Indiana Jones - The Complete Adventures
After years of waiting, one of the most anticipated DVD sets is finally here -- The Adventures of Indiana Jones: The Complete DVD Movie Collection, a grand release for one of the most beloved and successful film trilogies in history. Packaged in a classy Lucasfilm/Paramount box, all three of the first films are included, with an exclusive bonus disc delving into the behind-the-scenes meat long sought after by fans throughout the years. While it might not be the definitive, end-all-be-all release (that now-fabled set would have probably included the scrapped fourth entry in the series, still in pre-production at the time of this release), though be sure, this collection is simply jaw-dropping at times and worth the wait in the end. In this set, each film is presented in its original glorious 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with an incredible Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track, all digitally remastered by THX -- and boy, does it show! With lush hues and deep blacks, the series feels new all over again, with Raiders especially benefiting from its new brilliant picture and sound quality. Thankfully, there hasn't been too much digital tinkering on the images, with the subtle reflection during the snake pit scene still intact -- though a few matting issues in the Last Crusade seem to have been corrected. While having the trilogy finally hit the DVD market is truly something to rejoice about, the party really starts to heat up with the Bonus Material disc, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage never seen outside of the Lucasfilm archives. First off, there are the three feature-length documentaries on the trilogy, which can be viewed separately or all together, clocking in at a whopping two-hour-plus running time. Covering each film throughout their story lines, while focusing in at each setup to break down various action pieces, casting decisions, and filming locations, the specials give you full access to most every major player in the production and completely justifies the non-inclusion of any audio commentaries. Classic stories are shared from everyone ranging from Spielberg to Lucas, Harrison Ford to every leading lady he fell for, to the beloved supporting cast including John Rhys-Davis, and yes, even Short Round (Quan Ke Huy) makes an appearance. Whether viewed back to back or each individually, these documentaries are at the core perfect studies of the trilogy, and with exclusive footage like bits from the infamous Tom Selleck screen test, they're the most exciting extras to hit the DVD market in a long time. Also on the disc are collections of featurettes that fill in the filmmaking gaps that the documentary glossed over. Clocking in a little above ten minutes each, the four sections represent the traditional (i.e. non-CG) technical sides of the film -- Stunts, Sounds, Music, and the Light and Magic. From the origins of the trilogy's sound effect library with Ben Burtt to footage of John Williams' original scoring sessions, the featurettes manage to affectively capture how the series was truly a joint effort with the very best people of their craft putting their all into the three films. Finally on the bonus disc, there's a massive Trailers section, which includes three trailers for Raiders (teaser, theatrical, and re-release), just the theatrical for Temple of Doom, and both the teaser and theatrical for The Last Crusade. As usual with long-awaited discs, there are still a few things missing. Where, in fact, are the deleted scenes? Also perplexing is the exclusion of the Temple of Doom teaser, included on one of the first video releases of Raiders. Of course, these are small gripes, and ones which only the eventual box set down the road will answer as to whether they'll see the light of day or not. Still, with the astounding transfers and engrossing extras, this box set should prove that the wait was well worth it -- for you can finally have pristine copies of the Indiana Jones trilogy among your collection, and that is truly a beautiful thing.