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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses

Directed by:

Steven Spielberg

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 127 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ may not be the very best chapter in the Indy trilogy, but it’s arguably the most fun. It might be a little unfair to call this “a return to form”, as ‘The Temple of Doom’ was hardly a load of old rubbish – in fact, it’s a cracking movie. But what this is a return to is Dr Jones doing what Dr Jones does best – jetting all over the world, dodging ancient booby traps, and battling Nazis. Fantastic stuff.

In the original and best part of the series, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, we ooh-ed and aah-ed as Indiana (Harrison Ford) raced against Adolf’s boys to track down the Ark of the Covenant. This time, everyone’s favourite whip-cracking archaeologist is on the trail of yet another legendary biblical artefact, the Holy Grail. Word has it that whoever drinks from the Grail – apparently Christ’s favourite mug – is blessed with ever-lasting life. So let’s all do our bit and make sure Keith Chegwin NEVER gets his hands on it.

This is a marvellous movie, with great dialogue, thrills and spills galore, and possibly Ford’s finest performance in the role. True, much of it is recycled from ‘Raiders’, but it’s got a secret weapon to give it its own identity and freshness – and that’s Sean Connery as Indy’s eccentric Grail-obsessed popsy. It’s an inspired piece of casting (ignoring the minor issue of Connery being only twelve years older than Ford in real life), and the film’s best moments are inevitably where the pair draw another breath-taking action sequence to a close by bouncing off of each other like a long-established comedy double-act.

All in all, this is a fitting end to the Indiana Jones chronicles, and after watching all three movies in their new DVD box-set form it’s difficult to see how the planned fourth instalment could possibly add or achieve anything more (other than perhaps further lining the pockets of Messrs Spielberg, Lucas and Ford). If only for the sake of preserving one of Hollywood’s greatest ever trilogies, I sincerely hope those guys know what they’re doing.

It's Got: River Phoenix playing Indy in his young, impressionable and strangely- blonde teenage days, Alexei Sayle as an eastern Sultan and, best of all, Michael “Mr Bronson” Sheard as Hitler. I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Danny Kendall.

It Needs: A stronger leading lady – in comparison to the feistiness of Karen Allen in ‘Raiders’ or the humour of Kate Capshaw in ‘Temple’, love interest Alison Doody comes across as a little bland.

DVD Extras ‘The Adventures of Indiana Jones’ box-set contains a fourth disc where you can find all of the bonus goodies: ‘The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones’ features the special effects used in the trilogy; ‘The Sound of Indiana Jones’ describes the films as “an adventure in sound” (well, not too sure about that one, but we’ll let them off); ‘The Stunts of Indiana Jones’ looks, not entirely surprisingly, at the stunts used; ‘The Music of Indiana Jones’ is about – and you’re probably getting the general idea by now – the music of Indiana Jones! There are also some trailers tucked away in there, plus a good range of DVD-ROM content. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Summary

Sheer brilliance – with a hat on.

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