Off to a good start – Chap. 3, Act 2, Strip 13

Well, team-building is an important and valuable skill. Sir Lostalot possesses an ability that is even rarer and more valuable: emergency team-building, i.e. the ability to draw just the kind of talent he needs for an emergency team out of thin air. His natural aptitude for it is considerably enhanced by the scriptwriter’s laziness, of course, since it would be a lot of effort to write some plausible background on how and why these strange two characters are at just the right place at just the right time.

From wherever they might have suddenly appeared, Sir Lostalot’s freshly baked jungle investigation team is well balanced and covers the three main (dinosaur)food groups of jungle adventure: the feral child/jungle boy, the tall and taciturn African warrior and the large group of native porters who run away at the first sign of trouble. The thing about those porters in B-movies really seems to be the ‘native’ bit – it doesn’t matter where the story is set, as long as the porters are from the same place they are cowardly, superstitious and easily spooked, even if they are perfectly fine in scenarios taking place elsewhere. The Professor, of course, is well acquainted with that effect, and has learned to manage it in the course of his many expeditions to all corners of the globe: He tends to employ Tibetan sherpas for his trips into the jungles of Africa, Chinese coolies accompany him up the amazon and Indian porters for expeditions to Laos or Myanmar, and so he never has any problems with panic attacks or mutinies. He tends to tire of the constant complaints about the climate, though. >_>

Since audiences have really come to expect nothing but headless flight from native porters, Nolan decided to have them flee as soon as the expedition start, and completely off-screen – saves a lot of money for hiring extras. And he already had to spend a lot of money to hire an ethnic character actor for Umslopodagra, the proud Zulu prince. If he had spent a little more money, he could even have gotten an actor of the correct ethnicity, but the casting agency had a special offer on Sikhs that week, so….

More on Monday.

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