Most helpful critical review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Spielberg repeats himself, and the script is a complete compromise...but the DVD looks fantastic!
on September 30, 2014
Following the rigid but right hellspawn that was (my favorite entry in the series) "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", the third installment in the Jones trilogy remains watchable but by no means anything else but a nearly complete compromise. If you are one who merely watches movies and cares nothing about how they are made (if you are a person who merely eats what's inside of the sandwich without inspecting it first), then you will give this title a strong notice, and probably find it entertaining; however, if you are aware of any part of the complicated history concerning this script (who we kidding folks, it was a lot of scripts!) then you may want to hesitate before you click that five star button. As a fan of Dr. Jones, I find the third one interesting, certainly amusing, but it's not really an Indiana Jones movie, and that bothers me. The original attempts (by writers Chris Colombus, and Diane Thomas, respectively) actually had the film going in the right direction, but then Lucas and Spielberg (in their watered down refusal to return to the bowels of fun but nasty-minded terror on display in the first two movies) decided to hire "Funny Farm" scribe Jeffrey Boam to "family-proof" the story and this, in turn, destroyed what was (for me) the fun aspects of an Indiana Jones screen adventure (Boam, though a quality screenwriter, did not seem to understand the danger/mercenary nature of the Jones character at all). What viewers are left with, then, is retread and repeat; the AMAZON editorial claims that this film is closer to the James Bond-oriented tribute that the series was initially intended to be, but even though Connery himself is on board here, it all feels too light, too homage-heavy, and too labored to be really effective. While "...Temple of Doom" simply offered slam-bang fantasy, "...Last Crusade" toys with the public's mental stability by committing the impardonable sin of actually giving the dumb beast what it wants, and therefore the movie is neither intellectually honest nor seamless but instead a genuine effort to remain more "realistic." I don't know about you, but I don't watch Indiana Jones for realism, but rather for fantasy. I shouldn't have to re-open my class to explain that fantasy does not have to include dragons and demons in order to be genuine fantasy in terms of literary (or cinematic) concept, but oh well. The movie was made and that's that. If you like it, you must like it for a reason, but I think there's too much unnecessary humor, too little mayhem and carnage (I don't mean gore), and far too few opportunities to pay tribute to the overly fantastic pulp magazines and movie serials which were the true inspirations for this character and his films. Harrison Ford does his usual immaculate job as the character, but the movie is cowardly, weak in the plot department, and too afraid that it will offend its audience. If Spielberg wants to make a weepy movie about a father-and-son relationship, he should do it elsewhere, and not tamper with the legacy of a great adventure/horror/action movie character (and again, even though "...Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" took its usual lashings from the all-knowing critics (yeah right), it remains more true, more focused, and more fun than anything on display in this one.
As for the DVD, however, it looks terrific, and it sounds amazing. I have not yet looked into the BluRay transfers, but they are apparently pristine as well. Unfortunately, however, if you are purchasing these newer DVD releases, just be aware that the bonus content is pretty lacking compared to the older box set, which housed three or four really useful (for historians) documentaries on the making of the original Indiana Jones films. All that's included here is a neat (but far too brief) summary of both Lucas's and Spielberg's emotions concerning the making and release of this title. They are, as always, fun to hear from, but they offer little insight in comparison with the older DVD-issues' making of features. Anyway, though, an easy A for picture and sound transfer. But I have to grant the movie a C+ if anything...it's simply too much of a compromise to warrant a strong recommendation.