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Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
The Film (Temple of Doom)
The Film (The Last Crusade)
The Film (The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
The Video (Overall) (Raiders)
The Video (Overall) (Temple)
The Video (Overall) (Crusade)
The Video (Overall) (Crystal Skull)
HDR Effect (Raiders)
HDR Effect (Temple)
HDR Effect (Crusade)
HDR Effect (Crystal Skull)
The Sound (All Films)
The Supplements (Overall Collection)
Overall

SUMMARY

All four adventures of the swashbuckling, globetrotting archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) are brought together in this newly restored and remastered 4K collection arriving in time for the 40th anniversary of the original 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.

Indiana Jones 4-Movie 4K UHD CollectionThe Indiana Jones films started life in the mind of George Lucas with the intention that they would recall and recreate the 1930s Saturday matinee adventure serial films. The story of the adventurous archeologist seeking out these paranormal artifacts ruminated for a while until Lucas got together with Steven Spielberg, who would direct all four eventual films in the franchise, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan who would bang out the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark with the input on set pieces that should be in the film from Lucas and Spielberg.

The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (it would eventually be renamed with the “Indiana Jones and…” tag), which introduced the world to the swaggering college professor and artifact seeking archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds Indy searching for the biblical Ark of the Covenant said to grant great power to whomever wields it. With an old flame Marion (Karen Allen) along for the adventure Indy must get to the Ark and bring it to his museum before the Nazis get ahold of it.

The Temple of Doom takes the film franchise much darker and moves it to India. Dark magic rituals, human sacrifices and monkey brains for dinner define this film that also features a new beautiful woman, nightclub singer Willie (Kate Capshaw) wherein Indy is asked to find a mystical stone in India. Many of the action set pieces were left over from Raiders of the Lost Ark and could not fit into that film but brought over into this one with the story built around it by screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. It doesn’t work quite as well as but there were still flashes of brilliance and more than enough to keep the franchise in the black and people wanting more.

The Last Crusade, which was intended as, well, the last film of the franchise, brings in Sean Connery as Indy’s dad. First an action/adventure film that focuses on the uneasy dynamic between Indiana Jones and his father, also a professor, who happens to have a particular lifelong obsession with finding the fabled Holy Grail. When he goes missing, Indy must find him and save him then together they must team up to find the Grail and keep it out of the hands of the Nazis. This film is probably the funniest and second best overall in the entire franchise, with Connery elevating it to another level.

The final film, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull arrived some 19 years after The Last Crusade, and not only was age not kind to the star of the franchise, but it also wasn’t kind to the franchise. The series itself is shifted from the 1930s into the 1950s and George Lucas and Steven Spielberg intended to stay true to the spirit of Indiana Jones by making it in the style of a 1950s B-movie alien genre flick. So, this time out Indy must find a crystal skull that is said to possess great power while the Soviets are also hunting the skull and investigating the mystery of these items for their own gain. Shia LaBeouf plays a young leather-clad Harley riding tough named Mutt Williams who was a friend of a Professor Indiana knew. This film quite literally nuked the fridge on the franchise and if it ever comes back (hopefully it doesn’t) it would need a complete reboot in some very, very capable hands to revive.

The Video

Every movie in the Indiana Jones franchise was shot on 35mm film stock, including the 2008 Crystal Skull, which was also completely edited on film like the previous three films in the franchise. These new 2021 remasters have been rescanned from the original camera negatives at 4K and visual effects work redone re-matted at 4K. The presentations for each film on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs are in 2.39:1 HEVC 2160p with Dolby Vision HDR.

The best looking of the classic trilogy is ironically the oldest and original film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, despite some weird DNR in the first ten minutes or so of the film in the opening jungle sequences. The film settles in, and we see a lot of natural grain structure. The Dolby Vision is not exceptionally bright on any of the films, maxing out at a MaxFALL of just over 500 nits in Crystal Skull and just over 200 for Raiders, but there are plenty of moments where there is some good added ‘pop’ in the colors or some nice specular highlights. In Raiders, for instance, the bar scene provided plenty of opportunity for the Dolby Vision to shine as we see the light shining the through the candy-colored bottles behind the bar or as the fire burns in the hearth.

Temple of Doom is the third best looking of the classic trilogy, showing just some hints of washout in the shadows at times, but it does have some brilliant color reproduction especially when Indy and Willie stumble across the ritual in the underground temple and there’s flush of vermillion that washes over the scene.

The Last Crusade is the most consistent looking of the original trilogy, but probably has the least HDR ‘pop’ although like the rest of the films, looks gorgeous with good film grain, texture, and depth of field.

Finally, Crystal Skull, the most recent of the films and the epilogue, looks the cleanest of the bunch, has some of the inkiest blacks and also the brightest specular highlights of all the films. The flashlights and flames all really ‘pop’ nicely in this film and the scene in the warehouse offers a chance for some good contrast between these highlights and the dark shadowy areas.

The Audio

Each film has been remixed in Dolby Atmos as the only English option except for Crystal Skull which also comes with an English Audio Description track. For catalogue remixes these are some of the best I have heard. The famous John Williams score sets the mood with clean, clear and airy sound, excellent dynamic range and a wonderful sense of height awareness for the atmospherics. Standout moments for the mixes include, of course, the boulder rolling overhead in Raiders and the gunfight in the bar also from Raiders, where the gunshots now have so much more power in them and come from all around. Last Crusade’s standout aural moment will be the aerial gunfight as Indy and his father try to flee the Nazis — the airplanes and gunfire buzz overhead and all around while the low end, again, is nicely extended. Crystal Skull presents the infamous “nuke the fridge” scene as one of its recommended reference audio sequences while Temple of Doom’s opening nightclub musical sequence, subsequent fight and airplane escape/rafting set pieces are some great scenes that show off the great mix in this film.

The Supplements

Nothing included is new but there is a special features Blu-ray Disc included that bundles together all the previously released archival making of documentaries and behind the scenes featurettes that cover multiple aspects of the production of each film from special effects and scoring to audio effects and on-location filming. The 4K discs each only have the theatrical trailers and/or teaser trailers for the film.

  • Digital Code
  • Foldout Map

Raiders of the Lost Ark

  • Teaser Trailer (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Re-Issue Trailer (1080p)

Temple of Doom

  • Teaser Trailer (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p)

The Last Crusade

  • Teaser Trailer (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p)

Kingdom of the Crystal Scull

  • Theatrical Trailer 2 (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer 3 (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer 4 (1080p)

Special Features Blu-ray Disc

  • On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1080p; 00:57:53)
    • From Jungle to Desert
    • From Adventure to Legend
  • Making the Films
    • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (SD; 00:57:48)
    • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (SD; 00:50:52)
    • The Making of The Temple of Doom (SD; 00:41:09)
    • The Making of The Last Crusade (SD; 00:35:03)
    • The Making of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (1080i; 00:28:49)
  • Behind the Scenes
    • The Stunts of Indiana Jones (SD; 00:10:56)
    • The Sound of Indiana Jones (SD; 00:13:21)
    • The Music of Indiana Jones (SD; 00:12:22)
    • The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones (SD; 00:12:22)
    • Raiders: The Melting Face! (SD; 00:08:12)
    • Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies w/optional pop-up trivia track (SD; 00:11:46)
    • Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations w/optional pop-up trivia track (SD; 00:09:58)
    • Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute (SD; 00:09:15)
    • Indy’s Friends and Enemies (SD; 00:10:10)
    • Iconic Props (1080i; 00:09:52)
    • The Effects of Indy (1080i; 00:22:34)
    • Adventures in Post Production (1080i; 00:12:36)

The Final Assessment

This collection rises to the occasion, the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark that is,  with excellent sound and video, nicely rescanned visual effects and a strong collection of archival special features. Indy fans should pick this set up.

Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection is out on 4K Ultra HD + Digital June 8, 2021 from Paramount

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All four adventures of the swashbuckling, globetrotting archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) are brought together in this newly restored and remastered 4K collection arriving in time for the 40th anniversary of the original 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)