Blu-ray Review “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures”

Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, Kate Capshaw, Cate Blanchett, Sean Connery
Distributed by: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 18, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 482 minutes

Raiders of the Lost Ark: 5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” finally hits Blu-ray on September 18th. This collection marks the Blu-ray debut of the “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.  This is the first time they have been released in high-def and this release does not disappoint at all. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” has previously been released on Blu-ray is stunning as well, despite hatred by fans (not including myself). This collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford complies the one of the best adventure series to date.  You know that there was a lot of love and supervision for this release by director Steven Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt.  Overall this really is a major upgrade in presentation from the last DVD release. If nothing else this release leaves you with one burning question, “Snakes—why did it have to be snakes?”.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is the real star of this release for sure.  It has been meticulously restored in order to preserve the original look, sound and feel of this iconic film. They went back to the original negative scanned at 4K and reviewed frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired.  The sound delivered for this release was Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981.  When all was said and done this digital restoration was extremely impressive.  The other installments in the franchise also look stunning being presented in 1080p high definition, also presented in there 2.39:1 original aspect ratio.  Even though “Raiders” got the most attention, “Temple of Doom” and “Last Crusade” really do look very sharp on Blu-ray.  Besides the occasional film spots, I was left blown away by these presentations. When you also think about “Indiana Jones”, you immediately start humming that iconic theme song, “Da Da Dah Dahhh Dah Dah Da Da Dah Dahh Dah Dah“.  The sound is very important for this to work.  They have arrived on Blu-ray with a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  It is perfectly balanced and sounds just amazing over my surround sound system.

The special features are literally flowing out of this release and are very impressive.  Thought I am very surprised that there are no commentary tracks available for any of the films.  There are two newly produced “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark” featurettes: “From Jungle to Desert” and “From Adventure to Legend”.  Like I said this release is the “Raiders” show, so it gets the best treatment. There are a “Making the Films” featurettes for each film in the series. “Raiders” also  includes the original 1981 “The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark” documentary as well. There are a bunch more of additional behind-the-scenes featurettes as well.  The first three focus on the most important aspects of the series; “The Stunts of Indiana Jones”, “The Sound of Indiana Jones” and “The Music of Indiana Jones”. They are short but definitely sweet. “The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones” takes use through the the work of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). There is a detailed look into everyone’s favorite scene “Raiders: The Melting Face!”, one of the reasons why PG-13 were initialized.

What is Indiana Jones without its snakes and other creatures in “Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies”, it will have you lifting your feet off the floor.  “Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations” takes us through the wonderful locations where these films were shot and details about the shooting.  Like James Bond, there are such strong woman in this series and “Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute” provides a nice nod to them.  “Indy’s Friends and Enemies” dives into the other characters in the series besides Dr. Jones himself. The last three features are all on “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”…wait don’t turn it off yet, these are decent features.  The first focuses on the “Iconic Props”, which are featured in the last installment.  The next one focuses on “The Effects”, even as iconic as the original trilogy is, this film packs some great effects.  The last focuses on the last sequel road through “Post Production” and the challenges faced. Lastly there are high definition trailers and teasers for each film to close this great release.

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