Saturday, April 30, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Steven Spielberg, 1989 (8.5*)
After the critical flop of the second in the series, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, not very many people were likely waiting for the third. Perhaps in order to boost interest, Spielberg added Sean Connery to the cast as the father of Harrison Ford, which seems a bit of an age stretch to me, Connery's not that old is he?

But the two's comedic chemistry helped add a little spark to this entry, which also brought back more religious mysticism, in this case the "Holy Grail". Often speculated about, and if it's even a real object or a metaphysical analogy, this film defines it as the cup Jesus drank from at the last supper, which supposedly gave it immortal powers, similar to a fountain of youth concept.

Dad joins Junior in a search for the cup before the Nazis can find it; after all, we don't want Der Fuehrer to have everlasting immortality on earth, do we? Joining the search is a blond Germanic beauty, Alison Doody [photo below] who may or may not be a double agent, who of course dazzles Indiana as well.

There are some nice twists to the legend, and also some intellectual puzzles involved, but this adventure maintains the high standard of pace and action set by the original entry, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which single-handedly revived the "Saturday matinee" style of adventure films for kids. They mind-blowing climax was actually filmed in the hidden ancient ruins of Petra, Jordan, which is a canyon cleft in the desert, almost invisible from above.

Currently ranked No. 107 on the IMDB 250. Winner of one Oscar®, for sound effects, 5 awards total.

Quote: "We named the dog Indiana"


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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