Editor’s Note: The Rockhound Review is a space where guest contributors can weigh in on topics stirring within the rock, gem and mineral community or share their insights (serious and lighthearted) about a specific topic. The views shared here are those of the guest contributors.
By Mark Maller
Would you enjoy seeing a movie that is really about rocks and minerals? I’ll be first in line.
Precious stones are mentioned in many films, but not very interesting to mineral collectors and rockhounds. Numerous movies are about mines or mining.
Diamonds are subjects for some movies, such as “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Blood Diamond.” Typically gems and rocks are only mentioned in the script or title (“The Emerald Forest” and “Fool’s Gold”) and/or are not important to the story.
What if some classic and popular movies were remade and focus on the hobby of rocks and minerals? Just for fun, I consider films since 1965, and in a follow up post I will cover possible versions of some classics.
In the ancient lost city of Atlantis, AquamarineMan uses his super powers to protect the world’s aquamarine (beryl) from his sworn enemy who intends to turn this beautiful blue-green gem into a weapon that will destroy Atlantis. AquamarineMan, who is half-human, transforms his muscles with real aquamarine (8-9 hardness) and whips his opponents bare handed.
Jurassic Rock Park
(1993 and two sequels Jurassic Park)
Geologists recreate mineral deposits from the dinosaur era and discover hidden Tyrannosaurus DNA. The monsters grow up and rip out giant limestone columns that destroy the park and kill the tourists. Geologists save the town from total disaster by crushing these giant reptiles with black and red obsidian boulders.
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
Our hero (Harrison Ford) seeks wulfenite (yellow-orange lead ore) and white aragonite (CaCo3) in the deserted Egyptian hills where they are found in a mystical skull of an insane Nazi scientist. He fights the evil Nazi rockhounds who want these crystals for their nefarious purposes.
Pyrites of the Caribbean
(2007 and three sequels Pirates of the Caribbean)
Pirates, led by Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), cruise the Caribbean for an underwater source of fool’s gold. With no luck finding real gold, they steal all the pyrites (FeS2) from the other pirates, robbing them of their secret loot.
(1969; 2010 True Grit)
A lapidary artist invents a new machine that uses super sharp fine diamond saws with superior silicon carbide grits to cut striped agate. When he is kidnapped and killed by crooks, his plucky teenage daughter hires a crusty marshal (John Wayne) on a dangerous journey to avenge him and return the invention.
Coal Miner’s Daughter
(1980 Coal Miner’s Daughter)
Loretta Lynn is a legendary country music singer who gives up her wealthy lifestyle to
become a coal and malachite (copper ore) miner near a distillery in Kentucky. However, the mine runs out, she loses all her money, but luckily she still has some nice malachite stalactite specimens to show off. She writes a hit song “My Cheating Malachite.”
(1979 and five sequels Star Trek)
Captain Kirk, Spock and Scottie search for Iceland spar ( double refraction calcite), feldspar and “di-lithium crystals” on a planet ruled by Klingons, but they find only a ton of black hornblende. (In one TV episode, Spock finds this.) They battle the Klingon enemies on a dangerous cliff of granite and schist.
The Emerald Forest
Brazillian primitives accidentally find beautiful emeralds in the Amazon jungle and bury them, believing according to legend, that they will reproduce little emeralds. When this fails, they swallow them for good luck.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
At the Hogwart’s school and castle, Harry is given a magical and mysterious rock that can become any mineral he chooses. Rather than wishing for precious gems or gold, he gets gypsum (2) so he can complete his Moh’s hardness scale.