Ossus Library Index Action Movie Index

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

Directed by Steven Spielberg (1989, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Harrison Ford, Sean Connery and Allison Doody

Indy battles Nazis while looking for his father and for the Holy Grail in the middle-east.

View Count: 9 times

 

 

4 stars

November 14th, 2003 on DVD

 
    I take back what I said below -this movie is in no way a match for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The unabashed humor definitely brings the show down a notch.

Still, it is a great film. The action, as mentioned, is non-stop. Instead of a truck chase, as in Raiders, or a mine-car chase, as in Temple of Doom, we get a boat chase, followed by a motorcycle chase. I must say that this motorcycle chase was a lot more fun and interesting than the endless ones that we saw in Mission: Impossible 2 or Tomb Raider 2, for example. 

I thought Marcus was a total waste in this movie, except for being a pawn that takes the map to Cairo, thus frustrating Donovan for an essential five minutes (so that the Jones's aren't killed right away). Marcus, I believe, was supposed to be comedy, but the moment he gets to the desert, he turns into a total idiot. I realize that he's supposed to be sun-stroked, but he was not one bit funny, before meeting Sallah, in the jeep, or especially in the tank.

I did appreciate the father-son dynamic, though some parts struck me as false. I liked the progression through the movie, from antagonistic, where Indy is also torn between saving his father and finding the Grail, to camaraderie as they go to Berlin, to finally an understanding at the very end. Still, Indy's father doesn't concede very much to the relationship, though I guess he's too old for that. He doesn't think he's done anything wrong with his or his son's life, nor does he stop the hunt once he's safe. I do admit that allowing the Germans to retrieve the Grail would be a very dangerous thing to do. At the very end, though, he knows that possessing the Grail is not worth his son's life in exchange. The look on his face when he sees the Knight is priceless -oh, what they could have learned from him! I wonder how long he lived after that? They didn't even think to go back and see if he had survived, though that would probably be pointless.

The whole movie, like the others in this trilogy, was a lot of fun, regardless of my feelings of certain specific points. There is a lot to love here, and I love seeing it this way, with terrific sound (that stereo sound blows me away), and in widescreen. Once again, the widescreen brings out the shadows that the director seems to like in this Trilogy. Most noticeable during the entry to the knight's tomb in Venice, the shadows play wonderfully on the walls. It's really a neat effect.

I expected a little more from the behind-the-scenes features of this movie. I see how the jokes came to be, now, as they tried to out-do what they had done before. I liked the way the bugs in Temple topped the snakes, and the rats here tried to top the bugs. It was really cool to see how the cast and crew reacted when the camera wasn't rolling, and to see other shots when the camera was rolling, but without special effects. These documentaries were very interesting in another way, that they progressed chronologically through the film, instead of jumping back and forth. Alison Doody is still beautiful, as she talks about her experiences -I can't believe she was 21 in the movie! I also liked seeing the development of the plot, as they didn't really know what to do with it. I hope we get such details about the fourth movie, when it arrives on DVD. The trailer for this movie is the best of the three, actually showing the dynamic between the lead characters, and making it look interesting.

 

 

5 stars

February 19th, 2000 on Video

 
    This was even better than I remember it being.  I always remember it being good, but a little over-the-top because of all the humour involved.  I thought all the gags brought the show down. 

This time, I disagree!  The whole movie was non-stop action, with little comedy bits introduced every so often to keep the movie even.  Without them, it could have been quite a dark movie. 

The young Indy part was, of course, classic.  As a scout, young Indy finds an archaeologist digging up the Cross of Coronado.  He steals it, and is chased across fields until he gets to a moving circus train.  In one scene, we get Indy's fear of snakes, his whip, and the scar on his chin explained.  And just a short scene later, when the cross is given back to the archaeologist, he gets his hat, and the model for his life. 

Of course, as an adult, he gets to steal the cross back again.  And he gives it over to the museum.  He leaves his office through the window, to get away from all the unmarked papers and questioning students. 

But the men in the black coats and cars find him, and bring him to see Donovan, who is searching for the Holy Grail, and seems to have lost Indy's father, Henry, in Venice, while close on the trail of the grail. 

Indy and Marcus go in search of Henry, meet up with the beautiful Dr Schneider, and discover the tomb of the knight who discovered the grail centuries ago.  They barely escape with their lives, as they encounter a group of people devoted to keeping the location of the grail secret. 

They make their way to Austria to rescue Henry, while Marcus goes to Egypt to meet with Saleh to start looking for the temple that hides the grail.  Indy rescues his father, but they are captured when Dr. Schneider turns out to be a Nazi. 

They escape in yet another great motorcycle chase, and go to Berlin to steal Henry's grail diary back.  In Egypt, Marcus is captured by the Nazis. 

Henry and Indy travel by Zeppelin out of Berlin, but are chased nonetheless.  Indy takes the plane tied to the base of the Zeppelin and flies it over Germany, chased by fighter bombers.  They manage to defeat the two fighters using a tunnel and some seagulls. 

They make their way to Egypt, and try to rescue Marcus.  The ensuing tank chase is worth the movie price in itself.  It's great!  Unfortunately, the effect of the tank's demise is poorly done, and spoils part of the sequence. 

But the entire team eventually makes it to the temple.  But the Nazis are there first.  There seem to be several soldiers there with their heads chopped off.  Indy is discovered, and his father is shot.  That gives him good incentive to find the grail.  Indy passes successfully through the three booby traps, and meets the knight of the Round Table who is guarding the grail. 

Donovan and Dr. Schneider follow him in, and Donovan chooses the wrong grail, killing himself.  Indy finds the right one, and, after getting a bit of immortality himself (just to be sure), he brings a cup full to his father, saving his life. 

But Dr. Schneider is not satisfied with that.  She wants the grail.  She takes it across the protective seal in the floor, and the temple starts falling apart.  Her greed then kills her in a tumble to the depths of the Earth.  Indy almost succumbs to the same fate, but his father saves him by showing him that his son is more important than the grail. 

We finally learn the origin of the name Indiana (their dog), and they ride off into the sunset!

Funny, action-packed, and a meaningful renewing of the father-son relationship.  That makes for a great movie.  Truly enjoyable.  There are so many great parts that I don't think I can choose a favourite moment.  The favourite joke has to be "No ticket", but a very close runner up is when they discover a drawing of the Ark of the Covenant on a wall in the tomb, and she wants to know if he's sure that's what it is.  "Pretty sure," he says!  The in-jokes were great. 

No longer will I consider this to be second to Raiders.  It has to be ranked equal.  I can't bare to give it better marks, but it comes even, I think.

 

 

5 stars

June 6th, 1995 on Video

 
   

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