Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones Marathon: "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"

My thoughts on Indy 3:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Indiana Jones agrees to take on the assignment of the quest for the Holy Grail after his father, whose lifelong obsession has been seeking it, turns up missing on the latest expedition for its recovery.

River Phoenix does a great Harrison Fordesque “young” Indiana Jones in opening sequence (set in Utah, 1912) involving Cortez artifact the “Cross of Coronada.” Nice to see some recurring elements from the original film return (dropped in Temple of Doom), such as Indy-in-the-classroom, the return of Marcus (Denholm Elliot) and Sala (Michael Rhys-Davies), and archeological adventures. Has many, many moments of incredulity (a holdover from Temple of Doom), but they are palatable in the spirit in which they’re delivered. Re-introduction of the Nazis as villains adds a nice touch, if Indy’s merciless dispensing of them a little uncomfortable nonetheless. Great humor throughout (“Ah Venice.”/“Dr. Jones?” “Yes.”/“She talks in her sleep.”/bit with Marcus: “Does anyone here speak English? Or even Ancient Greek?”/revolving fireplace/ “no ticket”/ “I was the next man.”/ “But in the Latin, Johovah starts with an “I”… “J….”) Great stunts in second half: motorcycles sequence, German fighter planes and ground sequence [with memorable ending: “I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne”], and (especially) the tank sequence. Connery’s Henry Jones makes a great character and there’s just enough time for some character development in the relationship between father and son (as in the “that’s for blasphemy” scene and the ‘we-hardly-spoke’ scene). One expected Adolf Hitler to appear as a character in the original film and when he appears in this one you realize it was better that he wasn’t in the first one (even if the bit in Last Crusade is somewhat amusing). Finale, with the final “tests” is well executed and exciting. Doesn’t have quite the same depth as the original movie, but hardly empty headed and, undeniably, a fun adventure.

My thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull forthcoming...

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