27 Jan 2013

The best of Ford

Some guys at work asked me;  Han Solo or Indy?

This is a difficult choice as these characters are two of the most influential and coolest characters of my generation. Women want them and men want to be them. Hell women want to be them!

 Do I prefer Han the lovable rogue with a heart of gold over the maverick academic adventurer whose ethics outweigh scientific and financial gain?
I need to examine the characters more carefully.

Han Solo

Han is a swashbuckling smuggler, an unashamed  criminal who will kill to survive. Han shot first!
He flies a souped up space ship which can out fly and out shoot anything else in the galaxy.   His companion is a is a giant alien warrior who manages to sound threatening and whiny in the same conversation. 


Han, gives up his life on the edge and joins what seems to be a lost cause out of friendship. That choice of loyalty for his friend not only saves the day but changes the fate of the galaxy. He becomes a general without losing his independence or changing his nature.
He marries a Princess, and by joining the rebellion gives up a life of smuggling and shoots space Nazis.
Also on a mythological front like all the central characters in the star wars movies (episodes 4,5,6) he is a classic archetype of narrative. The trickster who transforms into a warrior.

Doctor Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is a highly intelligent academic, whose expeditions to recover lost treasure in the golden age of adventure take him around the globe. He battles evil villains, find lost tribes, gets beat up a lot, kisses beautiful girls, avoid death traps, punches Nazi’s and has Sean Connery as a father.
Unlike Solo, Dr Jones has always exhibited a high degree of ethics.  While he is no stranger to death, it is obviously not something that he is entirely comfortable with.  However when the stakes are high he will face that consequence straight on.  Also unlike Han,  Dr Jones is his own character. While born out of the dilettante gentlemen  adventurers of the late 19th century to the 30’s, his character is of a style than an archetype. After Raiders of the lost ark he inspired thousands of boys (and  girls) to become archaeologists and to injure themselves with bull whips.  He also blew up a tank using a horse.
Han Solo is a hero of high fantasy, Doctor Jones is an intelligent adventurer,  both characters are fun, funny, tough and cool.
I think I would have to choose……
Indiana Jones. 

Indy has more depth to his character, his relationship to his father, his fear of snakes, his imperfect relationship with the women he loves.  I think that he is the more developed character and we can relate to him more.  Han is swept up in a space opera that doesn’t allow us to delve too deeply into him as a character. Han is certainly cool and we want to be him, but we can identify with Indy.
Tough choice but I am ok with it. 

While discussing this a friend threw in Jack Ryan into the mix. This got me thinking that it is no coincidence that these three great characters are played by Harrison Ford. Also that as I age my choice may change as well. As a  boy I liked Han Solo, as I grew up I preferred Indy. Maybe when I older and a father I will prefer jack Ryan, a kick arse dad saving the day, and his country?

Perhaps, but for now I think I will dream of exotic locations, swords, hidden treasure and the lovely Karen Allen. 

But I am interested what do you think, Indy or Han?

1 comment:

  1. If I had to choose which I'd rather be, I'd go with Indy. He's smart and educated, while from what we see in the movies Han is street smart but not educated. I've got too much respect for education.

    Given the choice of Jack Ryan as well, I'd go with Ryan. Ryan is smart, physical when needed, and probably has the best developed relationships of any of them (including a loving wife, family, and mentor).