Like Indy's searches for the Lost Ark or the Holy Grail, for years fans have sought out his cinematic adventures in high-definition and at last their wait ends this Tuesday: INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES finally collects all four of Indy's cinematic adventures in one Blu-ray box set and the classics make a stunning HD debut with a superb new look at RAIDERS fans will covet. Paramount's new four-film, five-disc box set celebrating Steven Spielberg's action/adventure blockbusters doesn't disappoint in its meticulously detailed feature presentations in HD, and a two-hour documentation of making RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is a treasure trove of rarely-if-ever seen location footage, deleted scenes and outtakes. INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES Blu-ray set is must-own gold... trust us!
Disc 1—RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
FilmEdge has long ago reviewed the DVD presentation of RAIDERS and last year's special screening of the digitally restored version used for the film's Blu-ray edition, so we'll skip repeating our laudatory praises of Spielberg's 1981 game-changing classic adventure a third time. Suffice it to say that this long-awaited HD presentation of RAIDERS has been well worth the wait. The film's digital restoration has erased some of the productions minor rough edges in visual effects, skillfully balanced the lighting challenges of the opening jungle sequence, and restored the epic splendor of Doug Slocombe's masterful shots. Also Blu-ray has finally given RAIDERS a punch-to-the-jaw 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that will have you dodging boulders, blow darts and hissing cobras in your own surround sound Well of Souls. Lawrence Kasdan's sharp dialogue, Ben Burtt's sound design and John Williams' iconic score are so well balanced that all aspects support each other clearly and dramatically too.
As Indy says: it's not the years, it's the mileage. This Blu-ray presentation of RAIDERS has eliminated any traces of age on Spielberg's first and still best Jones adventure. This superlative HD edition will likely show Indy's younger generation of fans RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK like they will never have seen before, quite literally. For those of us alongside Indy from the start in 1981, this restored edition will evoke the thrills and wow-factor of seeing RAIDERS for the first time.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:
- Teaser Trailer (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Re-Issue Trailer (HD)
Disc 2—INDIANA JONES and the TEMPLE OF DOOM
As before, read FilmEdge's review of TEMPLE OF DOOM in our DVD set coverage while we focus on the new HD transfer of the film for this Blu-ray set which once again does not disappoint. Suffice it to say that TEMPLE, despite some sophomoric script moments, stands as a triumph of Indy-style action with a blockbuster list of action set pieces which lead up to a breathlessly exciting third act. The Thuggee cult take Indy to a dark place, darker than Spielberg and Lucas ever intended, but his return to the heroic light is is blast. His fight to save Willie from immolation, battle against the Thuggee's big thug, the dazzling mine car chase and the rope bridge thriller finale are an amazing 1-2-3-4-punch. TEMPLE is one wild ride made all the more exciting in Blu-ray's crystal clarity of sight and sound.
Even though TEMPLE didn't get the full restoration treatment that RAIDERS enjoys here, Spielberg's INDY prequel tale has never looked this good before. The 1080p widescreen image simply bursts with detail that couldn't be viewed in full effect even on the previous high-quality DVD edition, and this transfer exploits all the visual strengths Blu-ray can offer. TEMPLE is a highly colorful film and this disc plays its full palette, burning the fiery reds of the Thuggee cult's lava-lit underworld to evoke Spielberg's "fever dream" feel of the sprawling finale. Such rich, vibrant reds proved troublesome to display on DVD and old school TV screens which would overload on the colors, but Blu-ray displays these red-hot tones with ease and intensity. Likewise the sharp HD image shows off the immense skill used by ILM and stop-motion animator Tom St. Amand to blend their miniature work with the live action shots of Indy, Willie and Short Round in the mine car chase. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is true and dynamic in all the right spots, though we found the music score pushed slightly louder over the dialogue compared to RAIDERS. Even so, action pieces like the mine car race will whip your surround system into shape to fulfill the audio mastering of this film.
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:
- Teaser Trailer (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Disc 3—INDIANA JONES and the LAST CRUSADE
FilmEdge reviews LAST CRUSADE as a film in our DVD review, so let's explore the Holy Grail qualities of the film as it now appears on Blu-ray. What *was* the last INDY film in the series (back in 1989 it was just a trilogy), LAST CRUSADE remains a much more popular and fan favorite over the darker TEMPLE OF DOOM, but its light-hearted approach also lessens the danger for our fedora-wearing hero. This works though since LAST CRUSADE is much more a character piece, exploring the Connery/Ford father-son relationship, than it is a death-defying adventure gauntlet. When Indy, Henry Sr., Sallah and Brody ride off into the sunset at its finale, the series was sent off on a high note that audiences embraced with gusto and a soft spot in their hearts. That feeling lasted only until 2008, for better or worse, but more on that later. There is no denying the screen appeal of watching Sean Connery, cinema's original James Bond, playing gruff dad to Ford's deepened "Junior" in this sequel, and the gorgeous Allison Doody makes a formidable foil who is as easy on the eyes as she is hard on the Jones boys.
This somewhat less-threatening adventure doesn't short change its impact on Blu-ray disc at all: its origins as the cleanest, most crisp INDY entry of the pre-digital era allow it to shine brightly in HD with superb image clarity throughout. Some blue screen effect elements — specifically in the dirigible scenes — still betray some harsh matte edges (a typical challenge with bright backgrounds), but the 1080p transfer is sensational. LAST CRUSADE doesn't have the rich color palette TEMPLE employed, but the transitions from interiors to exteriors around the globe sustain a subtle glory of their own. The dank dangers of the Venice catacombs hold as much visual detail as does the sunlit desert battle between Indy and the Nazi tank. Likewise LAST CRUSADE's soundtrack is much less bombastic than TEMPLE's, but the surround channels and full main channels keep dialogue, music and sound effects clearly delineated in moments of quiet discovery and raucous action.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:
- Teaser Trailer (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Disc 4—INDIANA JONES and the KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
Those who read FilmEdge's 2008 review of CRYSTAL SKULL know it's our least favorite film of the franchise thanks to its credibility-bending atomic explosion and somewhat wonky alien intelligence gimmick. The 1950s Cold War era may have been a perfect fit for Ford's age in this film, but the Russian villains led by Cate Blanchett were no Nazis in either their menace or their mania. It was nice to see Ford reunited with Karen Allen as Marion again, but their chemistry (thanks largely to the script) never quite gelled liked it did in RAIDERS as their tension arose over yet another character Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) who proved one too many wheels on this runaway truck ride.
Born in the digital era, Spielberg's fourth and weakest INDY adventure looks crystal clear on Blu-ray (as it did in its previous solo release) though the look of the film is entirely different from the previous three accordingly. The 1080p HD images are a little too pretty compared to the rest of the INDY saga where a certain analog film roughness gave the previous films a visual edge that enhanced the action. Still, kinetic scenes like the jungle truck chase hold superb clarity of detail amid the rapidly passing pools of light and shadow, though I'll still take the originality of RAIDERS' desert truck chase any day. CRYSTAL SKULL's new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack plays right at home on your system, filling the channel field with well-balanced mixes of effects, dialogue and music score as expected given its next-generation origins. FilmEdge isn't thrilled with the note upon which CRYSTAL SKULL now ends the INDY film series, but it's certainly a handsome Blu-ray presentation to complete the four-film box set.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:
- Theatrical Trailer #2 (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer #3 (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer #4(HD)
Disc 5—Bonus Features
This fifth Blu-ray disc contains the treasure find of the box set in a new two-part look behind the scenes during production of RAIDERS along with six more hours of previous bonus features culled from the standard-def Trilogy DVD set and the CRYSTAL SKULL solo Blu-ray release.
- NEW – On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Constructed from rarely (or never) seen archival footage, this two-part behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of RAIDERS begins with From Jungle to Desert, taking fans on location scouting trips to Hawaii acting as Peruvian jungles into production at the Tanis desert dig site. Nearly a half-hour of on-set footage gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective of Spielberg shooting Indy's first adventure that proves fascinating and insightful into his creative process. Interviews in and out of production with Ford, Allen, cast and crew members fill in the production story blanks, while deleted scenes, alternate angles and some fun outtakes add enjoyable value. Even the most devoted RAIDERS fans will likely have never seen most of this rare archive film (shot originally in standard definition but presented in 1080p format) and will gain new appreciation for the making of the first and best Indiana Jones classic thrill ride.
- From Adventure to Legend follows up on-set as Spielberg shoots the complex Well of Souls scene co-starring 7,000 snakes in studio, then returns to the desert for the Flying Wing sequence, the Truck Chase and the effects-filled finale as the Nazis pay the price for opening the Ark. Spielberg devotees will note some significant discussion about how well-prepared the director was for this rapid feature shoot, a response to his over-schedule, budget-blowing work on the war-comedy 1941 two years before. RAIDERS ends in triumph on location, and a quick recap of clips, deleted scenes and humorous outtakes from the following three sequel films ends this excellent, comprehensive documentary that is the undeniable star of Disc Five.
- Making the Films
- The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 documentary previously unavailable on DVD)
- The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
- The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- The Making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- The Making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD)
- Behind the Scenes
- The Stunts of Indiana Jones
- The Sound of Indiana Jones
- The Music of Indiana Jones
- The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones
Raiders: The Melting Face!
- Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies (with optional pop-ups)
- Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations (with optional pop-ups)
- Indy's Women: The American Film Institute Tribute
- Indy's Friends and Enemies
- Iconic Props (Crystal Skull) (HD)
- The Effects of Indy (Crystal Skull) (HD)
- Adventures in Post Production (Crystal Skull) (HD).
It's been a very long wait for Indy fans to get his first three film adventures home on HD, but Paramount and Steven Spielberg have both made their patience pay off handsomely. Some fans will lament the lack of commentary tracks for the INDY films, but they should know that Spielberg dislikes this particular breed of bonus feature and just learn to live without them. We believe they've more than made up for this omission with the spectacular rarity of the RAIDERS documentary included on Disc Five. Meanwhile all four films look uniformly superb in Blu-ray HD quality and this box set unifies them in quality, erasing the years between their productions, for the first time ever. What was briefly Paramount's is now yours, so possess it on Tuesday and don't let Belloq or anyone take it away. FilmEdge gives INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES Blu-ray box set five stars for finally bringing three action adventure classics home in high style.
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