Indiana Jones DVD Collection (overall grade: A-)
Rated PG and PG-13; Directed by Steven Speilberg; Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Sean Connery, Kate Capshaw, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliot, John Rhys-Davies, River Phoenix
Next week Indiana Jones returns to the screen. Can I just say that my girlish heart is all atwitter at the thought? Well, at the thought of the upcoming movie, and as a huge fan of the Indiana Jones adventures, I splurged on the “Indiana Jones DVD Collection.”
There are some movies I wish I could “un-see” just so I can see them, once again, for that first time. The 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark (A+) is one of those films. Director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas manage to create some magnificent action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. Nasty Nazis are after the lost Ark of the Covenant and only Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) can stop them from getting it. One fast-paced scene comes after another, leading up to a slam-bang, head-melting conclusion. Jeez, what a great movie.
Unfortunately, the first sequel to Raiders did not live up to the original. 1984’s The Temple of Doom (C+) offered some great action scenes and a marvelous opening sequence. What it also offered was an irritating heroine (Kate Capshaw), some overdone scenes of blood-drinking zombiehood, and no nasty Nazis at all. Due to some of the disturbing violence, this film helped produce a new film rating: the PG-13. It all seems tame now. I don’t think the movie is that disturbing due to the violence, but it just conveys a miserable tone. And face it, the “romance” between Indy and Kate Capshaw’s character makes no sense. There is no spark and no chemistry between the two.
For the third film we get Nazis again! We also get to learn a little more about Indy, and even meet his father, Dr. Henry Jones, played by the wonderful Sean Connery. A sense of fun returns in 1989’s The Last Crusade (A-), plus more depth – it works to see father and son battling with each other. The best set pieces include a scene with a tank, a series of puzzles to find the Holy Grail, and a marvelous chance to see the young Indy (River Phoenix) in action.
The joys of special DVD collections are the bonus features. This collection has an entire DVD full of documentaries about various aspects of the movies including lots of interview time with Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, and others. What we don’t get is any audio commentary, and I live for audio commentary. I’ll rate the bonus feature disc an A, but commentaries would have put it at an A+.
I hope that the upcoming film has nasty Nazis and can also keep my girlish heart atwittering. But if not, I do have my DVD collection, for there is nothing like watching Indiana Jones ride to the rescue of whatever needs rescuing.