Everybody’s favorite whip-toting, wise-cracking archaeologist is back and better than ever in a massive five-disc Blu-ray collection in Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures. Sometimes things just fall into place, and George Lucas’ follow-up spectacle to Star Wars, along with Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, is a perfect example of what happens when everything just clicks. While it could’ve had more detailed special features on the other films like the first one does, fans won’t give it much thought after picking up this collection just for the sake of owning some of the greatest films of all time.
I’ve always been a huge Indiana Jones fan, ever since the early 80’s when I was a kid watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on cable. Everything from the fedora, the whip and the iconic music made me a fan for life. Now here we are years later with one of the greatest Blu-ray collections since last year’s Star Wars set. Now I’m pretty sure that most people have seen one if not all of these films at one time or another, but I’ll give a brief rundown of them just in case.
The film series kicked off with 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which saw the debut of the whip-cracking, adventurous archaeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr., who set out to find the legendary Ark of the Covenant while keeping it away from Nazis. Then 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a gorier prequel adventure, came along and became an instant classic for many as Jones searches for some ancient stones that can save or destroy life. Naturally, he has to fight against an evil cultist priest who is using the stones to enslave kids and other people into his cult, all while his young Asian sidekick named Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and a money-loving nightclub singer named Willie (Kate Capshaw) get dragged in for the ride.
1989 brought us Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which gave some background on our famed hero as we see how he came to acquire his famous hat and whip as a teenager, while also introducing us to his estranged father (played to perfection by Sean Connery). This thrilling tale has Jones and his dad trying to stop the Nazis from finding the Holy Grail that grants eternal life to any who drink from it. And while it took 19 years for it to happen, the world was re-introduced to the franchise in 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which brought in a son Jones never knew he had, along with a familiar face or two from the previous films. While the movie received mixed reviews and helped create the “Nuking the Fridge” meme, there’s no denying it’s still a fun entry in the series that has our hero seeking out a powerful crystal skull relic while also trying to keep it away from some Russians that have other plans for misusing that power.
I’m so glad to be able to view these classics on Blu-ray after not seeing them for quite some time. Watching them in high-definition is literally like experiencing them again for the first time. The digital remastering and restoration is readily apparent here, especially on Raiders of the Lost Ark, which looks like it was just made recently instead of 31 years ago. And the 5.1 DTS-HD audio makes sure that every powerful punch, Ford’s one liners and whip crack come in loud and clear over John Williams’ legendary music scores.
There’s plenty of special features here too, though it seems like Raiders of the Lost Ark gets some of the best ones out of the bunch, including a previously unreleased documentary along with some on-the-set footage that shows off a few scenes as they were being filmed. It would have been nice if all of the films received detailed extras such as those, but the usual featurettes, behind-the-scenes features and deleted scenes should be more than enough to keep those who love extras happy. Still, with a franchise like this you can’t have too many special features.
While feature buffs may frown on Raiders of the Ark getting the lion’s share of the attention here, fans will pick up Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures just for the sake of having all four films together in crystal clear high-definition picture and sound. Spanning five-discs of action and adventure, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s eternal series has never looked or sounded better, and while fans may argue over which is the best film there’s no dying the thrill of seeing Harrison Ford don the fedora again. If you love movies or have been holding out on adding these classics to your collection, then head out and seek yourself a copy of this set. You’ll be so glad you went along for the ride with some of the greatest films ever made.
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