Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Blu-ray Review
What better way to end the ‘80s than with a third Indiana Jones film, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE? After the debacle that was INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (click the link to read our Blu-ray review) there was a decent passage of time between movies two and three of this incredible franchise. But taking some time off suited Indiana Jones and even served to soften his gruff, scumbag exterior (more on this later).
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is another George Lucas homage to the adventure serials of the theatrical 1930s-40s. Another adventure featuring the fictional archaeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones, this film picks up some time later in Indy’s life, still seeking out treasure and getting in all kinds of trouble. The main story begins when Indiana is approached to continue the quest his estranged father had begun when he disappeared: the search for the Holy Grail – the cup of Christ. Like the best historical adventure films, this one features some grains of truth and once again pits our hero against the Nazis who were so easy to hate in RAIDERS (and real life).
But the real star of this film isn’t Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) or Dr. Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery) – it is their relationship. Their prickly bond is established in the opening, which features an incredible cameo from River Phoenix (who would have made a great Young Indiana Jones film). When we pick up the action years later, Ford is pitch perfect in his presentation of a son who desperately wants to win the approval of his father, even when they aren’t on screen together. Putting Connery and Ford on screen together though, is simply dynamite. You can feel the tension, and love, crackling between these two men who are so very different but also very much the same.
Take a somewhat better performance from the female lead (Alison Doody) and the triumphant return of Sallah (Jonathan Rhys-Davies), throw in a director (Spielberg) and producer (Lucas) at the prime of their careers, and you’ve got an incredibly fun time at the movies. INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is easily the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long, long time, even though I’ve seen it countless times before. There is just something compelling about a man who takes a beating and just keeps coming back.
There are a few issues though, I’m sad to say. The first is the simple convenience of everything that happens… it all just falls together a bit too quickly and easily. Honestly, we’re having so much fun it is unlikely to notice. But it is still there. But the bigger issue is one of continuity with the other films. Perhaps I only notice it now because of the things that Spielberg and Lucas have done to their other films: Spielberg’s replacement of guns with walkie-talkies in E.T. when re-issued and Lucas’s ongoing obsession with revamping the special effects in the STAR WARS franchise. But this movie does something unthinkable – it completely changes the motives of our main character. Instead of the lovable scumbag from the first two films, this movie assumes (and in fact adds to his story as a child) a certain altruism. On multiple occasions Jones says this piece or that “…belongs in a museum.” As though he is protecting and preserving historical artifacts instead of treasure hunting.
But why, why, why must they change everything to make it more family-friendly? I’m not actually even saying that I don’t like the idea. I think it makes Indiana Jones much more likeable and provides a decent background for this movie as a single work. But when you consider the other movies and the overarching character it feels completely out of place. Regardless – if you’ve never seen this, or just haven’t seen it in a while, you should definitely check it out.
Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is presented brilliantly, with easily the most beautiful and vibrant visuals of the first three films.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is also beautifully presented on the Blu-ray for INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. You won’t miss a single line during the action and can really turn it up on your surround sound and catch a lot of incredible sounds from the theatrical experience.
The Blu-ray of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE features only the two trailers, the Teaser Trailer (01:28), the Theatrical Trailer (02:13). It’s neat that the teaser trailer features a lot of behind-the-scenes shots.