British East Africa, 1909.
Matthew Jacobs pens the first episode, from a story by George Lucas, that makes up the first half of this television movie that aired, as an episode, on 18 March, 1992, and as a movie on 18 September, 2000. Why the story wasn’t set in 1908 to tie in with the rest of the events that were going to happen to Indy (Corey Carrier), I’m not sure. Perhaps it was to make sure that he was there with his father Henry (Lloyd Owen), mother, Anna (Ruth de Sosa) and Miss Seymour (Margaret Tyzack) to meet President Teddy Roosevelt (James Gammon) on one of his big game hunts.
Joining Roosevelt on his hunt, is his guide, Selous, played by Paul Freeman, who would later become Indiana’s greatest rival when he played Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
There are some fun character moments with Henry Sr., Anna, and Miss Seymour, while young Indy tries to seek out the fringe-eared Oryx for the President. With the aid of a new friend, Meto (Isaac Senteu Supeyo), he finds them, but is eventually troubled and upset by the amount of animals killed during the hunt.
Gammon’s performance of the President is bang-on, and watching Indy come to grips with the hunt, and the loss of life, and it becomes part of his continuing character.
The scenery, and location work is beautiful, and you can see Lucasfilm’s use of digital images, and compositing coming into shape.
Carrier does a nice job of bringing young Henry Jones, jr. to life and reacting to the scenery probably didn’t take much, considering how stunning it is. The only thing that doesn’t jibe with canon is the fact that young Henry exclaims he hates snakes, but that’s not something that happens until 1912 (as seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).
Indy and his family find themselves in Paris in this episode written by Reg Gadney (from a story by Lucas) in the second part of the movie. The episode this was created from originally aired on 19 June, 1993.
The family, with Mrs. Seymour in tow, have arrived in Paris to learn about some of the new artistic movements that are blossoming there. Meeting a new friend, a young artist named Norman Rockwell (Lukas Haas), the two find themselves exploring the edgy art scenes not the paintings hanging in the Louvre.
Young Henry finds himself in the middle of a quarrel between Edgar Degas (Jean-Pierre Aumont) and Pablo Picasso (Danny Webb). Degas represents the old guard, a brilliant impressionist, while Picasso is new, and wanting to prove himself and his paintings done in a new style known as cubism, and not bring all of art to ruination as Degas claims.
Using world history as a backdrop for Indy’s adventures serves as a way to educate, and hopefully fire the imagination to learn more.
As a fun note, I love that Mrs. Seymour chastises Henry for introducing himself as Indy.
Next week, the adventures continue as young Indy experiences his first heartbreak.