Released 1981, 1984, 1989 Rated: PG, PG, PG-13
The Indiana Jones series is a treasure you’ll want to dig up again and again. They just don’t make movies like this anymore. And it’s a shame. This was a time when you wanted an explosion, you made one. Special effects were accomplished with smoke and mirrors, make-up, or carefully constructed props. CGI wasn’t what it is today, which is overused and almost unrealistic. That’s part of what is so awesome about these movies! Despite the occasional obvious green-screen, you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth of effects here. Because somebody took the time to make sure it all worked, it’s as if it’s really happening and Indiana Jones is actually running through the jungle or fighting in the streets. And it’s so cool!
Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first in the Indiana Jones series, coming out in 1981. Here we are first introduced to the archeology professor/treasure hunter who happens to have a phobia of snakes. 🙂 How awesome is that?
The thrill of this movie is hunting down a famous artifact that has disappeared in history: the ark of the covenant. Awesome aspects of this movie: there’s a map of the city and a medallion that’s needed to show the location, buildings completely underground, and a bad guy hot on Indy’s trail ready to take whatever our hero has just found. It’s a race to get the prize, avoid death, and then get back home. It’s a great blend of action, drama, and a little bit of science fiction.
Next came The Temple of Doom in 1984. In my opinion, this film fell a little short of the previous installment. Temple of Doom focuses more on the shock value than the hunting down of legendary artifacts. Sure it’s still full of action, but some of the thrill of the hunt was lost. Maybe it’s because our trio of characters was not searching for the item in question in the first place, or that the item in question wasn’t lost in history, but stolen, so the only significance is to the people who it was stolen from. The whole movie just seemed to spill out on screen; almost as if it wasn’t quite thought through enough.
One thing that I did notice was that the characters seemed to be very full of themselves. But I guess the line of “I could have been your greatest adventure!” gave that one away. Here we have Willie, a singer who prefers the high-end lifestyle in Shanghai, thrown into this crazy adventure with Indiana Jones. Halfway through the movie you might get tired of hearing her scream; however, it is funny to see Jones and Short Round ignoring her completely. Anyway, she’s miserable throughout the whole movie what with trekking through the jungle and riding on elephants; except for whenever diamonds are brought up in conversation. That’s the only time she gets interested in what they’re doing.
And last but not least is the 1989 installment: The Last Crusade. Now we’re back to Raiders status; on the quest to recover the Holy Grail, which is apparently a life-long obsession of Dr. Jones Senior. And believe it or not, but Sean Connery steals every scene he’s in. He just brings so much enjoyment to this film.
Here we have converted churches, missing knights, puzzles, ancient tombs, and the Nazis trying to take everything, again. Nice twist in the middle of the movie, too.
This installment definitely adds the same amount of comedy as it does with the thrills. The other two did have some choice moments; however, The Last Crusade is by far the funniest of the three.
Overall: this is a great series to add to your collection, and pop in the DVD player if you’re bored on a Saturday night and need something great to watch. Choose #1 if you’re looking for an action flick, #2 if you want some shocks, and #3 if you need a laugh.