Indiana Jones’ Whip and How the Great Movie Ride Mishandles a Classic Movie Prop

It is hard to be a bigger Indiana Jones geek than me. I’m not sure it’s possible. Raiders of the Lost Ark is my all time favorite movie. Unless I’m in an Empire Strikes Back mood. But no really, it’s Raiders. Today, at least.

As a true Indiana Jones fan, I possess secret knowledge that is apparently unavailable to the people in charge of things such as Imagineering great Disney attractions. For instance, I know for a fact that Temple of Doom is the second best Indy movie (you probably think it’s Last Crusade, but you’re wrong. I won’t hold it against you). I know that Karen Allen holds the distinction of being both the best (Raiders) and the worst (Crystal Skull) leading lady. I know that Belloq really did swallow a fly (google it). I don’t know why he swallowed a fly.

I guess he’ll die.

Indiana Jones is the greatest action hero of all time and it’s not even close. A lot of this is due to Harrison Ford, but you have to give solid credit to the costume. That costume is an icon. Go to any decent Halloween party, and I guarantee you will see at least two or three dudes wearing it. I think at the Magic Kingdom Not-So-Scary party, it’s probably the third most popular, behind (regrettably) Jack Sparrow and Other Random Pirate.

So it ticks me off to no end that the so-called geniuses who dreamt up the Great Movie Ride can manage to botch things for us true Indy fans. Take a look at this scene from the ride:

Now here’s the scene from the movie. Camera angle is reversed from the ride’s point-of-view, but the positions of Indy and Sallah are the same.

Spot the problem? It’s the whip! Indy’s trusty, iconic, never-leave-home-without-it whip! The ride gets scene-specific details right (such as Indy’s gloves, which only appear in a couple scenes), but his whip and ever-present shoulder satchel are on the wrong hip.

In the movies, Indy wears the whip and the satchel on his left hip, so the strap is on his right shoulder. His gun holster is always on the right hip. Indy is right handed, so he quick-draws from the right hip (to shoot random Arabs). He cross-draws his whip from his left hip, which makes sense, as it allows the whip to unfurl as he swings his arm back.

For some crazy reason, the Great Movie Ride gets the costume wrong. And in case you’re wondering whether Indy switches it up in the movie, he doesn’t.

You said their headpiece only had markings on one side?” — Indiana Jones

Nor does he in Temple of Doom

“Take the left tunnel, Indy!” — Short Round

Or in Last Crusade

“You left just when you were becoming interesting.” — Henry Jones, Sr.

Or in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

“Your gun is digging into my hip.” –Ace Ventura (way more quotable than anything in Crystal Skull)

For that matter, his costume is correct in Temple of the Forbidden Eye out at Disneyland.

Photo by Loren Javier from Flickr

And it’s even right in the sign on the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, just scant yards from the Great Movie Ride! Though to be fair, the stunt performers might individually switch from left to right, depending on which is their dominant hand.

This sign is right-handed.

Is there any logical reason why GMR botched the costume? Maybe in the age of political correctness they were worried about showing the gun on Indy’s hip, but that seems ludicrous in a ride which includes a full-on gangland shootout and even your temporary tour guide is packing heat.

Or maybe they felt like the whip needed to be seen in order for people to be happy with Indiana Jones? But it’s barely seen anyway, since his jacket is covering part of it. It has to be an accident, right? But nevertheless, the fanboy in me is unreasonably offended.

It wouldn’t be the first time parkeology has caught Disney red-handed with hand problems. But this seems like an easy thing to correct. Hopefully somebody who works GMR will see this and pass the word on to the costuming people.

Comments (16)

  1. I hated the temple of doom AND THE LAST CRUSADE WAS ONE OF THE BEST PLUS THE FIRST AND LAST INDY has to be sick to like temple of Doom with all the sticking things done plus Ford hurt his back doing this movie.

  2. Actually, Belloq doesn’t eat the fly. In an interview, Paul Freeman said that he wasn’t aware of the fly on his lip but learned later that Spielberg snipped a frame or two out where it flew away in order to make it look as if Belloq was so bad he’d eat a fly. Plus, think about it. If you’re an actor in the middle of saying a line and a fly goes into your mouth, wouldn’t you you suddenly start spitting it out, take be damned?

  3. Or maybe it’s his evil identical cousin Illinois Smith.

  4. I wonder if the choice of sides was because of the angle you’re looking at the scene when the ride passes it. If I remember correctly, it’s on the right side as you go around the corner, and since Indy is the focal character of the scene, they want him in the foreground there and then you notice Sallah helping him, not vice versa. Maybe if it was on the left side as the ride was turning left, they could have accurately depicted the scene.

  5. Thanks, Shane!

    Temple of Doom was actually the first one of the series I saw, and I’ve never really quite understood the bad rap it gets.

  6. @Daniel, the figures actually are positioned correctly. The photos in my post just happen to be from opposite angles. In the still from Raiders, imagine that you would be seeing ride vehicles out there in the darkness beyond the Ark.

    But I’m glad to have another Temple of Doom fan out there. We will overcome!

  7. @Jim, I agree that the hat doesn’t look right, but I might chalk that up to the fact that it’s an AA figure, not a real human being. It looks too tall on his head, and also too far forward (unless sleeping on a cargo plane, Indy tends to tilt his back). It wouldn’t surprise me if the Fedora is accurate, but just doesn’t sit well on top of a wig.

  8. @Melissa, it’s behind the satchel. You can JUST catch the handle of it, dangling down.

    … which leads me to @Lou’s comment. If it IS deliberate, it’s self defeating, because the whip is barely visible. The fedora and jacket are enough to convince us it’s Indiana Jones.

    And I would argue that it would actually be MORE effective to have the whip and satchel on the other side, obscured. Then we would all be saying how awesome Disney’s details are. Even stuff that is virtually out of view is correct!

  9. Definitely an amusing post–and I have to agree that Temple of Doom is leagues ahead of Crusade as the 2nd best Indy film. I have to say, though, the real question is WHY did they reverse the position of Sallah and Indy to begin with? I think it’s pretty clear they wanted the whip visible….but if the figures were positioned like they are in the movie, they could have the whip AND have it on the correct side. Plus, why the slim-fast diet for Sallah?!? He’s barely recognizable!

  10. My GF sent me this link, as apparently I rant about the same issues every time we (she) attempt to enjoy the Great Movie Ride. I’d like to take things a step further in regards to Indy’s fedora – I don’t think they got that right either. It could be that the cleaning crew plays havoc with retaining the correct form of the hat, but whatever the reason, it doesn’t have that iconic shape to it.

    I enjoyed your comments. Glad I’m not alone in feeling this way!

  11. My guess is that the “error” is deliberate so that the trademark satchel and whip would be visible to the audience…

  12. I can’t see the whip at all in the first picture. What am I missing?

  13. These details are the kinds of things that keep us Disney geeks awake at night! Good eye!

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