Pros:Ford and Connery are great, lots of action and humour
Cons:Alison Doody is a bit of a wet fish
The Bottom Line: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is excellent entertainment. Can the fourth installment match it?!?
Indiana Jones is, of course, not only an amazingly intrepid archaeologist (not exactly a profession known for inspiring intrepidness), but also very good at foiling the plots of the bad guys. First the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then an ancient Indian cult in The Temple of Doom. In The Last Crusade he’s back dealing with the Nazis, and proving that it is in fact possible to come up with even more spurious scriptural interpretation than he did in Raiders.
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At the beginning of the film we see young Indy (played by River Phoenix), a boy scout on a mission to save an ancient relic from the clutches of the bad guys. In this scene we see where he gets his later, famous hat and bullwhip image from; we also get to meet his father (Sean Connery), and he learns that you can’t win them all (a very important lesson for anyone).
His father is a student of Grail lore – possibly the world’s leading expert on the “Holy Grail”, which legend has it was the cup Christ drank from at the Last Supper and drinking from which can bestow the drinker with eternal life. Various spurious interpretations tied in with probably spurious legends about the Knights Templar lead to an exciting discovery… but Jones Senior may just have fallen into the wrong hands, and Jones Jr (Harrison Ford) Is called upon to save the day. There’s also the token love interest (this time in the form of Dr Elsa Schnieder, played by Alison Doody, who was attractive but rather uninteresting). Plenty of rip-roaring action, Nazi-bashing, and ancient secrets laying untouched for centuries or millennia – unearthed in minutes by the prodigious Dr Jones. It’s a silly but engaging plot, with good action scenes backed up by plenty of humour. In the supporting cast, Denholm Elliot (Dr Marcus Brody) and John Rhys-Davies (Sallah) again give wonderful performances as the bumbling doctor and boisterous Egyptian (with a very unconvincing accent!). Though some of the special effects do look a bit dated now, it’s still a veritable visual feast, and John Williams’ superb musical score makes sure that it sounds great too.
However, the real magic in this film was the wonderful chemistry between Connery and Ford. Jones Senior is often on his own planet, completely oblivious to everything that’s going on around him, and forever infuriating Indiana by calling his “Junior”. Jones Junior (sorry) on the other hand is resentful that his father never seemed to have much time for him when he was a child – but when they do have time to spend together, he doesn’t know quite what to do with it. This leads to some ve3ry amusing scenes as well as one or two quite touching ones.
Overall, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is just about as good as it gets when it comes to action movies. Ford and Connery work together so well, and despite the somewhat disappointing femme fatale, the non-stop action and humour combine to make a wonderful movie. Probably my favourite out of the three (soon to be four) Indiana Jones films, though it’s a very close-run contest with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not a movie to think deeply about, but one to relax, watch, and enjoy.
Runtime: 127 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (USA) - PG (UK)
Indiana Jones on archeology:
"Archaeology is the search for fact... not truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall."
Jones Senior on his son's exploits:
"You call *this* archaeology?"
Jones Senior reflecting on choosing to mail something to his son:
"I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers."
Some sound advice to Jones Junior:
"You lost today, kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it."
Jones Junior becomes the Love Doctor to his father:
"It's disgraceful, you're old enough to be her... her grandfather."
Names are funny things:
"The dog? You are named after the dog?"
With allies like this, who needs enemies?:
"He once got lost in his own museum."
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
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If you'd rather be Indiana Jones than watch him, try LEGO Indiana Jones.
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