George Lucas and Steven Spielberg set out to create a series of Saturday matinee movies in the early 1980's; these movies would be based on the old 1950's formula of action and adventure with spectacular cliffhangers. Enter Indiana Jones, a college lecturer and archaeologist who in search of artefacts from the ancient past finds himself having unbelievable adventures along the way. The premise works and after three films (with a forth rumoured to be in pre-production) the Adventures of Indiana Jones have become cinema classics.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
In Raiders of the lost ark, we meet with Jones in 1936 as he is about to take another ancient relic from deep inside the jungle. As he takes the priceless object - which will end up in a museum - he replaces it with a bag of sand to stop any hidden booby traps from going off. That ploy doesn't work and Jones and his guide have to make a run for it through the cave as arrows and rocks fall all around them. What follows is probably one of the most famous scenes in cinema history where Indy must outrun a giant boulder chasing after him. Of Course after all the trouble, Jones has the relic stolen from him by Belloq (Paul Freeman). After making good his escape Indy is tasked by the American Government to find and bring back the Ark of the Covenant. The Nazi's are busy in Cairo searching for the Ark, but thanks to Indy's ex-flame Marion Ravenwood he has a head start. What follows is an epic action adventure with so many set pieces, a real classic.
Temple Of Doom
In this adventure we jump back a year to 1935 (who said Lucas started prequels with Star Wars only) and we meet up with Jones as he tries to conclude a deal for a diamond. However he is double crossed and must fight his way out of a nightclub along with the singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). They make their escape and end up crash landing in India where they stumble across the evil Thuggee cult. This evil has imprisoned the children of the surrounding villages to work in a mine, while the leader of the occult group performs human sacrifices. Indy with the help of Willie and his pint sized companion Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) must defeat the evil cult and return the children to their homes.
The Last Crusade
In the third and final instalment we jump forward to 1938 where Indy's father has been captured by the Nazi's who this time are after the Holy Grail. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together Indy eventually rescues his father Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) and they go after the Grail on their own trying to beat the Nazi's to the ultimate weapon. Along the way they are involved in a high speed bike chase, an aerial dog fight and a battle with a tank before they can reach their goal and save mankind.
The trilogy is a dazzling spectacle throughout with only the second film letting the side down a little. Temple of Doom is a fun film if a little dark in nature, and Kate Capshaw is downright irritating screaming and moaning all the way through, but side kick Short Round adds much needed comic relief. The third movie in the trilogy lets us get to know Indy better as he struggles with a difficult relationship with his father who continually belittles him and his achievements. But really it is a story about father and son finding themselves and each other, along with some excellent action set pieces.
Indiana Jones is what cinema is all about, great fun, great stunts and non stop action and this set promises to be the definitive collection on DVD, but how does it look and sound...
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