Directed by Steven Spielberg
Running Time: 5:59
In anticipation of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes Indiana Jones - The Adventure Collection which combines the first three films in the series into one Special Edition package.
I'm not going to bother going through the plots of all three films because let's face it, everyone has seen the movies. And if you haven't, seriously, what's wrong with you? I'm just going to discuss the extras on all three discs. I'll start with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, which many of us remember being called only Raiders of the Lost Ark but apparently has now been rebranded to bring it in line with the rest of the films. There is an introduction to the film featuring Spielberg and producer George Lucas and includes present day footage along with footage from back in the early 80s when they were putting the movie together. It was nice to see the archival stuff because for one, it's funny to see how young everyone looked. More importantly, it showed how Spielberg looked up to Lucas and would pretty much agree with whatever Lucas wanted. The second extra has the cast of the latest film discussing their feelings on the past trilogy. So you get actors who weren't necessarily part of the original films talking about where they were the first time they saw it. The only one of the interviews that I felt was worth anything was screenwriter David Koepp's because he admits that it was seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark that got him truly interested in screenwriting. There is also a documentary on the special effects of the melting face sequence. What made that one fun was that not only did we get to see it done step-by-step and learn how it was created, the special effects guys recreated it today and it looked pretty much the same. The only thing I think that would make it look better today is the ability to fast forward is cleaner. Apparently the entire melting of the face took 10 minutes, so they had to speed it up in post-production, which is what made it a little clunky. In today's version is looked much better. The final major extra is where they show the original storyboards for the Well of Souls sequences, while running the final filmed footage underneath. What I got from that is that whoever did the storyboards thought the actress playing Marion Ravenwood would have a bigger chest.
The extras for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom went along the same lines. There was another introduction primarly from Spielberg and Lucas, which lead me to believe more and more that Lucas is a little full of himself. Both filmmakers admit that this was their least favorite of the three films, but what I found interesting is that Spielberg knew that even before they started filming. Once again though he bowed to Lucas and his vision, with Spielberg calling himself a 'director-for-hire'. There's a documentary on the animals/creatures used in all three films... snakes in the first, bugs in the second, rats in the third and an unknown new terror in the latest film (everyone has been sworn to secrecy). There was also a documentary on all the locations used in the three films, taking us from California to Hawaii to France, Italy, Jordan and the most interesting place, Tunisia. Why is it interesting? Because they used the same location as Lucas did while shooting parts of Star Wars and you get to see a couple of still photos that compare the two films in that location.
And lastly, there's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Once again there's an introduction to the film where I continued to wonder what Lucas really had to do with these movies. I can see how he played an important role in the original, having come up with the concept and bringing it to fruition. But with the second two films, I got the impression that they turned more into Spielberg films, with Lucas throwing out ideas once in a while and hoping that they stuck. I'm not a huge fan of George Lucas after seeing these three introductions. I find that he thinks he's much more important than he really is. Then again I may be way off base, so who knows. There is an extra that shows the women of the Indy films being interviewed during an American Film Institute discussion. I'm not 100% sure the women of Indy are comparable to Bond girls, but that's OK. Then there's a documentary on the friends and enemies of Indy, which allow us to meet some of the actors that have graced the screen over the years. There is a final storyboard-to-screen showcase and, for the third straight time, a preview of the Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures game. I guess they really want people to buy it.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought the extras on the Indiana Jones - The Adventure Collection were decent. The real draw of the collection is of course, the movies at a low price. After all these years, the films all hold up great and the one or two nuggets of information you get from the extras is really icing on an already great cake.
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