The Indiana Jones Collection [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg

The Indiana Jones Collection [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg
As the story goes, director Steven Spielberg was considering his career plans to friend George Lucas. Following the success of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg admitted that he'd like to direct a James Bond film. Lucas, having recently made history with Star Wars, boasted "I've got something better than James Bond." What was born out of that conversation was Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), an homage to the early Hollywood film serials that had inspired both Spielberg and Lucas, who produced the film. There's not a great deal that hasn't been said about Harrison Ford's iconic adventurer, especially given how little needs to be said at all about Raiders, one of the greatest films ever made. The combination of both ambition and swagger shown by all involved simply puts the film in a class of its own. The Blu-Ray release packages the entire quadrilogy together, giving audiences Raiders with its three sequels: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Although their bundling together suggests a take-it-or-leave-it attitude on the part of the filmmakers, the bonus features work hard to emphasize the context of each film. All four have accompanying contemporary feature-length making-of films that give anecdotes about the productions and lightly defend their intentions. Temple of Doom was a given due to the success of the first film and was made largely of ideas that "didn't fit" into the first, which explains why the story doesn't hold together. (And why most fans defending the second film can only point to isolated elements, like Shortround.) The Last Crusade responds to this by leaning in the opposite direction, padding the action in a soft father-son story (with original Bond, Sean Connery, as his dad). And The Kingdom of the Refrigerator Nuke gets the gang back together, including Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, but lifelessly pushes Ford from one CGI set piece to another. In other words, the films that followed Raiders have the moments, heart and continuity, respectively, but never manage to push the series forwards in the ways you hope; they're too burdened with looking back. Additional extras dissect different elements of the franchise, like the stunts and music. The best though is the vintage promotional feature for the then brand-new Raiders, which gives a snapshot of what Spielberg and Lucas were first setting out to do. Because it's interesting to consider what could have been had the filmmakers stayed true to their original inspiration and, like Bond, passed the series on to different directors and actors. Ford, like Connery, would've always owned the role of the title character, of course, but new talent might've discovered more about what continues to make him so compelling. As is, however, the vintage look at the making of Raiders is fitting because it sees the movie as it always will be, in a way: a standalone. (Paramount)