TotalFilm.com posted an article about George Lucas hinting at Indiana Jones 5, specifically how he is currently searching for the film’s MacGuffin (think Ark of the Covenant, magic rocks, the holy grail, and crystal skulls).
I would consider myself an avid Indiana Jones fan. Raiders of the Lost Ark was an impressionable film growing up and for a time I wanted to be an archeologist until I realized archeology was nothing like the Indiana Jones films. I learned about how disappointing reality can be compared to the magic of Hollywood thanks to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I remember traveling to Petra, Jordan where a few scenes of Last Crusade were filmed. Excited to see the facade of “The Treasury” and anxious to get inside to the cavernous interiors where “only the penitent man shall pass,” I climbed the stairs and entered a small, completely boxed-in room. I guess I wasn’t penitent enough.
Fast forward through the disappointment which was Crystal Skull and ask the question: What will you do after your career peaks?
A lot of film directors have peaked, Lucas being one of them, Spielberg another. They changed the way movies were made early in their careers, but now they release movies that make audiences shake their collective heads and wonder, “They thought that was a good idea?”
In addition to really bad ideas, some directors hang onto their past work, not willing to let the films speak for themselves in the context of film history. Okay George, we get it, you can make a movie from the 70’s look like every decade since. Let it go buddy. Star Wars is a good film. It’s not perfect, but it was groundbreaking and cutting edge in the 70’s, and the fact that it singlehandedly influenced modern cinema should say something.
A lot of creative professionals start their careers hungry to change the world. Some find success by experimenting, asking questions, and never letting the answers coax them into a career-oriented laziness. Others find success and lose touch with reality over time as they believe the press clippings regarding the greatness of “__________.”
Everyone has the potential to be someone. However, they also have the ability to know when enough is enough, hang up the towel, and try something new.
What are you going to do when your career peaks? Will you look at what you have done and see how you can repurpose it for a new audience or will you search for something new that echoes deep within your soul?
Perhaps the MacGuffin eluding Lucas and Spielberg is retirement.