That makes two. You know there are no more excuses not to get involved with a format when both Star Wars and Indiana Jones have found their way onto home video in some capacity, and Indy will sit nicely on your shelf, even if it’s a bit disappointing that we can’t purge the ghastly Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull from this feature-packed collection.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark has gotten the most behind-the-scenes love, with individual frame and colour repair that gives a sharper picture than we’ve seen previously. Such a rich transfer – and arguably this is the strongest incentive for picking up this set, alongside some never-before-seen archive footage of the creative process behind the film (though obviously this doesn’t look nearly as nice). The film is still a quality contemporary homage to classic adventure pictures. Harrison Ford is a ridiculously watchable, a blatantly perfect action hero; every action beat and quip is iconic. Outrageously entertaining, a timeless movie aided by these technically refined visuals.
Less well-regarded by some fans – and Spielberg – is Temple Of Doom, which is slower-paced and a little darker in places, but often counted out as a factor is Jonathan Ke Quan’s kid sidekick Short Round, who puts in such a strong performance that he reaches the same level as Ford, as well as helping to distract from Kate Capshaw’s boring love interest, who falls short of Karen Allen’s feisty Marion. Yet some of the series’ finest set pieces are here, from the opening restaurant scrap to the monkey brains to the mine cart chase, it’s an underrated prequel that maybe deserves a second look, if and when you pick up this set.
Then, with The Last Crusade, you have a spiritual successor to Raiders, with the brilliant comedic addition of Sean Connery as Henry Jones, Sr, where Spielberg allows events to get so extraordinary silly in Indy’s encounters with the Nazis that it’s difficult not to love. It’s a terrific closer to a trilogy that remains consistently wonderful. Given how many of our favourite movie series are spoiled by a weaker third installment (Spider-Man, X-Men, Alien, many others),
Which leads us to 2008’s Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Just what happened there? It’s an unbearably difficult film to sit through, so fraught with annoying moments and performances as it is. We’re going to go ahead and lay most of the blame on Shia LaBoeuf and his shitty Scrappy Doo archetype Mutt Williams, as he strolls in to ruin the first Eighties franchise of his career (he’d later eliminate the credibility of Wall Street). But everything irritates: the terrible McGuffin, the moronic ending, Cate Blanchett’s accent and the way many fine thespians wasted on a terrible script (especially John Hurt). Just never watch it again for a happier life. Unforgivable.
Yet by this point, most real Indy fans have reached the point where they’ve gone back to counting the series as a trilogy. This is still a fine set, even with a lack of commentaries, which would’ve made a nice addition, and the transfer of Raiders is exactly what Blu-ray was made for. Like the Star Wars set, a necessity for completists and a real pre-Xmas treat, with the added caveat that we’d still rather buy a version without Kingdom in it.