Indiana Jones and the Invasion of the Billboards

If you’ve ever driven around the San Fernando Valley on the other side of the hill from Hollywood, then you know that Ventura Boulevard is one of the main arteries feeding this clogged heart of Los Angeles. As a longtime denizen of the Valley, it’s definitely one of the top places to find the best bars, restaurants, and kitschy shops out here… but imagine my surprise when I saw not one, or two, but SIX Indiana Jones billboards festooning this motorway, all within two blocks of each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited about the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Despite what George Lucas says, us fans don’t want to hate this film. In fact, George, we wanted to love the Star Wars prequels, too! We just… couldn’t. So apparently Paramount wants us to love this film as well. They want you to love it so much that they are apparently trying to corner the market on billboards in the City of Angels.

So the first billboard starts of fairly simple… it’s Indy running away from danger, sort of reminiscent of that opening scene from Raiders, except you have what looks like Aztec pyramids in the background. You’ve got the title and the date of the film, Harrison Ford’s image, job done right? Well, a few feet further along Ventura, and you encounter this.

Yes, a giant square-sized billboard on the other side of the street, this time packed with even more imagery from the movie. The same Indy running scene, with the added bonus of a Crystal Skull, Cate Blanchett, Shia “The Beef” LaBeouf, Karen Allen, and Ray Winstone. Oddly shaped, but again, title, date, done deal.

Not quite. You keep on tooling down the street, and you’re hit in the face with this billboard of The Beef himself as Mutt Williams, looking like a rebel without a clue. He’s on his motorcycle, looking tough, and apparently wondering how he got his head stuck in the logo.

Not to be outdone, on the other side of the street (maybe that’s what The Beef is looking at) is Cate Blanchett in his dominatrix Russian gear, wielding a sword. She’s backed up by a bevy of soldiers in the mist behind her, and while she might look cute as a pixie, she’d probably stab you with that sword if you said so.

There’s a relief section of a half a block or so before you’re smacked with the two most bizarre billboards for a movie I’ve ever seen. First of all is this giant one that simply reads INDY. No date, no title, just that famous Indiana Jones font, four letters, and that’s it.

Right behind this one, in equally giant letters, is MAY 22, hammering the date of the film home. That’s almost one month away, exactly. So just in case these billboard didn’t quite punch it through your own crystal skull: Indiana Jones and The New Movie will be out on May 22nd in theaters everywhere. I heard it from a reputable source that this series of billboards is repeated on La Brea Avenue down in Hollywood, and they might be elsewhere around the country. Is Paramount trying to recreate the old Burma Shave billboard experience? Let us know if you spot ’em in the wild.

I was raised in the Metroplex of Dallas/Fort Worth, and fled at the age of 18 to Austin, Texas, where I was inundated with a whirlwind of new pop culture experiences by mainlining movies, television, and video games. I now live on the fringe of Los Angeles and work at Riot Games.

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