The Last Crusade Review
One of the greatest sequels of all time, Last Crusade afforded Indy the perfect foil - his own father - played fabulously by Sean Connery.
Temple of Doom was undeniably dark, so - unsurprisingly - the next outing flipped that around, going for a breezy buddy-buddy routine that rivals the likes of Midnight Run and Lethal Weapon for witty clashes and electric chemistry. It almost shouldn't have worked. It's crazy to think that, back in '89, they were already making "you belong in a museum" jokes about Ford's Indy, but it had been the best part of a decade since the first movie. Could Ford still pull it off? If only they'd known he'd still be returning to the role over forty years later. Eight years was nothing.
Spielberg was clearly feeling very nostalgic too, as Crusade contains far more throwbacks to Raiders than you may remember, perhaps attempting to remind audiences of all those great moments and touches (even little things like when Sallah hides Brody in a stall that turns out to be a Nazi truck, a mirror of when Sallah helps hide Indy's truck as a stall in Raiders). Of course, there's no greater way to catch up than with the flashback prologue, which sees a young, late, River Phoenix perfectly nail Indy Jr during an exciting opening sequence that not only introduces Connery's frustratingly obdurate Henry Jones Snr but also explains both Indy's aversion to snakes but also his distinctive chin scar.
... Last Crusade changed things up almost entirely thanks to the welcome addition of Sean Connery
Returning to face Nazis, Last Crusade has a tremendous build-up, but really hits its stride once Ford and Connery lock horns. There's some comedy perfection here. The way Indy's dad permanently disapproves of, and is hilariously unimpressed with, just about everything his son does - however spectacular - just puts a different spin on all the early stunts and action. It's just the cherry on top that Henry Jones Snr. is hardly perfect himself, whether it's blowing the tail off his own plane or inadvertently starting a fire, and Connery is sublime in the role, playfully covering over his missteps like some embarrassed kid. He absolutely nails the character, and is the perfect foil for Ford, leading to a succession of tremendous sequences - check out the look in his eyes when he finally gives Indy a moment to talk aboard the airship, or the fabulous exchange when he realises that Indy brought the book with him during the 'rescue'.
Perhaps the change in tone was somewhat jarring, but Last Crusade celebrated everything that made Raiders great. Raiders' quest for the Ark, made personal by the involvement of the estranged love of his life, Marion, is keenly but lovingly reframed here with the quest for the Grail, made personal by the involvement of his estranged father. The story, the score, the subtle throwbacks and the numerous references - and it doesn't just double down on the comedy, it also goes for broke on the stunts. There's a perfect tonal balance too; even if some of the earlier sequences are intentionally played more breezily, the tanks vs horse set piece is excellent and the final act couldn't be more perfect, laced with heart as the warring battle of the Jones' reaches reconciliation in a fitting nod to both their lifelong obsessions. It's just a shame they never brought Connery back, even for a cameo. But, then again, who would want to risk spoiling the perfect chemistry they found here? It's a wonderful entry and it would have been an utterly fitting conclusion to what is basically as perfect a trilogy as you could possibly hope for.
The Last Crusade 4K Video
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade comes to UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Paramount as part of their lavish Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection. This Ultra HD Blu-ray release boasts a frequently stunning native 4K image with Dolby Vision too.
The disc presents a 3840x2160/24p image in the film's original aspect ratio of widescreen 2.39:1, and uses a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range (HDR), Dolby Vision, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.
We reviewed the UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with a Panasonic DP-UB820EB-K Dolby Vision HDR10+ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
... an absolutely gorgeous native 4K image with Dolby Vision too
Lavishly remastered, and lovingly restored with extensive work done to - almost imperceptibly - clean up and enhance some of the effects shots (before you get worried, we're mainly talking about removing some of the lines caused by the composite effects), the Indiana Jones set - much like the Back to the Future 4K Box Set - is an absolute joy to revisit, earning a new lease of life on the format, leaving it easily the best it has ever looked.
Detail is frequently extremely impressive on the third entry. The Utah opening is stunning, affording a NatGeo level of gorgeous natural landscapes, and the Venice exteriors are tremendous too, with the later trip to Germany delivering lush green landscapes and beautiful blue skies. There are some superbly resolved skin textures, perfectly unshaven faces, hair, and clothing weaves, it's all fabulously rendered. Sure, there's a little softness, with sharpening tools perhaps more evident this time out on a few of the shots, and Elsa in particular frequently bathed in a softer glow, but really the detail is astounding.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the above comments, grain is extremely fine this time around, often barely perceptible and merely adding texture to the proceedings, but there are so many glorious shots - the motorbike-and-sidecar ride is frequently utterly jaw-dropping - that few will really complain about the loving work done here on the restoration. Composite shots have of course been cleaned up, as per the previous entries, although a few were more heavy duty than before, and whilst - as before - the shots are still obvious effects moments, they're no longer of a perceptibly different quality to the surrounding images (the airship shots being the worst offenders, at least looking like clean green-screen work here, rather than dirty composite work). They look far better than ever before and have clearly been gifted, as with the entire movie, a whole new lease of life.
WCG and HDR - along with Dolby Vision - also work wonders, gifting the film the best colour scheme and tone that it has ever known, bathed in more natural tones that provide rich, wooden interiors, gorgeous blue skies - damn those blue skies are stunning - lush green foliage, and the reddish-tinged rocks of the Utah desert with respect and faithfulness. Skin tones are superbly rendered, and whilst a couple of the villains look a bit more pasty in their thick application of makeup, Ford and Connery in particular look great. Black levels are rich and inky and deep and impenetrable, making all the tomb-raiding and rat-dodging all the more thrilling, with bursts of screen-popping flames unleashing some impressive shadow detail. It's a largely superb presentation.
The Last Crusade 4K Audio
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade's 4K Blu-ray release, like the rest of the films in the set, enjoys a rather surprising upgrade in the form of a tremendous Dolby Atmos track, with the High Definition 3D Object-based immersive audio easily the best the film has ever known, painstakingly restored - much like the video - from the original audio elements.
... a tremendous Atmos track
Dialogue earns keen prioritisation for the most part - Connery's first lines of dialogue perhaps coming across as marginally muffled, although perhaps they were meant more as ramblings - taking centre stage across the array wherever necessary. Effects are surprisingly enthusiastic, even in the LFE department, with every one of those glorious trademark Indy "telegraphed" punches landing home with a fabulous thwack. From the boisterous opening and train set piece to the crashing storm ship sequence to the bike chase, there are plenty of moments for thunderous gunshots, blazing fires, crashing rocks and boulders, growling truck engines, aircraft engines and even explosions, with numerous booming tank shells being blasted across the landscape.
As before, overheads aren't working overtime, but they do get in on the action, particularly for the aerial antics, and the Atmos track affords a more expansive listen than home audiences will have ever experienced before. Of course, Williams' seminal - and this time wonderfully playful - score is again the absolute high point of the track, splaying out across the array and providing an even more immersive aural experience.
The Last Crusade 4K Extras
Paramount's UK Indiana Jones 4-movie Collection is a 9 disc set, 8 of which are dedicated movies discs, with nothing but trailers on all of these discs.
... pretty damn comprehensive
The heavy lifting is done by that 9th disc, and it's done impressively, wielding the feature-length Raiders 2-part Documentary as its opening salvo, with dedicated further Making-of documentaries for all of the other films - most of which are also over 40 minutes in length - and a slew of further Behind the Scenes Featurettes. It's pretty damn comprehensive!
The Last Crusade 4K Verdict
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 4K Blu-ray Review
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is arguably the greatest second sequel of all time, mixing things up with the superb - simply perfect - addition of Sean Connery, and providing some of the best on-screen chemistry and comedy that the franchise has ever known.
... arguably the greatest second sequel of all time
Paramount's UK 4K release of the Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection serves up lavishly restored native 4K Dolby Vision-enhanced video and the superb, lovingly remastered Dolby Atmos tracks, and delivers a comprehensive dedicated extras discs to round-out the fabulous 9-disc set. It's an absolute must-have for everybody's collection.
Other reviews from the collection:
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is released by Paramount as part of The Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection, available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™ and on Digital to Download & Keep from the 7th June.
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