If there’s one actor I’d happily blame for my movie obsession it’s Harrison Ford.
At the age of eight I saw Star Wars and my life was never the same again.
Han Solo was the greatest big screen character I’d ever seen, and for the next few years Ford turned out some of the most important films of my life.
I’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark more times than is perhaps good for me; my analysis of Blade Runner since 1982 has bordered on obsessive, and I think he should have landed Oscars for both Witness and The Mosquito Coast.
Given the fact Harrison Ford is one of the greatest movie stars of my life, I do wonder why an actor who can command more than $20million a picture keeps choosing such bad projects.
It can’t be that the scripts aren’t good enough; Hollywood is overflowing with them.
Maybe it’s just that he stopped caring.
I’m guessing the rot set in when his remake of Sabrina failed to wow the masses in 1995.
Troubled Brad Pitt drama The Devil’s Own didn’t help matters, and yawnsome Die Hard clone Air Force One felt like a half-baked B-movie (despite Ford’s best attempts to give it some gravitas).
The fact he recently started filming The Expendables 3 was the final straw."
For the past decade, Harrison has turned out a string of humdrum offerings, from sub-standard K:19: The Widowmaker, to offerings such as Crossing Over, and (the far from) Extraordinary Measures, which barely formed a blip on even the most passionate movie-lover’s radar.
The fact he recently started filming The Expendables 3 was the final straw.
If I had his number (and he wouldn’t put the phone down), I would quite happily say: ‘Harrison, at 15 I wrote you a letter telling you how much I loved your work. That was 30 years ago, but these days I wouldn’t bother sending an email, because you squandered that goodwill with a string of bad movies.
‘The fact you are now making a third film in a dreadful ageing action star franchise is just not good enough. Please, if you have agreed to the amount of zeroes on your pay cheque for JJ Abrams’ next movie from that galaxy far, far away, and if you do re-team with Ridley Scott for the Blade Runner sequel, I will be the happiest man in the world if you also do it for love rather than money.’
Okay, since venting my spleen in that rant, I’ll admit I have warmed to Ford since seeing him on The Graham Norton Show.
Yes, he looked as awkward as ever, but the eight-year-old kid in me still wants to recapture the intergalactic magic Ford first brought to my local cinema one magical Friday night in 1978.
I’ll still go and see Ender’s Game, more because of my passion for big screen sci-fi epics rather than Ford’s performance as the brilliantly named Colonel Hyrum Graff (he sounds stunningly bored in the trailer).
I really hope it’s the movie that restores my faith in his work, and that HF raises his game enough for me to care about his films again.
However, I’m resigned to the fact it’s two decades since Ford last made a great movie (The Fugitive), and it could take an Ark-style miracle to make him turn things around now.
Roger Crow once spent all his pocket money on a book about Harrison Ford. These days he’d think twice about reading the first chapter of a free copy.