(Review originally written at 11 October 2006)

After the slightly disappointing "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", Indiana Jones returns to its basic roots how the series began with, with "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Once more Indiana Jones is searching for an holy artifact (the holy grail) and is traveling around the world and once more he is being chased by the Nazi's.

Entertainment really doesn't become any better than this. Never ever has there been another more entertaining and solid movie serial based around one central heroic character. Indiana Jones is an heroic adventurous person that we all admire and would love to be like. It's one of the key elements that makes the Indiana Jones movies so popular and entertaining to watch, all over the world. East or West, poor or rich, everyone loves to watch an Indiana Jones movie.

This third establishment of the Indiana Jones trilogy is in my opinion the best. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" might be more entertaining but "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" has more than enough things in it that makes this movie such a classic and perfect one to watch.

One thing is of course the perfect imaginative story, with locations set all over the world. The story takes us to some of the wonderful places of this planet and does this in a good and consistent pace. The one moment the Jones' are in Venice the next in Germany but this doesn't work distracting at all. This is thanks to the very well flowing story. But also the story itself is very imaginative and great. It has all the elements a adventurous movie needs, chases, lot's of action, a heroic main character and some stereotype evil villains. Perhaps only thing this movie misses is a good love story.

This movie is probably also the most personal of the series. It begins with young Indy's first adventure (River Phoenix) and it introduces Indy's father (Sean Connery). It gives the movie some room for a more dramatic undertone about family, a returning element in many Spielberg and Lucas movies. But don't worry, it isn't an overly present element in the movie. The movie really lies its emphasis and its entertainment and adventurous action. Still its an element that enriches the movie and makes it so much more than just another mindless entertaining-flick.

The movie also brings some characters back that were severely missing in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Marcus Brody is back and this time, unlike his "Raiders of the Lost Ark" role, serves as the comic relief of the movie. It works extremely effective for the movie and it's one of the reasons why his character has grown out into a classic movie character. This is of course also thanks to Denholm Elliott's perfect portrayal of the character. Another returning character is Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), who in this movie is perhaps even more entertaining than he was in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

One of the things that makes this movie better and lets it distinct itself from the other Indiana Jones movies is the presence of Sean Connery as Indiana Jones his father. He and Harrison Ford have an amazing chemistry together, even though they are only 12 years apart. It gives the movie so much more extra. An old man doesn't seem a likely choice for a spectacular, adventurous action movie but mainly because of that contrast his character works out so well and entertaining in the movie.

Also great characters in this movie are the villains. Julian Glover is good as the main villain. He is as British as he can be but he pulls off a, to my ears, convincing American accent. Michael Byrne is really memorable as the Nazi colonel Vogel. He perhaps plays the most stereotypical memorable Nazi out of cinematic history.

The action is truly superb and very well directed. It provides the movie with some memorable sequences and spectacular moments.

The John Williams musical score is the icing on the cake. It's spectacular, sweeping and matches perfectly with everything happening on the screen. Also the cinematography is quite superb. It's a perfect ending for Douglas Slocombe's career, who is still alive but is retired.

Sure, Indiana Jones 4 (if it ever gets made, still have my doubts if it will) will most probably be good and at least entertaining to watch but fact remains that this movie forms a perfect ending for the series. The heroes riding into the sunset, can it be anymore symbolic, definitive and perfectly suiting?


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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