Sunday, May 25, 2008

REVIEW: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Year: 1989
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

What surprised me is would people even care for another Indy movie since Temple of Doom wasn't all that great and fell short at the box office compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark? The answer: yes. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade not only beat the record set by the first film, but it also got positive reviews from most critics around the world. Director Steven Spielberg said that he only made the Last Crusade for two reasons. Reason one was that he wanted to complete the three picture movie deal he made with writer/producer, George Lucas. The second was that he wanted to deal with the criticism he got for the Temple of Doom. Fans who were left bitter from the Temple of Doom aren't going to be disappointed here. Like I mentioned with the previous reviews for the previous Indy films, I've only seen this trilogy late last year so I was still pretty new to it.

Plot Outline:
It's the 1930's, the Nazis are after Indiana Jone's Father, Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery), for his little diary that contains maps to an object that is wanted by both parties, the Holy Grail of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) tries to help his father to find the Holy Grail in which his father has spent many years trying to find. The Nazis learn of this and kidnap Henry Jones, in their hopes to find the Holy Grail themselves. Indiana sets out in hope to find his father, who is now missing, but when Indiana Jones receives the diary in the mail, he sets out himself to fulfill his father's dream of finding the Grail. With the help of Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott), he sets off to the temple at Alexandetta, where the Grail is supposedly located.

Like every trilogy of a movie, the first film in the trilogy ends up being the better one with the other ones getting mediocre by each film. That's not the case with this film. Last Crusade is filled with fun moments and actually has a story that's easy to understand. While being the third one in the trilogy, this film is actually the sequel to Raiders which was the first film and Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders. Yes, the Nazi's are back. Yes, the traps are back. This was one of the things that Temple of doom lacked and I'm glad their in this film. Everything that was missing in Temple of Doom is here. The story is nicely crafted and has some of that creativity that captured my eyes when I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. The characters are funny than ever and we get a strong connection between Indy and his dad. Sure the story might have that father and son type thing, but it works well especially since their also on a journey to find the Holy Grail. The movie also has a great ending. I was alittle on the fence with the endings to the previous films and thought they could have been alittle better, but The Last Crusade has a wonderful and memorable ending that really puts a close on this trilogy.

Harrison Ford returns once again as the adventure seeking Indiana Jones. He gives a great performance like he did in the previous Indy films. I still to this day have not found anybody that could play this part better than Harrison Ford. Its just something he was born to do. Sean Connery plays as Indy's father, Professor Henry Jones. He too gives a great performance. I loved his funny charming lines and he brings a freshness to this series. Him besides Ford is just perfect. I'm really glad Connery was chosen to play as Indy's father. Denholm Elliott plays as Dr. Marcus Brody and hes a pretty good casting. He does turn out to be alittle dumb in the movie, but I think that's just his character hes playing. Alison Doody plays as Elsa Schneider and shes hot as hell. She does a pretty good job playing the female role in the movie and Id definitely take her instead of Kate Capshaw, but she also fails in comparison to Karen Allen. Their just isn't anybody that goes well with Indiana Jones than Marion Ravenwood.

The films budget has been increased by an extra $20 million compared to Temple of Doom and this has resulted in better effects. Just like the previous Indy films, the films source is in pretty good shape, but it does contain grain here and their. Its not too distracting like some of the grain I have seen in other films. The colors are much improved from Temple of Doom. The colors aren't dark like they were in Temple of Doom since most of the scenes are outside in daylight. Detail is improved from Temple of Doom and much cleaner than Raiders. Some of the close up shots look nicely detailed. Their are still some occasional soft shots, but their mostly far away shots. Still this looks mighty good for a film that's now 19 years old. While the Indiana Jones trilogy has been released on DVD along time ago, it was only recently that Paramount decided to release them individually for a special edition version. Those special edition releases have the same picture quality found on the older box set release. This is really disappointing because it's in need of some remastering especially in high definition.

The soundtrack in the Last Crusade is equally impressive as the films story. John Williams who composed the score for the past Indy films returns once again to score the Last Crusade. That same great score he composed as the main Indy theme is back sounding much more better. He also makes other music for the film that go so well with the films story. The music is much more engaging than Temple of Doom and really gives you that feeling like you don't want to leave your seat. While the films score is great as ever, like the previous Indy films, the bass isn't all that great. For an action packed movie like this, the bass should have rocked my socks off, but it doesn't. While we still get some bass work, it just isn't as strong as I would have hoped for. This doesn't seem like its the movies fault, but rather a poor encoding onto the DVD. This still has a great soundtrack that really brings this film to life, but It could have sounded much more better had Paramount remastered the sound in 5.1 DTS.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a great movie and one that completes the Indiana Jones trilogy. I'm really happy to know that the last one in the series goes out with a bang. The story is great and better than Temple of Doom. The cast is also great with many of the characters from the previous Indy films returning. The visual effects are really good for a movie of its time. The soundtrack is a blast to listen to. The Last Crusade sounds fantastic. So in the end, is the Last Crusade the best Indy film out of the series. In my opinion, no. Raiders of the Lost Ark still keeps that rein, but the Last Crusade comes a dead second. The film is much better than Temple of Doom and is still an entertaining movie just like the previous films. I know some of you were left bitter with the story of Temple of Doom, but trust me. The Last Crusade wont disappoint. Its a great film with a great ending to a great trilogy.

Grade: B

No comments: