So good it melts faces! What else can be said about this movie? RAIDERS is by far the best in the Indiana Jones trilogy (er, quadrilogy?), not to mention one of the greatest pure adventure movies of all time. And I donít think youíll find anybody whoíll argue otherwise. Except maybe embittered Nazis.
Spielberg and Lucas's loving homage to the pulp action serials of the 1930s is a thing of beautyóeffortlessly mixing action excitement, a classic-era romance, comic hijinx and the awe of the supernatural with an overall fun vibe. Harrison Fordís smirking smugness is perfect for the title role, truly one of the great actor-character combinations to grace the screen. (I canít even begin to imagine the originally cast Tom Selleck as IndyÖit almost seems sacrilegious.) In this first outing heís greatly complimented by Karen Allen, whose fiery attitude gives both Ford and the audience a run for their money. From Marionís first punch hello, it was love at first sight.
Thereís too many classic moments, lines and characters to mention. Letís just say RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is the reason we love movies.
The Temple of Doom
I know this movie has its detractors, but because of my age and my parents disregard for continuity, TEMPLE OF DOOM was my introduction to the series. And I still find it an enjoyable action-adventure flick. that boasts a lot of the same characteristics we love about the first one.
Sure, Short Round can get a little grating and Kate Capshaw a bit whiny, but there's still plenty of great iconic moments and the same fun spirit that carries over from RAIDERS, although a bit darker in tone. I think the horror element is what makes the movie work a lot better than it should. Trust me, as a kid, seeing Mola Ram Kali Ma a dudeís heart out of his chest isnít something you easily forget. And as a prequel, TEMPLE makes it a little easier to gloss over some of the lacking parts, like the chemistry-lacking romance. But honestly, who could follow up Allen?
While some of the stunts are harder to swallow this time around (I'm looking at you thousand foot raft drop), Fordís continuing rock star status helps everything fit in tonally. Sequences like the mine cart chase, the buggy booby trap and the bridge finale all the get the chest thumping in ways only Spielberg could. Solid work all the way around.
The Last Crusade
Spielberg finally gets his trademark daddy issues out of the way with this third film. And while that might cause eye rolling in some viewers, honestly, itís a perfect fit for the story and provides a great thematic cap to the series. (Or at least we thoughtÖ)
Ford and Connery make a fantastic team, with the former Bond holding his own but not overshadowing the true star of the film. Together they bring a nice dose of comedy, at least when compared to the previous entry, which helps CRUSADE to be a lighter, more fun adventure in line with the first. Again, the romance angle isnít as strong, with Elsa taking backseat to the father-son dynamic (arguably the more important and successful of the plotlines), but the gorgeous and unfortunately named Alison Doody does a fine job as the cool-hearted siren.
Amongst groovy tank chases and rat-filled catacombs, the most famous part of the flick is probably the River Phoenix starring prologue. Itís cute, if not a little self referential, and reveals a lot more about the Indy we know and love. Itís a nice nod for fans, but I personally enjoy the mystique of the adventurous doctor, instead of blatantly explaining where he got his whip, hat, fear of snakes, etc.
CRUSADE starts fun, but ends perfectly, right down to the proverbial sunset. All I gotta say is theyíd better not mess that up with the fourth movie.
Eh, not really. Each of the three movies has their own decent helping of special features, but the set is missing the awesome bonus disk that the previous collection had. While I appreciate that all of the material is new and doesnít overlap with the previous discs, I canít help but feel a little gypped as well.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Introduction (7:48): Modern day Spielberg and Lucas give you an overview of the production and what they wanted to accomplish with the character, along with footage from the 1980 set.
Indiana Jones: An Appreciation (11:40): All the big players, including cast members from the new movie discuss the cultural impact of the character and the trilogy, as well as their personal favorite scenes.
The Melting Face (8:49): An iconic image if there ever was oneÖ A few of the effects guys recreate Tohtís famous demise using the same technique as they did decades ago. Itís nice to see how they did it, although itís not hard to guess.
Storyboards: You can watch an animated comparison between the storyboards for the Well of Souls sequence and the finished film, but Iím personally getting tired of these.
The Temple of Doom
An Introduction (5:58): Another overview similar to the previous disk. Spielberg reveals he had a handshake deal with Lucas to do three movies, although it sounds like both men had two different visions for this second installment. (The Beard didnít want to go so dark.)
Creepy Crawlies (11:55): Snakes, bugs, and ratsÖeveryoneís favorites! This is a nice feature that elaborates on each filmís requisite ďgross outĒ scene. I still think RAIDERS wins with its 10,000 snakes and a live cobra. (With optional pop up trivia track for more info.)
Travel with Indy (10:30): Some extra info on all the worldwide locations and the globe trotting the cast and crew had to do.
Storyboards (2:31): A comparison of the mine cart chase sequence.
The Last Crusade
Introduction (6:13): Same as the others; each of the head honchos discuss what they brought to the table; Spielberg came up with the father-son story (obviously), while Lucas was a big pusher for the paranormal aspects of the Holy Grail.
Indy's Women (9:23): This is taken from an AFI Tribute segment done in 2003, where all three of Indyís love interests sat down for a frank discussion of Harrison Fordís bedroom antics. Okay, maybe not. But stick around to the end for a nice surprise.
Indy's Friends and Enemies (10:46): A character gallery that goes through the seriesí rich supporting cast. At one point someone compares Short Round to R2D2, which I thought was funny.
Storyboards (3:40): Look, more drawings! This time from the opening sequence.
Each disc also comes with assorted Galleries and a Trailer for the Lego Indiana Jones Trilogy game.
Extra Tidbit: I just realized Karen Allen was the mom in THE SANDLOT and my head is about to explode.