Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts – It should come as no surprise that Uncharted brings back clichés and reflects historical facts. The subtitle for such a film, Indiana Jones, was a pop culture pick based on actual research.

“It means something brand new and unprecedented, something that hasn’t been out there yet,” Mark Wahlberg says in a promotional video explaining the title of his new film, Uncharted, along with his co-stars. told Tom Holland. “And that’s what this movie is,” Holland admits. Well…even if you haven’t seen Uncharted, we all know that’s not entirely true. First of all, let’s also admit that while this film is based on a popular video game series, the territory is actually pretty well known for a movie. Treasure hunt movies are today’s genre, usually involving a few adventurers who are sent on a globe-trotting adventure to find extremely valuable objects. They are pursued by dangerous rivals, hostile natives, and more.

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Over the past 40 years, Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, The Mummy, National Treasure, Tomb Raider, and another Tomb Raider have covered this terrain. Just last summer, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt hosted Disney’s Jungle Cruise in search of the Amazon.

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Next month, “Lost City” will air, starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum as they explore Central America. Part 5 of Indiana Jones is currently being filmed.

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Clearly, this formula works. But it’s also a story with a legend. There is no getting around this. These are stories about white people traveling to countries where non-white people live and stealing their things. As anyone who has visited a European or American museum in the past century knows, this is no pure fiction. However, in real life, the direction of progress is rather the opposite. Agencies in Europe and the United States have begun returning looted goods, including the Benin bronze, taken from Nigeria by the British in 1897. Last year, the Belgian government agreed to return some 2,000 “stolen” items to Congo. UNESCO has asked the British Museum to return the Parthenon (also known as Elgin) marbles to Greece.

Uncharted is primarily an undisputed popcorn treat, but like many treasure-hunt films, its connections to the real history of colonial plunder are barely hidden. The treasure in question belonged to Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who led an expedition around the world on behalf of the Spanish Empire 500 years ago. According to the film, his ship loaded with loot is still somewhere in the Philippines. (There is little debate about where Magellan acquired such wealth or who its rightful owner is.) Holland’s character is the son of an American archaeologist and a 16th-century Nathan Drake, a descendant of British imperialist raider Francis Drake. . His biggest rivals in the race to find Magellan’s treasure are descendants of the Spanish family that originally financed Magellan. After all, it’s not such a “brand new” story.

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

What Is The Archaeology?

Many of these films reference myths and MacGuffins, particularly the history of the British Empire. In Jungle Cruise, Emily Blunt is a stylish and incredibly athletic British botanist in the 1910s. She comes from the same family as Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, the highly educated daughter of a wealthy aristocratic British archaeologist. In the film Hamunaptra, Rachel Weisz plays a literary (but surprisingly athletic) 1920s Egyptologist named Evelyn Carnahan. She was portrayed as Evelyn Beauchamp, daughter of Lord Carnarvon, who funded Howard Carter’s Egyptian excavations that discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.

However, the true origins of the genre lie not in actual history, but in film history, particularly in the archaeological adventure films Magellan and Indiana Jones. As George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan’s notes from a 1981 brainstorming session reveal, they were primarily inspired by the movies they grew up watching from an early age, such as King Kong and Lawrence Kasdan. It was inspired by films such as “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and 1940s Republican action thrillers. 50s. Pseudoscience books such as Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not,” Disneyland rides, and Erich von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” are also mentioned. “I don’t think they even knew the names of real historical archaeologists,” says Justin Jacobs, a history professor at American University and author of “The Indiana Jones of History.” “This is all recycling of earlier pop culture. There’s no historical research.”

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

This is not surprising considering the anachronisms and casual racism of the Indiana Jones movies. For example, in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the filmmakers used his 1930s Indian setting to design an all-you-can-eat buffet filled with oriental stereotypes. . The Maharaja’s banquets literally feature live snakes, eyeball soup, giant beetles, and chilled monkey brains (none of which have anything to do with Indian cuisine). The film also spreads a dark-skinned death cult that tears people’s hearts out, kidnaps white women, and enslaves children until Indy becomes the white savior.

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Consciously or not, these films reflect Europe’s real-life colonial enterprise. For example, Lucas initially envisioned Jones as a kind of “legislative archaeologist,” but quickly realized that his hero needed an academic justification to justify his looting, and that he became the catchphrase, “It belongs in a museum!” Jacobs says real-life European raiders in the 19th century used similar reasoning. “We preserve it, protect it, study it, exhibit it, and educate the world.”

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

The entire exercise was fundamentally based on racist assumptions. Foreign objects were often evaluated solely on the basis of their significance to European history. Superior craftsmanship by non-whites was always seen as evidence of hidden European influence. Or even extraterrestrial influence in the case of von Daniken’s theory of Central American civilizations (the fourth Indiana Jones film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, agrees). The decline of great civilizations of the past was often due to racial mixing diluting the empire-building power of the original white people.

European suzerains often competed with each other. For example, Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni brought a huge bust of Ramses II from Egypt to London in 1818, succeeding where Napoleon’s army had failed and becoming a national celebrity. is still on display at the British Museum). “It’s more like ‘belongs in a museum’ than ‘belongs in a museum,'” Jacobs says.

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Booty Calls: Hollywood’s Problem With Lost Treasure Yarns

You don’t have to look far to explain how Indiana Jones spawned an entire genre. Raiders of the Lost Ark was the world’s highest-grossing film in 1981. Its three sequels were equally successful. Joining Temple of Doom in the box office top ten of 1984 was another treasure-hunting murder. Neither Kathleen Turner nor Michael Douglas were glamorous Brits or interested in archaeology, so at least Romancing the Stone broke new ground. Still, they had a map and were looking for the legendary emerald. When I finally found it, did I donate it to a responsible cultural institution in Colombia? Of course not. Douglas sold it and bought a yacht.

Romancing the Stone is one of many films in which a reluctant woman (Kathleen Turner) enjoys her work. Photo: 20th Century Fox/Sports Photo/All Star

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

In addition to Indiana Jones’s profitableness and casual imitation of stereotypes, Romancing the Stone and its sequel The Pearl of the Nile confirmed another trope in the treasure-hunt genre. She finds this type of adventure very liberating and transformative for white women. Turner’s literary, urbane personality initially made her feel harsh about Colombia’s people, animals, and weather. Douglas then cuts off her high heels with a machete and she is freed. Many others have followed in his same footsteps. Apparently, this movie also includes Sandra Bullock from Lost City. She plays another lonely writer who is “thrown on an epic jungle adventure” alongside an equally useless male model played by Channing Tatum.

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Some companies are trying to take such research material seriously. Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre: The Wrath of God.” More recently, James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is based on the real-life British explorer Percy Fawcett, who spent nearly two decades exploring a mythical Amazonian city. (coincidentally starring Tom Holland). Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent offered a more powerful counter-narrative, looking at the exploration of the Amazon by two different whites through the eyes of an indigenous guide. Also worth noting is the scene in Marvel’s Black Panther in which Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, forcibly removes African artifacts from a British museum. “How do you think your ancestors got these?” he asks.

Intriguing Jungle Adventure Films With Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts

Is it possible to adapt these stories to our more culturally enlightened times? Perhaps. Disney’s Jungle Cruise has managed to partially hide its problematic origins. The original Disneyland ride transports passengers through “exotic” landscapes of Asia, Africa, and South America aboard a mock British colonial ship, and features a miniature grass-skirted man-eater called “The Trader.” Racist caricatures such as “Sam” were drawn. Head. Sam was gently removed from the vehicle to prepare.

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