Indiana Jones – Behind The Scenes

The Science of Booby Traps


One of the most absolutely iconic features that this beloved series has impressed audiences for ages with was the creatively primitive booby traps that always seem to get in the way of the good Doctor Jones. While various ancient civilizations were able to set up some very elementary mechanisms to take care of trespassers, I guarantee that none have come close to the convoluted security measures we see in Indiana Jones. From huge rolling boulders to whirring buzz saws, some of these just don’t make a lick of logical sense. Although a set of enormous, razor sharp disc saws that decapitate anyone who doesn’t kneel is a pretty awesome concept, how do they spin without any power? How did three crusaders think to install this system? It’s just mind-boggling.

While it is really just silly over-thinking to pick apart the illogical nature of these devices, how they were actually made in the modern day is still an interesting subject to tackle. Take the weighted idol plate from the original movie for example. The picture shows the crew as they are going through a test of it.

Spielberg awaits the all clear to push the buttons on the comically large remote to trigger the descent of the pedestal. This, in turn would start the shaking mechanisms that would make the room appear to be collapsing. Small bits of rubble would even be dropped from the ceiling to accomplish this goal. The dart shooting area that would come next was just some good old fashioned editing of film of actual non-lethal darts getting shot out of the wall to splice it together with the current film of Ford running across it.

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