Yes, these are not technically horror movies, but they’ve always dealt with occult mysteries and supernatural elements. They have floating spirits and Nazi face melting, a cult of murderers who rip people’s still-beating hearts out, an immortal knight, and … aliens. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the aliens, but they’re in here too. So if all that wasn’t enough for this horror movie reviewer to give this new Blu-ray box set a look, how about this: it’s Indiana freaking Jones! These are some of the best, coolest, most entertaining, and most beloved movies ever made. Period. If you don’t love Indy then personally I don’t want to know you. You’re obviously some movie hating mutant that the idea of fun repels as surely as the crucifix sends vampires running away. And the fact that this mew Blu-ray set has the movies looking and sounding better than ever is just icing on the cake. So grab your hat, whip, and revolver, it’s time for adventure.
Now I’m not going to go into the plots of all four films because, come on, it’s Indiana freaking Jones! I know you’ve seen these films, everyone has seen these films, and there’s good reason for that; they’re awesome. However, on the off chance that you have yet to experience these movies for yourself, I will give you a brief overview.
Indiana Jones is both a learned college professor of archeology and a two-fisted, adventurous treasure hunter. Set in the years just before World War Two (with the fourth film being set in the 1950s after the war) all movies are pulpy action fun made to resemble the old serial action shorts that played in movie houses from so many decades ago. Every film has Professor Jones getting involved in some great mystery about a historic artifact of great importance. In order to retrieve such items, Indy will have to travel the globe to many exotic locales, overcome dangerous beasts and deadly traps, and fight hoards of nefarious bad guys to keep them from getting the same mystical McGuffin he’s after. Sure the films are formulaic, they’re designed to be, but they also fun as all hell.
The first Indy movie had Dr. Jones searching Egypt for the lost Ark of the Covenant while battling Nazis who wanted to pervert the holy relic into a weapon of war. The second film found Indy in India doing battle with the murderous (and at one time very real) Thuggee death cult to find some … magic stones. Yeah, while this isn’t the worst movie of the bunch, the mysterious artifact in it is easily the weakest of the original trilogy. The third time around Indiana teamed up with his father, played by Sean Connery, to once more battle the Nazis in a race all over Europe and the Middle East to find the one and only Holy Grail. Then after a nineteen-year hiatus, Spielberg, Lucas and Ford got back together for one more adventure, this time setting the action in the 1950s where it was Indy vs. the Commies in South America looking for … an alien skull. The only good thing about that slice of silliness was that it made magic rocks from the second movie no longer the stupidest artifact in an Indiana Jones movie. Thanks Indy number four!
So there you go, three mostly great and thoroughly fun adventure flicks with one sort of sad and more than slightly stupid final sequel to give the series a rather unsatisfying ending. And now for the first time, all four films are on Blu-ray in one killer package. And hey, if you’re like me you can just pretend that the fourth film doesn’t exist.
The HD transfer of all of these films looks amazing as is the sound, but that’s par for the course for big budget movies making the leap to Blu-ray these days. Was is up and beyond the call of duty is the seven hours of extras and special features that come on a fifth disc in this package. While sadly there are still no commentary tracks, Spielberg just doesn’t roll that way, there is an hour long behind the scenes/on-set documentary about the making of the original Indy movie. There are also five lengthy featurettes about making the four films (the first movie gets two featurettes devoted to it, as it should) that have a bunch of interviews with everyone involved, behind the scenes stuff, deleted scenes, and lots move. If that’s not enough goodies for you, there are also twelve smaller (but by no means small) featurettes on such subjects like the stunts, music, special effects, all the creepy crawlers the brave adventurer runs into, the many women of Indy, and more. And some of these come complete with pop up trivia. Other than the missing commentary tracks, this is a great example of how a Blu-ray set should be done.
I cannot recommend these new Indiana Jones Blu-rays high enough. They look great, sound great, come with a bunch of great extras, and once more; it’s Indiana freaking Jones! Consider this new set from Paramount a must have for movie lovers of all stripes.