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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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.