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Whill

Lucas does it again: Attack of the CG Melting Nazis! (80s Indiana Jones on blu-ray)

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I'm sure it is painfully obvious how much of a movie nerd I am. The biggest influence on that was my dad who was also a big fan of watching movies when I was growing up in the pre-home-video era. Whatever wasn't being shown on the three commercial TV networks, you had to see in the theater (or drive-in). However our family was fairly poor, so seeing a movie in a theater was a special occasion, probably why I value the experience so much to this day.

 

In 1981, my family saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in our small-town theater (the same theater I had seen Star Wars in). Three years later, my dad picked-up my brother and I on the last day of school in early June of 1984, and we created our own double-header: Romancing the Stone in the downtown theater, then we drove south of town to the drive-in to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with the "charm" of listening to the film's audio through a crappy mono speaker on the car window (this was even before they broadcast it on your car radio). Those were my only viewings of those two Indy films (until much later on home video). Over the summer of 1989, I was in high school with a part-time job, and I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade several times with friends... And then a couple years ago on my birthday, my best friend and wife suprised me by renting a theater auditorium for many friends and family to watch Raiders again, which was the best birthday present ever, but slightly less than perfect because my friend only had the full screen DVD to provide for the projection (However I was so thankful for the awesome surprise theatrical birthday party that I was polite enough to not ever mention that slightly dissappointing fact).

 

To promote the classic Indiana Jones films being released in high-definition for the first time (Tuesday 9/18), Raiders had a limited one-week only IMAX re-release, only in AMC theaters (9/7-13). IMAX was hardly even a consideration, but I took advantage of the opportunity to see it again, mainly since my second theatrical viewing of Raiders in the theater was in full screen, and the source (commercial DVD) was not specifically designed for digital theatrical presentation.

 

As far as I could tell in the theater, the remaster was impressive, just like you've come to expect from the technogically innovative Lucasfilm. CG melting Nazis? Nah, I just made that up to get the Lucas-bashers all riled up. You'll all be relieved to know there are absolutely no additions of CG characters or objects anywhere in the film. No outright changes have been made to the movie. Besides the general definition upgrade, I only even noticed a few improvements to special effects. In the first and last close-up with the cobra in the Well of the Souls, the cobra's reflection in the glass has finally been removed. Yey! But inexplicably, the middle cobra shot still has the reflection! It's Luke's inconsistently-corrected lightsaber-color on the Falcon all over again! At the climactic scene of the film, the seraphim as they first fly out of the Ark, and the divine energy bolts shooting through all of the Nazis were noticeably crisper. But the seraph transformation into her demonic appearence is still extremely blurry as always (in fact it seemed even more blurry in relation to the rest of the crisper-looking film). And the melting villains are still the same ol' melting-wax effects they've always been.

 

Also to promote the blu-ray release, a single Indiana Jones theatrical marathon was held at select AMC theaters yesterday only (9/15) for one ticket price, where all four movies were shown in order of original release with a 15-minute intermission in between each film. Now for me, more than two movies is just too much for one day (especially back-to-back), even a special day like this with some of my favorite movies back in the theater. I had now seen Raiders twice and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a few times in the theater in recent years, so I didn't bother with them. The main film I wanted to see was Temple of Doom since I had never seen that in a theater, but I thought it would be cool to watch Last Crusade in the theater for the first time since 1989. (So yes, I paid a bulk price for four movies in one day but only watched two of them.) Just like Raiders, the second and third IJ films look better but there are no CG additions or changes made to the films.

 

And I wasn't the only one wearing a fedora at the marathon. It was a totally awesome experience to be in a theater full of die hard Indiana Jones fans all laughing, clapping and cheering to the Temple of Doom. I just don't understand the criticisms I've heard of that film. You are a big fan of all three classic IJ films and just love Raiders and/or Crusade more than Temple? OK. You like Nazis more than evil cult members as villains? OK, sure. You just have a personal preference of the other two movies over Temple? I can wrap my head around all that. But Raiders and Crusade are both awesome while Temple sucks? I just don't get that. Temple of Doom is action-packed and chock full of high-quality pulp goodness. The mine cart chase sequence is pure and utter cinematic genius, a literal roller coaster ride on film. Like the other classic IJ movies, Temple is a masterpiece adventure film. The community experience of watching this in the theater for the first time (with others who appreciate the film as much as I do) literally brought lumps to my throat and tears to my eyes.

 

And the Temple of Doom is actually the most unique of the four IJ films. It was written to incorporate sequences unused in Raiders, and intentionally further designed to be a different film than Raiders. As great as the Last Crusade is as a film in its own right, Lucas and Spielberg freely admit that it is a thinly-disguised remake of Raiders. And I'm not going to bother speaking any specific praises for Crystal Skull here (I just say I like the movie though not as much as the classic IJ films). But just like the previous sequel, Crystal Skull is yet another re-working of Raiders. Raiders technically still wins the award for the most original of the four films just because it came first, but Temple is explicitely not a remake of Raiders and definitely the most unique. Perhaps that's a possible explaination for some of the intense dislike I hear about for Temple. Perhaps some people just unconsciously compare Temple to Raiders, and their love of Raiders and Crusade drives their dislike of Temple just because it is different. Perhaps my being fully conscious of the Raiders sequels really being remakes drives my view of the franchise to have a very loose continuity, better allowing me to fully enjoy each IJ movie completely independantly of each other. Anyway,

 

1 theater ticket for Raiders in IMAX (including a small version of the new movie poster) - $12.

1 theater ticket for the IJ marathon (including a large poster of the blu-ray set cover art plus $5 towards concessions) - $25.

Watching the Temple of Doom in the theater with other huge fans of the film - Priceless

 

So now I've seen all four Indiana Jones films in the theater in the past few years, and I'm defintely buying the blu-ray set on Tuesday. Crystal Skull was previously available on blu-ray, but I'm happy that I never bought it because I just knew that when they finally released the classic ones on blu-ray it would be a set with all four films (Lucasfilm is somewhat predictible). I like Crystal Skull but didn't want to buy it twice. For those into special features, I've read that the blu-ray set will have (collected on a fifth disc) every feature from the standard 2003 classic DVD set and the 2008 classic film DVDs, along with two new Raiders features and some of the previous Crystal Skull features. Best Buy and Amazon.com both have the Indiana Jones blu-ray set's initial price at $64.99 (suggested retail price $99.98).

Edited by Whill

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That's cool you got to see all the Indiana Jones movies in a theater, all in a row! I've yet to have an opportunity to do something like that. I probably wouldn't mind it for the Indiana Jones movies, the Star Wars original trilogy (even I couldn't sit for all six of them), the Jurrasic Park movies, and that's probably it.

 

I'm kind of curious...where in the world did you get concessions for an IJ marathon for ONLY 5 dollars?!? That's got to be the cheapest I've ever heard of concessions in a movie theater. I think the last time I spent that little for concessions as a movie was in 1977 or so.

 

I'm torn on the Blu-Ray release of the Indiana Jones movies. I already own the DVD 4 disc set (the 4th disc being the special features of the trilogy). While I didn't mind 95% of the Crystal Skull, I was much less enthused about the ending. So it hasn't been real high on my purchase list. Since my DVDs play in my Blu-Ray player, it almost seems redundant to get the Blu-Ray version, especially since I don't have a fancy television to watch them on. Still, it's good to hear that the changes made were only to clean things up. I didn't mind when that was done for the Star Wars trilogy back in the day, and actually appreciated it, so I guess if I ever get a better TV I might slap down the money for the new set.

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My concession costs weren't only $5. The $25 price for the marathon included:

 

1. Admission for any to all of the four IJ films.

2. A laynard with a big flat plastic image of the Chachapoyan fertility idol that had the schedule on the back (individual movie start times). This served as a "day-pass" for the marathon.

3. A full-sized movie poster with the blu-ray set cover (based on the 2003 DVD set image of Indiana Jones with images from all four films added to the background.

4. $5 towards concessions.

 

With being there for 2 movies and not having lunch beforehand, it was very easy to spend much more than $5 on concessions. :)

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Way to pull me in with the inflammatory title... That's actually a much more enjoyable story than what I was expecting. I breathed a sigh of relief over the melting wax scene being left intact.

 

The Raiders and Temple are my absolute favorites of the series. Probably time to watch them again since it's been a few years. So much pulpy goodness. I enjoyed Crusade but it seemed a little too polished and the jokes were too self-referencing (which is usually a sign for me that the creativity in a franchise is starting to wane and it's starting to feed on its own popularity, just like with Star Wars.)

 

I laughed through pretty much all of Crystal Skull. It just didn't have that same energy as the first 2 movies and it was so over the top.

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Raiders and Temple are my absolute favorites of the series.

 

Hello! The extreme dislike I commonly encounter for Temple is mind-boggling. I am very pleased to make your acquaintance as a Temple of Doom fan. And since you now know there are no alterations, you must re-watch the original two films in high-definition. You will not be disappointed.

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