Fan Film Review: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Ra


Fan of: Indiana Jones

Written by: Tony Garmon

Directed by: Tony Garmon

Starring: Tony Garmon, David Garrison, Amy Garmon, Lee Barnett, and Rett Thompson

This time, we take a look at an Indiana Jones fan film. And, believe it or not, these are actually hard to come by. Usually, when you google “Indiana Jones fan film”, you end up finding some guy who puts a fedora and jacket on his 10-year-old son and it ends up getting a million hits on YouTube. So why are serious Indiana Jones fan films hard to come by? I found that out the hard way when I made my first one, Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Apalachee. You would think that a Star Wars fan film would be more difficult to pull off. Well, as long as you have a good effects person and some passionate cosplayers, you’re in business. You can’t really get away with that when it comes to pulling off an Indiana Jones fan film. Whether the story is canon or not, you’re definitely dealing with a period piece. And that’s what Tony Garmon, the cast, and crew are dealing with in Indiana Jones and the Staff of Ra.

Tony Garmon decides to, not only write and direct but, star as the titular archaeologist. Quite the undertaking! The story takes place ten years prior to the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. A young Indiana Jones is solicited by his mentor, Abner Ravenwood, to join him in a quest to find the headpiece to the staff of Ra. During this quest, he meets Marion Ravenwood who is Abner’s daughter. Also in this quest for the headpiece is competitor, Lucious McNair who serves as the film’s antagonist.

I’ll be honest, here. When I started watching the first five minutes of the film, I didn’t have very high hopes. The movie begins like most Indy fan films begin; with Indiana Jones in some jungle. Okay, not the worst thing in the world so I kept watching. Indy goes after this golden helmet from a bunch of cannibals. Well…okay. Weird, but okay. I was even thrown off by the wig that Indy’s partner was wearing. Not sure why that was necessary but I continued on. The action unfolds when

Indy dangles from a cliff in order to avoid being seen by the Nazis.

Indy is cornered by a familiar competitor, Forrestal (who we also see as an old corpse in Raiders of the Lost Ark). Forrestal, apparently, makes a deal with the cannibals in order to take the helmet. At which point, they then devour Indy’s companion as Indy rides off on the horse. I really didn’t want to continue, at that point. But I did because you have to remember that fan films are typically a labor of love.The likelihood of having professional actors and crew is normally low. So you have to watch this for what it is. A film by fans for fans. So once you get past the first five minutes, it’s really not all that bad.

Indy greets Abner and Marion Ravenwood at the train station.

Tony Garmon and crew did a really great job in establishing the period of the film. Indy, Abner, and Marion set off for Abner’s brother’s home and we are treated to a very nice setting at the train station. I felt it was a nice way to begin to establish the relationship between Indy and Marion. The train station looks very period to the passengers walking the platform to the cars parked along the side. Very nice touch to the film.

Indy, Abner, and Marion walk off into the sunset.

The characters in the film really don’t have any back story. So I felt it difficult to follow along with the action at times. I would have really liked to have known who McNair was and whether he had some history with Abner or Indy. If it was explained, I must have missed it.

The action sequences in the movie were not bad, although one of the fist fights that Indy has was a little choppy. But hey, when you don’t have a stunt coordinator, those types of scene can be hard to pull off. I did like the shootout between Indy and the Nazis which ultimately lands Indy dangling on the cliff’s edge.

What’s important to remember, when watching this film, is that you have to suspend belief a little bit and allow yourself to see this for what it is. What I can’t stand about some moviegoers is that we’ll see something in the theater for what it is but when someone creates a labor of love like this, it is highly criticized. So please watch this film with an open mind and judge it for yourself. You can click the link below to watch the movie:

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Ra from Fan Film Follies on Vimeo.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Ra on Vimeo on Vimeo via Indiana Jones and the Staff of Ra on Vimeo.

Next Review: Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection

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