Indiana Jones (The Complete Collection)
The three Indiana Jones films of this set bring us back to those days without us have to wait week after week for the conclusion
In those days of my youth going to the movies was an event. You got a lot for the price of admission. There was a featured film, one with the best stars of the day, a second feature with somewhat less credentials, a news reel (this was way before CNN), some cartoons and an installment of the action packed serial. A serial was a film cut into fifteen minute or so segments, one segment shown each week.
While this format has largely been taken over by television it was a staple of film going for a long time. Each week you could watch the hapless hero find himself in an impossible amount of danger only to get out alive at the start of the next week. The three Indiana Jones films of this set bring us back to those days without us have to wait week after week for the conclusion.
While each Indiana Jones film is more than worthy of independent consideration what they have in common is the sense of excitement, romance and thrills. The movies follow the exploits of Doctor Henry " Indiana " Jones (Harrison Ford), who while in the confines of his teaching position is a meek and mild man, adored by the throngs of young female students. When the noble Doctor Jones is in the field as an archeologist he seeks out impossible to find artifacts of great importance. Whether it is the lost ark of the Mosaic covenant or the Holy Grail, he endures the forces of evil to obtain the item. In an emulation of the original serials most of the action is set in the thirties, the era of the growing threat of the Nazis. This nicely sets up the age old conflict of pure good and evil. Indiana Jones is the old fashion hero; there is no doubt that he will do the right thing. None of the conflict that confounds many modern protagonists is anywhere to be seen here, Indiana Jones is a good man, these films where based on a simpler time when good and bad where easy to tell apart.
These three Indiana Jones films are so well loved, so part of the world film consciousness they where always on the ‘must have’ lists of films that demand to be on DVD. For too long the only way for most to see these films was cut to pieces on basic cable stations or on video tape. Now, we have a chance to cherish these new classics in digital format. Indiana Jones repeatedly gets into jams only to use his wits and a lot of luck to get out. We sit there and cheer has he takes his faded leather jacket, his famous hat and whip through everything the bad guys can dish out only to survive, get the girl and the artifact. These films are as close as possible to pure entertainment.
Between the Indiana Jones films and the original Star Wars trilogy Harrison Ford has become one of the most popular actors, as well as one of the biggest box office draws, ever in American cinema. What makes him so successful in roles like this is Ford is perfect as the everyday hero. There are no super powers, no extraordinary abilities just an intelligent man that is drive to do the right thing. The men in the audience want to be him and the women, well they just plain want him. He has an almost boyish charm about him that contrasts to the machination of the villains.
My wife and daughter never miss an opportunity to watch his films and I can’t say I want to miss them either. Indy is always beaten, cut to pieces and bruised during these films but there is a determination that grabs the audience giving us the satisfaction of cheering on this underdog to victory. Of course every hero needs a leading lady and Indy has three incredible selections. In the first Indiana Jones there is Karen Allen whose presentation of Marion is one of strength, determination and drive that is more than a match for Indy. She can drink a Mongol warrior under the table and still look great. In the second Indiana Jones there is Kate Capshaw, as Willie, the displaced singer along for the ride. She is not as bold as Marion but overcomes her many fears to rise to the occasion. Finally there is Alison Doody as Elsa, although not as good as Indy is used to she also is a strong willed woman who falls for our hero. In all cases the casting of these films is perfection. Finally in the last Indiana Jones we see Indiana Jones's father played to a tee by Sean Connery. As the senior Doctor Jones he commands the screen in his usual fashion. The interaction between Ford and Connery is fantastic and provides many of the best scenes of this trilogy.
All three Indiana Jones films where directed by Steven Spielberg, perhaps one of the best directors ever to set foot on a sound stage. While he has taken on every genre possible here he is at his finest. In these films he shows us the magic of film that must have captured his imagination as a young boy staring up at that large screen. Each Indiana Jones film takes us on a roller coaster ride of excitement. There are no hidden meanings to ponder here just a couple of hours where the audience can forget the modern world and be come kids again. His use of special effects in these movies is ground breaking. Rather that relying on these effects to drive the films they simply provide the fantastic environment for the acting. He allows us to care about the characters. Spielberg is a director that knows how to frame a scene. To cut these films to pan and scan ratio is a crime. You need to take in everything, to become emerged in the action.
For films as beloved as these Paramount had to rise to the challenge to do it up right. They did it. This four disc set gives us a disc for each Indiana Jones film and an extra packed fourth disc. The Indiana Jones films are presented in an anamorphic video and Dolby 5.1 audio that is reference quality. Each scene no matter how light or dark exhibits a clarity that is amazing and a complete lack of any defects that I could see. The audio fills the room with a powerful use of all speakers.
These DVDs will replace any discs you currently use to show off your system. If you have neighbors that are with out a home theater they will run out to get one just to have this collection. The extras disc is a must have all on its own. Each film receives making of featurettes. There are expository featurettes on the elaborate stunt work, the creative use of miniature models and CGI graphics. New interviews and music features round out this vital addition to your collection. Like this Ark itself this is a treasure to find and keep.Review by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com
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