The sad reality is, Harrison Ford’s best work is likely behind him. 42 was a nice change of pace, but it was more an impression than a performance, and it wasn’t exactly universally lauded.
Ford rushed the screen with authority in Ender’s Game, but that looks like an island of goodness in an ocean of mediocrity stretching back to the start of the millennium and the surprising horror film What Lies Beneath. Sadly, the future doesn’t look terribly bright, either, with a collection of potential re-hashes and likely worthless cameos in pictures like Anchorman 2 and Expendables 3.
For some reason, all of this bothers me, and I don’t like it.
Why on earth do we care about the shape of someone else’s career? In sports and in film, why do we bother about someone else’s legacy?
I suppose it’s got something to do with us not wanting to see our childhood heroes “embarrass” themselves, thus tarnishing all the good memories that they have given to us, but that is a bit ludicrous, isn’t it?
Sean Connery voicing a skateboarding grandpa will not magnetically erase all copies of Thunderball, with James Bond fading into nothingness as if he were Michael J. Fox on stage at the end of Back to the Future strumming along to “Earth Angel”.
We know this, and yet, there is also the fact that in this age of infinite sequels and nostalgia mining, we’re not just seeing our fallen film idols slink off and embrace typecasting, lazily reading through their umpteenth mob-comedy because they used to be Robert De Niro or Al Pacino. Now we’re seeing the modern day equivalent of Bob Denver wearing his Gilligan hat in public.
Harrison Ford is 71 and he could, conceivably, play Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Rick Deckard again. Sly Stallone could go back to Rambo after previously going back to him at the age of 62. More and more, this is becoming the norm for almost every actor with an iconic character in their CV (with the exception of Saint Bill Murray), a result of Hollywood’s near ceaseless thirst to milk this generation’s craving for the heroes of yesteryear. But why do these actors do it? Why would Harrison Ford saddle up to re-play roles that seem to genuinely piss him off when broached during interviews?
It would be easy to wave this off, dismissing these endeavors as commercially motivated grasps at the last shred of fame and ducats that these men will see, but in all actuality, we know next to nothing about Ford apart from those interviews. Maybe Ford likes the action that comes with playing those roles, but not the cult that has sprung up around them? Maybe Ford happens to realize that playing Indiana Jones is a pretty cool way to spend a few months. Hell, maybe Bob Denver liked that damn hat.
We aren’t likely to get any insight into the plus and minus that goes through Harrison Ford’s head when he chooses a role, and we won’t know why he decides to re-enter a galaxy far far away, should that happen. We can make our assumptions and our judgments on the direction of his career, but in the end, Harrison Ford almost certainly doesn’t give a shit, and that’s cool, because our issue with these actors auguring these characters into the ground has nothing to do with these actors and everything to do with us.
Lets face it, to us, Harrison Ford is a hero and he’s also something like an action figure that we’ve played with for a long, long time. An action figure that has been battered by time, and when our toys become old and broken, we realize that we are also getting older and that we will one day be broken, and that’s kinda depressing.
Oh well, who wants to watch Sabrina?