't soon going to fade out of the public heart. So much mythology, packed in with so much adventure. The chemistry between all the actors was pitch perfect, and the revolutionary effects...well those just speak for themselves. Temple of Doom kept Indiana Jones going strong, A New Hope changed cinema forever.
Raiders/ESB
Raiders embodied everything an action adventure film should be. The film started off with a bang in booby trap heaven, while throwing in some character development in the form of a little twinge of fear around snakes. They didn't mess around when it came to the heroes opposition either, I mean you know shit is going to go down when you're going up against a gang of Nazi's. The cast was great, John Williams showed up and supplied Spielberg with another iconic score, the set pieces were great to look at...bottom line all the elements were there to make this the film that set the bar for the adventure films that came after it.
Empire Strikes Back, now and forever known as the Godfather II of sci-fi films. This entire film was filled with a mixture of hope and dread right from the opening scroll. The mythology evolved, the stakes were raised, Vader was at the peak of his ruthlessness, and its best quality being that everything wasn't wrapped up in a pretty little bow by the time the end credits rolled. Understatement of the century, no? Something has to be said for the wonderful chemistry between Ford and Fisher that made for a convincing love story, it took up so much of the film and it would have suffered had it not been so easy to invest in those two. Props to them both. Don't even get me started on the inclusion of Yoda.
Last Crusade/ROTJ
My favorite Indy film from the original trilogy. A glimpse into the adventures of young Indy (which explained a few things), probably the most enthralling story of the all of the films, and the dynamic between Junior and good ol pops. Character interaction like this is exactly what Indy needed, and the comedic moments that resulted were much appreciated. I really got into the action bits in this installment as well, so much wonderful use of vehicles. I could go on and on about Last Crusade, but I think the moment that perfectly captures the magic of this bad boy is its last shot, literally riding off into the sunset. Would have been a perfect ending. Extra points for the chilling Hitler confrontation.
Return of the Jedi could have been worse than it was, with the potential there for a better film. Everything was wrapped up pretty perfectly, but there are elements I could have done without...I think we all know to what I am referring. Han's attitude being mostly gone was a bit of a negative, that sequence with Leia's clothes being mostly gone was a huge positive, while villainous Vader was missed, his redemption was satisfying. If ESB is the Godfather II of Star Wars, then ROTJ is definitely the Godfather III. Didn't quite reach the level of the two that came before it, but definitely held its own. That is all we could really ask.
Overall
Every film of Indy's original adventures was a hit. Pure fun, and unrelated to this particular discussion I found myself enjoying even Crystal Skull more on a second viewing. A wonderful hero, memorable supporting characters throughout, thank god they snagged Sean Connery for a film, a perfect ending of Toy Story 3 proportions if they had decided to end it at Last Crusade. I will welcome several more adventures from Indy is they manage to capture some of the magic that this trilogy put forth. I just want one more glimpse of that warehouse full of crates. God bless the entire team of minds that brought this character to life, you contributed to my love of cinema, and many others.
I love a story of redemption, so when I was able to see this trilogy as a whole and was old enough to appreciate it for all that it was, it rocked my soul. I went through two stages with these films, as a youngster when the films were passed on and being swept away by the visuals and the imagination behind it. Then again, as the man I am today being able to appreciate the story Lucas envisioned for it all. It takes more than revolutionizing the industry from a technical standpoint to create something as long lasting as this franchise has been, and Lucas and team captured it. Say what you will about some of the material that has come after this, but these movies are the reason all of that has been allowed. That's powerful.
Star Wars Trilogy
So there is my two cents. Some of you may see this as the obvious verdict, but the tie breaker turned out to be more difficult to determine for me than I initially gave it credit for. Both these franchises are packed with greatness. The majority of you I know dearly love both, but which do you love more? Let us know!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which trilogy is your favourite?
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1:21PM on 09/09/2012

For Multiple reasons.....

I Have to go with Star Wars. Only because that trilogy had such a profound effect on not only my life as a child, but millions of other people's as well (Although, if your'e still walking around dressed as a Jedi and your 40 you probably need to get out a little more...)Star Wars, in many ways shaped who I who I've become as a person (i.e my love for films, sci-fi especially, my going to college for film, my total closet geekdom, so on and so forth...) It's also just a very fun story to tell
I Have to go with Star Wars. Only because that trilogy had such a profound effect on not only my life as a child, but millions of other people's as well (Although, if your'e still walking around dressed as a Jedi and your 40 you probably need to get out a little more...)Star Wars, in many ways shaped who I who I've become as a person (i.e my love for films, sci-fi especially, my going to college for film, my total closet geekdom, so on and so forth...) It's also just a very fun story to tell and watch unfold. A tale I can sit and watch with my son and he can with his. So it's Star Wars for me on many levels, not just as a film. I do credit Raiders for easily being the greatest (And my easy favorite) adventure film of all time though. And in 30 years, nothing else has even come close to topping it.
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12:53PM on 09/09/2012

Go Indy!

I love Star Wars, but Raiders Of The Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, hell, when I first saw it as a kid, it actually made me want to become an archeologist when I grew up! Garnted, I didn't become one, due to a combination of not so good grades and finding out that archeology is all about digging for days on end under the blistering sun and heat, instead of punching Nazis in the face and making out with hot girls (hey, I was like seven years old when I saw the Indy movies!), but it
I love Star Wars, but Raiders Of The Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, hell, when I first saw it as a kid, it actually made me want to become an archeologist when I grew up! Garnted, I didn't become one, due to a combination of not so good grades and finding out that archeology is all about digging for days on end under the blistering sun and heat, instead of punching Nazis in the face and making out with hot girls (hey, I was like seven years old when I saw the Indy movies!), but it planted the seed and that has to count for something. Tha being said, I still love Star Wars, but I find Indy's movies to be more fun and INFINITELY more re-watchable, so I'm siding with him on this one. It was close though...
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9:35PM on 09/08/2012

Ummmm....

This is one of the weakest face-offs ever. You basically picked the obvious selections of better movies. Also, you absolutely FAILED on the release dates, since Raiders came out before Temple (although I am aware of the timeline issue), which would have placed Empire above Temple. Raiders is still superior to New Hope, and Crusade is of course better than Jedi. What about main villains, supporting characters, etc.? Star Wars owns on the villain frontier and the supporting characters. This does
This is one of the weakest face-offs ever. You basically picked the obvious selections of better movies. Also, you absolutely FAILED on the release dates, since Raiders came out before Temple (although I am aware of the timeline issue), which would have placed Empire above Temple. Raiders is still superior to New Hope, and Crusade is of course better than Jedi. What about main villains, supporting characters, etc.? Star Wars owns on the villain frontier and the supporting characters. This does not, however, make them better movies. Sorry, but The Jones family owns the Skywalker family.

Also, one thing that should have been mentioned (although I don't think it would affect the faceoff): Jones is Spaghetti Western flics, while Star Wars are Samurai flics.

On a final note, you also failed to mention the music. While Indy's theme is always wonderful and exciting, nothing tops The Imperial March.

My final verdict is the Jones' over the Skywalkers'.

Also, why not compare these trilogies with a truly quality trilogy; The Man With No Name!
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8:37PM on 09/08/2012

Cool

Props on saying Last Crusade is the best Indy film, though I actually agree with Nostalgia Critic on Temple of Doom, mostly. I don't hear anybody here defending Kate Capshaw, the Jar Jar of the Indy saga.
Props on saying Last Crusade is the best Indy film, though I actually agree with Nostalgia Critic on Temple of Doom, mostly. I don't hear anybody here defending Kate Capshaw, the Jar Jar of the Indy saga.
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3:42PM on 09/08/2012
Indiana Jones for me. I love Star Wars, don't get me wrong. However, every time I watch Indiana Jones (any of the four movies), it just has that sense of nostalgic adventure everybody could ever dream of.
Indiana Jones for me. I love Star Wars, don't get me wrong. However, every time I watch Indiana Jones (any of the four movies), it just has that sense of nostalgic adventure everybody could ever dream of.
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2:32PM on 09/08/2012

Indy all the Way!

Don't get me wrong, I still like Star Wars but Indy is just over all better. I would go as far as saying that Raiders of The Lost Ark is the greatest movie ever made but that is just my opinion.
Don't get me wrong, I still like Star Wars but Indy is just over all better. I would go as far as saying that Raiders of The Lost Ark is the greatest movie ever made but that is just my opinion.
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+7
1:36PM on 09/08/2012

Definitely Indy.

Indiana Jones trilogy all the way. They hold up better than the Star Wars movies on the whole. The Last Crusade is all-time favorite movie. The Indy trilogy is chock full of exhilarating action, thrilling adventure, great humor, and even moving drama (the Harrison Ford/Sean Connery father and son pairing is about as wonderful as acting chemistry gets).
Indiana Jones trilogy all the way. They hold up better than the Star Wars movies on the whole. The Last Crusade is all-time favorite movie. The Indy trilogy is chock full of exhilarating action, thrilling adventure, great humor, and even moving drama (the Harrison Ford/Sean Connery father and son pairing is about as wonderful as acting chemistry gets).
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1:20PM on 09/08/2012
OK, so here's the thing. If I had to pick a favorite franchise, Indy would be it.
BUT
rating it as a "trilogy," IV, V, and VI takes the cake.
There's just not very much continuity involved with Indiana Jones. He's my favorite movie character, the most human of action heroes. But Star Wars also did something I hadn't seen attempted again until, say, Spider-Man 2, which was carry a story through multiple films. Ultimately what failed with the prequels was, they were designed to justify
OK, so here's the thing. If I had to pick a favorite franchise, Indy would be it.
BUT
rating it as a "trilogy," IV, V, and VI takes the cake.
There's just not very much continuity involved with Indiana Jones. He's my favorite movie character, the most human of action heroes. But Star Wars also did something I hadn't seen attempted again until, say, Spider-Man 2, which was carry a story through multiple films. Ultimately what failed with the prequels was, they were designed to justify everything that had occurred in the original trilogy, often getting lost along the way.
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10:40AM on 09/08/2012

A tough one...

I feel like my entire childhood is being rocked here. Can't argue with the logic of these comparisons or even the outcomes, but it's tough not seeing Indy take the final overall verdict given the fact that he IS unquestionably the greatest film character ever (sorry, but that one's not open to debate in my mind). Both have been an epic part of my upbringing and milestones in cinema history... I think if there ever a case for a tie in this feature, it would be this week's face off!
I feel like my entire childhood is being rocked here. Can't argue with the logic of these comparisons or even the outcomes, but it's tough not seeing Indy take the final overall verdict given the fact that he IS unquestionably the greatest film character ever (sorry, but that one's not open to debate in my mind). Both have been an epic part of my upbringing and milestones in cinema history... I think if there ever a case for a tie in this feature, it would be this week's face off!
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3:53AM on 09/08/2012
Not sure I could call this one. Two film series that defined an era of cinema entertainment. Let's face it, Lucasfilm personified epic adventure movies for a significant period. I'd suggest Star Wars had the greater cultural impact, but I couldn't say which was the better trilogy.
Not sure I could call this one. Two film series that defined an era of cinema entertainment. Let's face it, Lucasfilm personified epic adventure movies for a significant period. I'd suggest Star Wars had the greater cultural impact, but I couldn't say which was the better trilogy.
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1:23AM on 09/08/2012
Indiana Jones trilogy all the way, never been into Star Wars myself. Just wish they both would have stayed as true trilogies.
Indiana Jones trilogy all the way, never been into Star Wars myself. Just wish they both would have stayed as true trilogies.
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7:22PM on 09/07/2012
I love the Nostalgia Critic, but he was way off about Temple of Doom. As great as I believe all three Indy films to be, though, they don't quite top Star Wars. The one-two punch of A New Hope and Empire are just unbeatable.
I love the Nostalgia Critic, but he was way off about Temple of Doom. As great as I believe all three Indy films to be, though, they don't quite top Star Wars. The one-two punch of A New Hope and Empire are just unbeatable.
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7:54PM on 09/07/2012
Agreed. Even though Temple of Doom is my least favourite (yes, even less than KOTCS, so punch me), it has its charms. It caused me many a nightmare as a 9 year old, but it is a thrilling, intense adventure and Short Round is an awesome kid sidekick.
Agreed. Even though Temple of Doom is my least favourite (yes, even less than KOTCS, so punch me), it has its charms. It caused me many a nightmare as a 9 year old, but it is a thrilling, intense adventure and Short Round is an awesome kid sidekick.
5:26PM on 09/07/2012
I love both, but Star Wars edges out Indy.
I love both, but Star Wars edges out Indy.
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4:52PM on 09/07/2012
Star Wars gets my vote. But you're comparing 2 different types of trilogy. One is a large saga told over 3 films, another is a set of 3 films that for the most part stand on their own. I love the Indy trilogy, but Star Wars will always be THE trilogy to me. Heck, I learned what the word "trilogy" meant as a kid by seeing it on a Star Wars box.
Star Wars gets my vote. But you're comparing 2 different types of trilogy. One is a large saga told over 3 films, another is a set of 3 films that for the most part stand on their own. I love the Indy trilogy, but Star Wars will always be THE trilogy to me. Heck, I learned what the word "trilogy" meant as a kid by seeing it on a Star Wars box.
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4:37PM on 09/07/2012
Excellent face off but I'll go with Indy as Raiders/Doom./Crusade are always watchable whereas Jedi pisses me off. Even as a 12 year old I couldn't handle teddy bears beating Stormtroopers.
Excellent face off but I'll go with Indy as Raiders/Doom./Crusade are always watchable whereas Jedi pisses me off. Even as a 12 year old I couldn't handle teddy bears beating Stormtroopers.
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4:27PM on 09/07/2012

Tough call but I'll go with Indy

Last Crusade has been my favorite film since I was a kid. You could even stretch this out in to a full franchise comparison and I think Indy should still win. Young Indiana Jones Chronicles trumps Clone Wars, and Crystal Skull is (marginally) better than the Prequels.
Last Crusade has been my favorite film since I was a kid. You could even stretch this out in to a full franchise comparison and I think Indy should still win. Young Indiana Jones Chronicles trumps Clone Wars, and Crystal Skull is (marginally) better than the Prequels.
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4:20PM on 09/07/2012

INDY

It's Indy all the way.
It's Indy all the way.
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3:55PM on 09/07/2012
Jones, All The Way!!!!!

It has a lot more re-watchability.
Jones, All The Way!!!!!

It has a lot more re-watchability.
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3:49PM on 09/07/2012

Whip VS Lightsaber

I love both trilogies with a passion...... but I have to go with Indy every time.
I love both trilogies with a passion...... but I have to go with Indy every time.
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+1
3:45PM on 09/07/2012
Turns out you'd get the same conclusion if you put them in the right order:

[x] Raiders / New Hope [x]
[ ] Temple / ESB [x]
[x] Last Crusade / RotJ [ ]
[ ] Overall [x]

Winner: Star Wars
Turns out you'd get the same conclusion if you put them in the right order:

[x] Raiders / New Hope [x]
[ ] Temple / ESB [x]
[x] Last Crusade / RotJ [ ]
[ ] Overall [x]

Winner: Star Wars
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1:23PM on 09/08/2012
Amen, Cochise!
Amen, Cochise!
8:53PM on 09/07/2012
Raiders ties with New Hope? Everyone's got their own opinion, but the majority would totally disagree with that, Raiders over A New Hope easy.
Raiders ties with New Hope? Everyone's got their own opinion, but the majority would totally disagree with that, Raiders over A New Hope easy.
3:24PM on 09/07/2012
Indy.
Indy.
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3:19PM on 09/07/2012

I may get reemed...

But as an adult, I now find Star Wars a little silly and childish, while Indy still holds up. Don't get me wrong, Star Wars is good and was a big part of my childhood, but I'm not a child anymore. I'll put it this way, Crystal Skull was like Indy meets Star Wars, and you see how bad Crystal Skull brings down the Indy Franchise. Now fire away, geeks.
But as an adult, I now find Star Wars a little silly and childish, while Indy still holds up. Don't get me wrong, Star Wars is good and was a big part of my childhood, but I'm not a child anymore. I'll put it this way, Crystal Skull was like Indy meets Star Wars, and you see how bad Crystal Skull brings down the Indy Franchise. Now fire away, geeks.
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+7
3:17PM on 09/07/2012

huh?

why did you compare Raiders to Empire? I know it's a prequel but come on, you should've just compared them in the order they were released... not like Indy is as much of a trilogy as Star Wars is in terms of being one three part story or whatever.

I'd like to see a deeper comparison though with categories for 'characters', 'scripts', 'action', 'music', 'direction', etc.
why did you compare Raiders to Empire? I know it's a prequel but come on, you should've just compared them in the order they were released... not like Indy is as much of a trilogy as Star Wars is in terms of being one three part story or whatever.

I'd like to see a deeper comparison though with categories for 'characters', 'scripts', 'action', 'music', 'direction', etc.
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3:16PM on 09/07/2012

You can't DO this!!!

It's like choosing between two children!!
But seriously, I'd have to agree, Star Wars is Star Wars, end of story. However, I would have to take issue with your timeline/release date switchup comparison. You gotta just compare the original introductions to these universes the way they were, who cares about continuity. Wouldn't alter the score, however, so I guess it doesn't matter. Good job otherwise.
It's like choosing between two children!!
But seriously, I'd have to agree, Star Wars is Star Wars, end of story. However, I would have to take issue with your timeline/release date switchup comparison. You gotta just compare the original introductions to these universes the way they were, who cares about continuity. Wouldn't alter the score, however, so I guess it doesn't matter. Good job otherwise.
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