The Adventures of Indiana Jones
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Rated PG / PG-13
While Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas set out to salute the classic serials of the 1930s, the Indiana Jones movies have become classics all their own.
There's the straight-forward one, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Indy struggles with the Nazis in a quest for the legendary Ark of the Covenant. There's also the dark and under-appreciated one, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which took Indy on a roller coaster ride to Hell in the pulpiest of his adventures. And, finally, there's the light-hearted one, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with Indy teaming up with his father in a search for the Holy Grail.
While the fourth disc of supplemental materials culled from the Lucas archives is somewhat disappointing, there's enough good stuff in the full-length documentary to make it worth viewing. In this case, though, it's all about the movies and they are presented with startling clarity and terrific surround sound for the first time on DVD.
In bringing the films to DVD, there were reportedly around a dozen "tweaks" made to the films, most notably the removal of the cobra's reflection as Indy crashes onto the floor of the Well of Souls in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Happily, though, Lucas' penchant for reinventing his own movies was restrained by Spielberg's more faithful approach to the restoration process and the other changes are imperceptible under casual viewing. After all, part of the fun of the movies is their lack of perfection. The occasional gaff is worn by these movies as comfortably as Indy wears his fedora and leather jacket.
That comfort level is hard to come by in movies these days and Indy's "reintroduction" via DVD is enough to make one wish the oft-delayed fourth installment would remain in cinematic limbo rather than potentially spoil a good thing.
• Originally published as part of a holiday DVD wrapup at MovieHabit.com.