The Adventures of Indiana Jones: (Raiders of the Lost Ark / The Temple of Doom / The Last Crusade/Bonus Material)
DVD | Box Set
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Entertainment At Its Best
This long-awaited DVD set of the Indiana Jones trilogy is a classy set built for the fan. However, the DVD-extras junky will be disappointed because there's not a bevy of extras: no storyboards, galleries, commentaries, or long-rumored deleted scenes. The three films are the real star here, restored frame by frame and--blessedly--unchanged from their initial release (the first movie has been retitled on the packaging only). Anyone who has grown up with TV airings will be amazed by what they see, as everything seems to glow. The three hours on the bonus disc are quite entertaining, and far warmer then your standard PR piece. The newly produced 127-minute documentary is put together chronologically through each movie, so it works as a good substitute for the lack of a commentary track. Lots of behind-the-scenes footage is laced with new interviews of every major living actor and crew member including stuntmen and even a bit player (Alfred Molina, talking about his first role in Raiders). They tell us many things we have heard, and many we haven't (like how the film company became a rat breeder for Last Crusade). And Spielberg enjoys showing us how an editor can save a scene or--ironically--how much creative fun went into special effects before the computer took over. Rounding out the extras are featurettes on the music, sound, and--too briefly--special effects, and stunts. --Doug Thomas
- Contains all three films in their original format, restored and digitally remastered
- A new, feature-length documentary of the making of the trilogy
- From the Lucasfilm Archives:
- The Stunts of Indiana Jones
- The Sound of Indiana Jones
- The Music of Indiana Jones
- The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones
- Original trailers
- Weblink to exclusive content including dozens of behind-the-scenes photos, an animatic sequence from Raiders and a PC game preview
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Raiders of the Lost Ark - 1981
Adventurer and archaeologist, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) searches for the fabled Lost Ark of the Covenant while being pursued by insidious Nazis and their vile henchmen. Along the way he reunites with his former lover, the feisty Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and confronts charming, treasure-hunting rival, Belloq (Paul Freeman). Indiana also encounters tarantulas, poisonous serpents, a deadly Arab swordsman, and a host of other perils and pitfalls, all of which he overcomes with a sly grin. But can even this daring heroic figure survive the lure and the power of the legendary Lost Ark?
After the huge success, both commercial and critical, of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas set out to tell a second fantastic Indiana Jones story. However, this time they decided to use darker thematic material and in so doing caused some controversy. When Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984, it became immediately apparent that the film was darker and, in all likelihood, too violent and intense for children. The film utilized elements of pulp adventure stories, as had Raiders of the Lost Ark, but there was a greater emphasis on violence and horror. Many critics accused the film of being too extreme and even disturbing, and said that it lacked the spirit of fun that made the first film so accessible. Despite the negative reviews, no one could deny the film's commercial appeal or its originality.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - 1984
After narrowly escaping from Asian gangsters, Indiana Jones, his young sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), and ditzy American singer Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott (Kate Capshaw) find themselves stranded in a small village in India. They soon take notice that there are no children in the village and they are told that the children were taken by a cult that worships the Goddess of Death, Kali. Indiana Jones finds connections between the story of the missing children and old legends of sacred stones that hold great power. He, Short Round, and Willie Scott go to Pankot Palace, where they discover that the cult has taken over the palace using a supernatural method of brainwashing, voodoo practices, ritualistic human sacrifice, and worse... they've enslaved the villagers' children. Can Indiana Jones find the sacred stones, stop the cult, and return the stolen children to their parents?
In 1989, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas released their third Indiana Jones film. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a more light-hearted adventure with the welcome addition of Sean Connery as Indiana's father, Prof. Henry Jones. The film relied heavily on action and comedy, and was at times overly formulaic and reminiscent of the first Indiana Jones film. Despite some flaws in the script, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade became another mega-hit and provided the characters with a wonderful finale (which has since been rendered moot by the decision to make more Indy films) where they actually ride off into the sunset.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 1989
After his father, Prof. Henry Jones (Sean Connery), goes missing during his search for the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones teams up with Elsa (Alison Doody), an Austrian researcher to find him. When Indiana Jones rescues Prof. Jones from the Nazis, he discovers that Elsa is a traitor and that the Nazis are close to uncovering the resting place of the Holy Grail, which has the power to give whoever drinks from it immortality. Can Indiana Jones and his father beat the Nazis in this epic race between good and evil?
These three films form one of the most successful trilogies of all time, and it's no wonder that Indiana Jones is still in the public eye after all of these years. The three films feature an extraordinary cast including Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Julian Glover, and River Phoenix.
Besides the wonderful cast, one of the main reasons for the longevity of the Indiana Jones series are the action set pieces, which include some of the most memorable stunts ever captured on film. Who can forget the first time that they saw Indy skillfully swing across a chasm using his trusty bullwhip, or outrunning a giant boulder, or survive being in a room full of lethally venomous asps, or being chased by cult members in a mine cart, or cutting a bridge in half while he's still on it, or chasing an armored tank while on horseback? As you can see there's no limit to his adventures.
Since his debut, Indiana Jones has been emulated and imitated, but never duplicated. The quality of the writing, the direction, the acting, the production design, and the stunt work are unmatched by any other films within the genre. The series is also given an emotional resonance with the help of John William's brilliant theme music and scores. Though the series, much like Indiana Jones himself, has seen its share of ups and downs, it will undoubtedly go down in cinematic history as the greatest adventure films ever made.
The Adventures of Indiana Jones- The Complete DVD Movie Collection contains Indy's first three classic films, which have been gloriously restored and remastered for maximum video and audio quality. Also included in this excellent 4-disc set are the following bonus materials: the comprehensive three-part documentary Making the Trilogy, The Stunts of Indiana Jones featurette, The Sound of Indiana Jones featurette, The Music of Indiana Jones featurette, The Light and magic of Indiana Jones featurette, theatrical trailers for all three films, and access to exclusive online features.
I think it's safe to say that the man in the hat will be around for many more years to come.
The Tarzan Collection
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
King Solomon's Mines
Lawrence of Arabia
There's no point in rehashing the plot here, given that these are three of the most popular movies ever made, I rather doubt there's anything I could add to the discussion. Instead, I'm going to limit myself to the technical aspects of the release, and the extras. First off is the picture is spectacular; I'm sure compared to the original releases it is excellent, but when compared to the fullscreen television versions we're used to seeing it is breathtaking. The movie literally looks like it was shot yesterday, as the colors leap off the screen. The resolution is superb on my regular DVD player, what it would look like on a progressive scan player, I can only imagine.
The sound is equally outstanding; as anyone who has seen these movies knows, sound effects and score are essential to the success of these films. Both are superbly rendered in 5.1 surround, such that every punch, gunshot and whip crack has never sounded better. Likewise, John Williams' award winning scores all sound fantastic.
Then there are the extras. First off, I have seen statements at various locations on the internet that deleted scenes are part of the set. This is simply not true, each movie is presented exactly as it was released in the theaters, and the fourth, bonus disc does not contain any deleted scenes. This is somewhat disappointing, as I have to assume there are ample scenes which didn't make the films. While I wouldn't advocate modifying the originals, deleted scenes are always fun to watch as a separate feature.
What the bonus disc does contain are documentaries detailing the conceptualization, casting and filming of each of the three episodes. In addition, there are several short features covering sound, special effects, etc. There are aspects of these documentaries that I really enjoyed, particularly the evolution of each episode from concept to script; Spielburg's and Lucas' insight into the creative process was well presented and interesting. However, these features would have been better had they discussed some of what was abandoned as the story evolved; some of the most insightful commentary from directors often comes from what is left behind, as it casts light on what makes it onto film. Finally, the original theatrical trailers are included; more than anything, they are amusing, as they seem downright primitive when compared to the extravaganzas we see at the theaters today.
To sum up: fans of these movies are going to buy them regardless of what I say, but you can rest assured that you are getting your money's worth. While I think the extras could have offered a bit more, what made it on to the discs is interesting in its own right. Moreover, the presentation of the films, which is what really matters, is second to none. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the picture and sound on these movies is as good as any I have ever encountered.