Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - Review

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

We find ourselves in 1989. "Batman", "Honey I Shrunk The Kids", "Ghostbusters II", "Back To The Future II", "The Little Mermaid", and "Driving Miss Daisy" are in theaters. The final installment of the original Indiana Jones series, "Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade" is released, grossing almost 200 million dollars.

This movie is my favorite for many reasons. This was the only movie out of the original three that I was alive and old enough to watch in theaters. This was also the movie that inspired me to get more into science and even made me want to be an archaeologists for a while. Come on, after seeing the awesomeness "Crusade" is can you really blame a 5 year old kid to pick up a fedora and a whip and go find the Ark or the Grail?

Harrison Ford reprises his role of Indiana Jones and two other former characters show up. Denholm Elliott plays a bigger role this time as Marcus Brody and John Rhys-Davies shows up as Sallah. We also have some new people show up. Most notably is Sean Connery who plays Indy's father, Henry Jones Sr. Alison Doody plays the ever radiant, Elsa Schneider and Julian Glover as Walter Donovan.

It is my opinion that this movie is vastly superior to any of the other movies for many reasons.

The movie starts out with a flashback to Indy's youth. We follow him (played by River Pheonix) as he steals the Cross of Coronado from some grave robbers. This flashback is important for four main reasons of Indy's character. First of all, when Indy runs to a circus train after stealing the Cross he is chased by the bad guys. He winds up falling into a vat of snakes and is completely freaked out by the experience. Thus we see where Indy's fear of snakes comes from! Also, young Indy falls into the car that holds a lion and we see him use a whip to defend himself, but not before scaring himself when he accidentally whips himself. So not only do we see where Indy gets his love of whips from, but we also get to see where Indy gets the scar on his chin from (although it was really caused by a car accident Harrison Ford was in). Finally, the leader of the expedition catches up to Indy and regains the cross, after a few parting words he gives Indy his fedora hat, thus we get to see where Indy got his hat from!

A quick note, the "Woo guy" is almost as annoying as Willie (from "Temple Of Doom") was...almost.

The flashback ends and we see Indy regaining the Cross of Coronado from the same guy who pilfered it when Indy was young. So unlike "Raiders", Indy actually gets what he was looking for at the beginning of the movie and he's able to donate it to the museum.

Indy is tapped by Walter Donovan to help and find the Grail, but to also tell him his father is missing, who was the Donovan's first choice to look for the Grail with new information discovered. Indy and Marcus go to Venice, Italy where they are met by the uber hot Elsa Schneider. She takes them to the library when Indy's father was looking for a second clue as to where the Grail was located before he disappeared. Indy finds the tomb he needs to go to to find the next clue is actually under the library. As with the previous two movies, this movie has some freaky aspect to it to ("Raiders" had snakes and "Doom" had bugs). This movie has rats! There's also a nice inside joke with a painting of the Ark in the tomb.

After getting the clue to lead to the Grail, Indy and Elsa are chased by a group that has sworn to protect the Grail and a tense boat chase takes place. Indy is not only escaping by boat but he's also taking out the men that wish to do him harm. He even captures one who tells him where his father is being held.

Indy and Elsa break into a castle where his father is being kept. They sneak past one of Indy's old enemies...the Nazis! Indy swings into his room and his father (played by none other than Sean Connery) is there only to knock him on a head with a vase, thinking he was a Nazi. Before they can escape, father and son are captured and taken to be questioned about Henry's (Indy's father) Grail journal, a book that has all the clues to get to the Grail in it. It is revealed that not only is Elsa a Nazi agent but so is Walter Donovan! Indy and father are tied up only to have henry accidentally set the castle on fire. They escape and after a great chase sequence with motorcycles Henry convinces Indy to go to Berlin where the Grail diary is being kept.

The reason this movie works so well is the way Indy and Henry relate to each other. For and Connery had a real chemistry between them and the relationship of their two characters really shown through the movie. Henry has some great lines and there is a lot of good comedy between the pair. For example, they reach Berlin and get the diary back from Elsa. However, Indy and Henry are swept up in a crowd and they come face to face with da fuhrer himself, Adolf Hitler! Hitler sees the diary in Indy's hand and he snatches it...and autographs a page in it, hands the book back to Indy, and proceeds along his way. That's just one of the many great scenes this movie has.

So to book it out of Berlin, the lion's den if you will, Indy and his father book passage on a Zeplin. I know my Indy movie reviews have been a bit more revealing that most of the other reviews have been, but I figured many people have seen them so it's not like I'm spoiling anything. Plus you can always read the summary after the grade in any of my reviews to get the over all feel of the movie. Yet, I'm not going to ruin all the good gags and jokes. So I'm going to move forward a bit.

After rescuing Marcus from the clutches of the evil Nazis; Indy, Henry, Sallah, and Marcus follow the Grail diary to the location of the Grail. The Nazis are there trying to get past the first of three tests. Once again, Indy and company get captured. Donovan shoots Indy's father in the stomach so that Indy will be forced to find the Grail. Again, I don't want to give everything away so I will stop here but only say that Indy's great adventure is wonderful to watch.

The movie ends perfectly too. This was one of the reasons why I really, kind of didn't want them to make a sequel. At the end, our four heroes ride off into the sunset on horseback. I can think of no other perfect ending for the Indiana Jones franchise.

Grade - A+

This is my favorite Indy movie. The script is written perfectly, there is great use of comedy, and Ford and Connery as Indy and father have the perfect chemistry and relationship for the movie. The action sequences are the best possible, and I believe this movie not only had better quality fight scenes, but also quantity. This movie brings back Indy's best foe, the Nazis, and the better storyline of following something based on Christian history. Indy did less fist fighting in this one but the action performed by Ford was top notch for the movie and for his career. Connery even gets a few great licks in and it's wonderful to see him regain some of his old James Bond charm and action back. The three tests that Indy has to go through at the end, I believe rival what he had to go through in "Raiders" and I think it's one of the most dramatic sequences in movie history. There is also no better ending to the Indy series that seeing him and his friends and father ride off into the sunset on horseback. It says that, the sun is setting on what we will see of Indy's adventures...but you know that he went on to have many, many more.

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