Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
Director: Steven Spielberg
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade is far and away the second best Indiana Jones to date. The action is great, the plot is solid, and it brings back many of the the elements that made the first movie so, so good. It does stub it’s toe a few times, and we will talk about that, but overall it is a very good movie.
If you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, you should watch it right away. It’s on Disney Plus now, making it very easy to watch, and with Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny coming out right away, it’s a good time to explore past Indiana Jones adventures.
The best and most unique part of Indiana Jones is the way the movies connect, but not really. Harrison Ford stays on as Indiana Jones, but other than that, we have a revolving door of characters. The style is episodic, something we don’t see in movies today all that often. It allows the writer and the director to take some liberties with events in-between movies, hoping into stories that don’t tie directly into the previous film. I love that about all of the Indiana Jones movies, as it prevents any kind of slow pacing or stretching of story to create a narrative that lasts multiple movies.
The Last Crusade is no different, opening and closing quite suddenly. I like the way we jump straight into the movie, developing characters as we go along. The pacing is quite good, keeping a nice mix of action and story that is sure to keep viewers both engaged and intrigued. The conclusive ending works really well in this movie, providing a satisfying ending and few leads on what is next for Indiana Jones.
For the third movie in a row, Indiana Jones sets out on an adventure for a famous artifact. This time around it’s the Holy Grail. We see some connections to the first film, where Indy sets out for the Ark of the Covenant, give that review a gander. As well, there are many different puzzles and artifacts collected throughout the movie that build towards the pot at the end of the rainbow.
Henry Jones Sr., Indy’s father, is obsessed with the Holy Grail and has dedicated his life to finding it. While on the case, he mysteriously disappears. After hearing this news, Indy sets out on the quest that consumes his father. He discovers the Nazis desperately want the Grail and the poor that comes with it. With his trusty fedora and whip, Indiana Jones sets off to save his father and find the Holy Grail.
I enjoyed the plot. I found the different subplots, like Jones Sr. going missing, helped maintain a good pace without shortening the movie or creating a lull. The movie was interesting, walking the fine line between too little history and too much history. The plot line is well set up, with enough ups and downs to keep viewers on the edge of their seat without causing too much chaos.
Indiana Jones continues to be the protagonist in his movies, and I really enjoy the character. The more Indiana we see, the more layers we uncover. He’s really smart, and quite clever, but we are learning he’s more than that. He has emotions, he cares for people, and not everything is about finding the artifact and getting the glory. I like the way his character continues to flesh out, and above anything else, I love Harrison Ford in this role. It’s classic, it works so well, and I wouldn’t change his performance at all.
Henry Jones Sr. on the other hand provides a direct look into who Indy could have been, and also who he gets certain traits from. The old man is stubborn beyond belief, but very intelligent. He too learns a lot over the course of this movie, and while he starts off very one-dimensional he becomes a more dynamic character by the end. He’s a pain in the butt, but he’s funny and brings a different vibe to The Last Crusade.
We have another female lead that plays a decent role, but remains underdeveloped through the movie. Elsa is another female lead that provides more interest than Willie in The Temple of Doom, but she doesn’t develop much more than Willie. Her character is just stronger from the beginning, and remains fairly stagnant over the course of the film. I understand she doesn’t play a huge role, but she’s involved enough to potentially show some development as we progress through this movie.
All in all, characters and plot were solid. Neither were spectacular, but they were pretty good and didn’t take away from the movie. The action on the other hand, was the selling point. The different settings that this movie explores makes for some incredible shots, and some really cool action scenes.
From tanks, to horses, to a blimp, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade features a plethora of action scenes, and most of them are jams. They are part of the plot, and not just useless filler, which I love. It makes sense that they have a tank. It makes sense they are on a blimp. All of the really cool shots fit and progress the story, and it makes the movie flow nicely.
With that being said, this movie does show it’s age. It goes without saying that certain lines and such from movies made in the 80s are going to reflect poorly, so I will leave that as is. I am referring to both CGI and a scene that makes no sense.
Spoilers ahead so beware.
When Indiana Jones and Jones Sr. escape the blimp in a plane and get into a dog fight, we see some terrible CGI. The scene involves a mix of CGI and practical stunts, and it’s so jarring it takes away from the incredible practical shots taken. Any time you can see Harrison Ford or Sean Connery, it looks like there is an outline separating the real and the created. It’s an old movie, and I get it, but holy man it doesn’t stand the test of time. The worst part is that one second it looks terrible, and the next second it’s an actual plane that looks super cool.
I think they got too involved in trying to create a ground breaking scene, and it aged poorly. The other area of concern is the tank scene. Indiana Jones gets stuck on the gun, between the tank and the rock face. You can watch it below, the section starts around 5:00. He’s hanging onto the gun while being attacked, and all of the sudden, his bag gets stuck on the gun. It goes from hanging to wrapped around the gun, and then it’s holding his entire body weight. Then it magically gets unstuck and Indiana Jones climbs up onto the tank. Unless Indy invented a strap that can pass through objects at will, this scene makes absolutely no sense.
Other than that, I really enjoyed Indian Jones and The Last Crusade. The movie is interesting, the plot is good, and our characters are decent. Most importantly, the pacing is really good, and it’s fun to watch. Indy does some ridiculous things, explores some very intense areas, and solves a few puzzles that get your brain thinking. That’s about all you can ask for from an Indian Jones movie.