Egypt & Java & South Pacific – 1919
“Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye” is a film in the true spirit of Indiana Jones. While it may not work exceptionally well on a technical level, there’s much to this installment of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles to enjoy. There’s plenty of adventure to be had, exotic locales to be visited, and a story about friendship and following your dreams to be experienced. All told, there are plenty of worse ways to spend an hour-and-a-half of your time – particularly if you’re a fan of Indiana Jones and hunting for treasure.
Unlike many of the previous installments of the series, this chapter features a coherent story across its entire runtime. There are many advantages to this and the chapter does a competent job of exploiting the extra narrative space to explore a few important themes. If there is a criticism, though, it’s in the pacing – as if, because the series was not used to such room to tell a story, it didn’t quite know how to handle all of the extra time. As such, there are plenty of superfluous action sequences and subplots which, while entertaining, simply fall by the wayside because they just aren’t important to the overall story.
This story takes young Indy from the battle lines in World War I, to the victorious homefront in London, to Africa and, finally the South Pacific. If there’s an overriding theme to the chapter, it is finding a destiny, finding a purpose, now that the war has been won. In that sense, the fantastic diamond that is “the treasure of the peacock’s eye” serves as a symbol of following your dreams. Ultimately, Indy knows that he wants to be an archaeologist. But his friendship with Remy and his sense of adventure lead him along an exotic trail to find the treasure.
The most important character moments, for Indy, come toward the end of the chapter when he and Remy wash ashore of a remote island in the South Pacific. Once there, he befriends a young local boy – who is subsequently killed in an inter-tribal ritual. After this, Indy and Remy meet Bronislaw Malinowski, the famous anthropologist. Malinowski challenges Indy to follow his dream and Indy learns a valuable lesson. When Indy’s answer to what he most wants to do in life remains the same – with or without the diamond – he realizes that the worst thing to do would be to put off his dreams.
In that sense, “Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye” is an important, valuable story. Along with the adventure and action, the chapter is a significant step forward for Indy’s character.
Overall Grade: B-
“Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye” is an action-packed installment that also features some prominent character development. Unfortunately, the two elements of the show aren’t balanced quite well enough to be completely effective. Still, this is an enjoyable chapter.