Blu-ray Review: Indiana Jones Complete Adventures

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Paramount | DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg | CAST: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Karen Allen, Sean Connery, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 9/18/2012 | PRICE: Blu-ray $99.99
BONUSES: documentaries, interviews, featurettes
SPECS: PG and PG-13 | 115 min – 122 min. | Adventure | widescreen | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Indiana Jones movies in high-definition! You don’t need to say much more to get movie lovers smiling and salivating. However, while this highly anticipated set has a lot of good, it might prove a disappointment to those with high expectations.

Paramount did a full restoration of the the four adventure films for the Blu-ray release. While the newer movies, including the wonderful number three, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, look gorgeous, the brilliant original Raiders of the Lost Ark looks soft and dark, not as sharp as we’ve come to expect from Blu-ray.

Not that the movie looks bad. There’s no dirt or scratches, and the color looks good; the gold idol is positively shimmering. The film has plenty of grain, but that’s to be expected and is welcome. In fact, the high-def representation might get an ooh and an ahh from some viewers. But anyone who saw Universal’s impressive Blu-ray restoration of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, a movie that’s six years older, might see this high-def version of Raiders as a let down.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom looks a better, but the brilliance of high-def is mostly noticeable with Last Crusade, which is good, because, second to Raiders, Crusade is the movie that will probably be watched the most. The 5.1 DTS-HD sound on all the films is awesome, with the rolling of the giant ball in Raiders, the crunch of the jungle in Doom, the flapping of bird wings in Crusade all clear.

The five-disc Blu-ray set has one film per disc and an extra disc with all the bonus features. The special features menu offers the new two-part documentary “On the Set With Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which is a compilation of archival footage from the production of the earliest film. Unfortunately, the restoration process that was done on the movies wasn’t continued through to this behind-the-scenes footage and dirt and scratches abound. Ignoring that, the documentary has some fun footage, showing the locations, Spielberg and the stars joking around, deleted scenes and outtakes.

The footage is set to the score from the movie and interspersed with old interviews with the stars, the famed director and others. There’s no new interviews, which is a shame, but what’s here is fun to see.

The Blu-ray also contains all the special features on the Adventures of Indiana Jones DVD set released in 2003. Included are making-of documentaries on each of the movies, with new for then interviews with the stars, Spielberg, co-creator George Lucas and plenty of others. All are as interesting now as they were then. Plus, plenty of brief featurettes on the series’ stunts, music, women, etc.

The fourth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, has already been available on Blu-ray, but this set is the only place to get the first three movies — including, of course, the best ones, Raiders and Last Crusade — in high-definition. Despite the softness of the picture, the films are still worth it.

 

Buy or Rent Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.