Blu-ray Review: INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES
Published: September 18, 2012 - 11:33am
For the first time ever the entire Indiana Jones film series is collected on Blu-ray and it looks better than ever. Come for the movies themselves, stay for the behind-the-scenes footage. A definitive purchase for fans of the franchise and movie lovers alike.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
A rough and tumble archaeology professor (Harrison Ford) travels around the world with an old flame (Karen Allen) trying to stay one step ahead of Nazis who are on a quest to unearth a deadly relic. Thirty years later, Raiders of the Lost Ark holds up at one of -- if not the -- greatest adventure film of all time. Everything from the intricate stunt work to the iconic score to the fast paced dialogue laced with sharp humor makes watching this film not just a diversion but a true cinematic experience. The digital remastering is noticeable, with many of the grainy scenes beautifully cleaned up while maintaining their gritty feel. Now is the best time to introduce this wonderful film anyone young and old who have yet to see it.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
A prequel to Raiders, Temple of Doom takes our adventurer's story in a much darker direction. After escaping from China, Indiana Jones finds himself in India squaring off against a deadly group of human-sacrificing pagans. With his little sidekick Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and begrudging paramour Willie (future Mrs. Spielberg Kate Capshaw), Indy must recover a stolen artifact before it is used for evil. Succeeding in its gamble to be bigger and bolder than the first film, Temple is a definite crowd pleaser.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Sean Connery joins the adventure as Henry Jones, Sr., academic father to Harrison Ford's Indy. Nazis continue their search for religious artifacts of great supernatural power, this time it's The Holy Grail. Indy and his father must pool their knowledge of the Grail, and rescue it from it's long lost tomb. With a fantastic introductory scene starring River Phoenix as young Indiana Jones, and also featuring the return of John Rhys-Davies to the franchise, Last Crusade hearkens back to the lighthearted tone and style of the first film.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Set 20 years after the ending of the last film, Crystal Skull was in development for as many years. Heavily based in science fiction, as apposed to the brief fantastical elements touched upon in the previous installments, the film was not well received for many reasons (particularly the overuse of digital effects). However, many fans were pleased to see Karen Allen return as Indy's love interest Marion Ravenwood to bookend the franchise's romantic storyline.
Special Features Breakdown
The set is packaged in flip book form with a slipcase. Each is given it's own two page spread featuring original artwork and photographs from the films. Though most of the featurettes have already been released in previous editions or online, but having them all on one disc is very user friendly.
- The cast and crew members discuss the longstanding legacy of Indiana Jones, from conceptualization through audience reception. Above all else it's great to see Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and everyone else in between revel in the nostalgia of sculpting an important pop culture icon and reminisce with wide smiles on their faces.
- This is the oldest and still the best behind-the-scenes featurette for any of the Indy movies. Covering everything from stunt work and practical effects to on set cast interviews, this low quality video dairy is the most honest and informative look at the franchise yet to be made.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] These featurettes utilize set footage cut in with newer interviews of cast and crew. Since Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had yet to be released the filmmakers remain ambiguous about it's development.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Watch legendary stuntman and Harrison Ford's double Vic Armstrong discuss how he and his team had to create special rigs for the films, and teach the actors how to ride horses and perform basic stunt work.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Sound engineer Ben Burtt discusses the many effects that had to be added to augment scenes in the franchise. Particularly interesting is why the sound of a 30-30 Winchester rife was used for Indy's handgun. Also fun to hear is how and why the infamous Wilhelm scream was incorporated.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Academy Award winning composer John Williams talks about how he and longtime collaborator Steven Spielberg come together to make the now famous theme song and score for the films.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Watch how a little bit of gelatin and a lot of time made the scene where Nazi Major Arnold Toht's face literatlly melts off after opening the Ark.
- [Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Animal handlers from all over the world fought to be a part of these films, from the thousands of snakes in Raiders to the bugs and rats in Temple of Doom and Last Crusade. Sound designers also speak about how they created animal noises since most of the animals (from horses to rats) stayed quiet during filming.
[Included in the 2003 DVD release of the films] Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw & Alison Doody sit on a panel at the AFI to discuss the differences between Indy's leading ladies and why each was important to the different stories being told.
Iconic Props, The Effects of Indy & Adventures in Post Production Featurettes - [From the DVD & Blu-ray release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull]
Every unforgettable exploit of world-renowned, globetrotting hero Indiana Jones finally comes home with pristine picture and sound when INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures debuts on Blu-ray September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution.
The cinematic classic that started it all—Raiders of the Lost Ark—has been meticulously restored under the supervision of director Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt. Additionally, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have both been remastered alongside 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull making this landmark release the first time all four films in the epic and award-winning franchise have been available together in sparkling high definition.
In addition to all of Indy’s thrilling adventures, the set includes seven hours of fascinating documentaries, featurettes and interviews with cast members and filmmakers. This comprehensive collection of behind-the-scenes bonus features is augmented by a brand new two-part documentary entitled “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark – From Jungle to Desert and From Adventure to Legend.” Featuring nearly an hour of rarely seen footage from the set of the film and archival interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, these captivating pieces transports fans back to where the legend began.