Monday, May 19, 2008

"Indiana Jones" reviews

Well, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hits theaters this Thursday. So I figured that it would be a good idea to review the first three movies in the series before its release. They are staples of summer blockbuster history and surely deserve a mention on this humble blog. So, here it is:

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark: Release date-- 1981. The opening sequence of this film is legendary. Indy tries to retrieve a golden idol in a booby-trap-infested cave, encountering traitors, spiders, a chasm, angry natives, and a huge boulder that chases him out and into his rival's hands. From there, he returns to his home in America, where he is an archaeology professor. He is called to a meeting where he learns that the Nazis are getting close to finding the fabled ARK OF THE COVENANT. This sends Indy across the world with his ex-flame, Marion Ravenwood, in an attempt to find it before the Nazis do.

In this film, there are some of the greatest action pieces ever recorded on celluloid: Indy shooting the swordsman, the truck chase, the bar fight, and the brawl on the Nazi landing strip. No moment is wasted, and it has a great, ironic ending.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Release date-- 1984. The fight at Club Obi-Wan kicks off this second, darker, more gruesome installment in the Indiana Jones series. Indy just barely manages to escape a plane crash, where he lands on a raft in India with his child sidekick, Short Round, and an annoying singer by the name of Willie. They arrive in a village only to find that all of the children have been kidnapped and forced into slavery by the evil Thuggee cult. Also, the village's SHANKARA STONE has been stolen, and Indy must bring it back with the children.

This film can be kind of gross at times, and it's in my opinion the worst in the series, but it still has it's moments, particularly in the incredible climax. If nothing else, it's good for nostalgia value.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Release date-- 1989. A glimpse into Indy's past launches viewers into his third adventure. In it, Indy is informed that his father (played by none other than original James Bond Sean Connery!) was getting extremely close to finding the HOLY GRAIL... before he was kidnapped by the Nazis. His searches bring him to Venice, Italy where he meets up with his father's assistant-- Ilsa. They face rats, a boat chase, a booby-trapped, Nazi-occupied castle, a fight atop a moving tank, and three dangerous challenges before they can reach the Grail.

Indy went out for twenty years with a bang. The series finished strong with some great action sequences: besides the ones mentioned earlier, a dogfight in a German plane and a motorcycle chase. Great fun with a good lesson learned by all the characters at the end.

My ratings:

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark: 10/10

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 8/10

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 9.5/10

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