Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ***1/2

Harrison Ford and Sean Connery

Harrison Ford and Sean Connery

“Indian Jones and the Last Crusade” is a return to glory for this franchise.  After the dark turn that “Temple of Doom” took, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas return this character to lighter and more entertaining fair.  This time he is looking for the holy grail which is said to give eternal life to whomever drinks from it.  The movie is basically another journey for Jones through a series of chases, traps, fights, and special effects.  I would have called it a lesser version of “Raiders”, but it adds a fresh new character that spices up the events.  Indiana’s father, played by Sean Connery. 

Connery is the perfect foil for Harrison Ford.  Jones senior is not impressed with the way his son jumps recklessly into dangerous situations.  He also disapproves of Indiana’s dry outlook of the world.  Connery and Ford have great chemistry together, and help propel what would have been a slightly routine adventure film. 

Even though this is not really original territory anymore, nobody can navigate absurd waters like Indiana Jones.  He always seems outside of everybody around him.  He has a slight smirk in the face of evil doers.  He goes up against the Nazi’s yet again, which almost seems to him like an inconvenience. 

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was the last gasp in a certain era of film making.  The heroes, literally, ride off in to the sunset at the end of the film.  This is symbolic in more ways then one.  In the following years, visual effects would replace special effects in big budget film making.  This allowed directors more freedom to realize their visions, but it also replaced a sense of realism in films.  To know that a stunt is actually taking place, to me, adds more excitement to the movie.  But times change.

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