By Charly SHELTON
When I first started newspaper writing in 2002, the first movie I ever reviewed was “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I sent in a sample review for my audition of sorts to work for the paper. It was about 300 words and I gave it a stunning review because it had been one of my favorite movies since I was little. Now 10 years later, I am still writing reviews of movies, and I actually get to review Raiders for real, with the recent re-release and Blu-ray pack release of the series.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is an icon in film because it is one of the best films ever made. The writing, the directing, the acting, the effects – all of it. Granted that its sequel, “Temple of Doom,” was a bit of a let down when I first saw it. But all was forgiven because the third movie, “The Last Crusade,” was as good as the first film. And then no more Indiana Jones films were made. Ever. Not one.
Oh, that’s right. Someone tried to make a spoof of the Indy films a few years back. They even got Harrison Ford to star and Steven Spielberg to direct. But it was not a real Indy film. It was all digital explosions and aliens and stupid stuff. It was a spoof on the once great series of films. “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” even made “Temple of Doom” look great by comparison.
But that’s all in the past. The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones has been released on Blu-ray for the first time, and Paramount was even nice enough to include the spoof film in case you need a laugh or want to remind yourself how bad movies can really be.
The films were also recently screened as a marathon in AMC theaters. The all day event showed all the films, and Raiders was shown in IMAX theaters for a one-week release.
The changes and updates to the film are minimal. Spielberg can’t be trusted to re-master and update his own films without change as we see from what he did to E.T., turning all the guns into walkie-talkies or flashlights. So this reporter went into the screenings apprehensive, almost expecting to see all the Nazis digitally changed into walkies and a ring around every explosion. But in fact the updates were not too intrusive. The most drastic changes were the addition of sound effects to things that didn’t need extra sound effects. For example, I never watched “The Last Crusade” and thought, “That Nazi throwing the grenade is not believable because I don’t hear the grenade making a whooshing sound as its thrown.” Small things like that. Not necessarily needed, but not too intrusive.
On the other hand, some of the updates are really great and well needed. Raiders looks absolutely amazing. The print has been cleaned up, converted to hi-def with a crystal clear picture. It will be easy to market this 32-year-old movie in 1080p on Blu-ray. Once in a while the shot gets blurry, mostly when the camera isn’t steady and it has to be smoothed out on the back end in the modern editing program. It blurs the frames together to minimize the shaking, but it also cuts the clarity. Normally it wouldn’t really be an issue, but with a beautiful print this clean the blurry parts are noticeable, but a necessary side effect of the overall great looking films.
The Blu-ray set is out now and available wherever you can find it in stock. Definitely worth it at only $65.
I give the Indiana Jones trilogy a five out of five stars.