This Complete Adventures box set comes in a sturdy handsome package, which is shaped and opens much like a book, with each page showing new artwork and pictures for each adventure, each page housing one of five BD-50 discs: 1) Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981), 2) The Temple of Doom (1984), 3) The Last Crusade (1989), 4) The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and 5) Bonus Features.
All the four films arrived on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.35:1 encode.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (blu ray) 1981
Supervised by director Steven Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film. The original negative was first scanned at 4K and then examined frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired. The final result is a well-defined, fantastic cinematic presentation, that beat all the images from the past: from VHS tapes, laser discs to recent DVDs. The movie begins with arguably its weakest visual sequence in the forest and cave. But, the subsequent chase scene - Indy running from the Hovitos - reveals the film's brightest and most well-defined shots yet, with dazzling colours and clarity. The transfer is at its absolute demo-worthy best as Indy runs through the city, trying to rescue Marion before she's placed in the truck packed with explosives. The intricate detailing on the earthen coloured façades, the sandy terrain, the wicker baskets, and the dusty clothes is nothing short of mesmerizing. The interior of the map room is equally stunning; close-ups in those shots of Indy dusting off the floor reveal every last grain of sand. This is a very pleasing video presentation. (4/5)
The Temple of Doom (blu ray) 1984
The Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, that takes place a year prior to Raiders of the Lost Ark, before the Nazis started signing pacts with other countries and became a major worldwide threat. It's a warmer picture, with reddish flesh tones. Black levels are rock-solid. Detail is striking. From the beginning during Indy's lounge confrontation with Lao Che and on through to the final action scene on the bridge with Mola Ram, the image offers dazzling clothing and facial textures that reveal every skin crease, bead of sweat, and clothing stitch with pinpoint precision. The film's best scene comes at the end during the battle on the bridge. The worn-down wood and frayed rope textures are absolutely striking, never mind the sweaty and filthy and tattered clothes worn by a tired and banged-up archaeologist. The roller-coaster ride is still very exciting. (4.5/5)
The Last Crusade (blu ray) 1989
Being the last entry in the original trilogy, the third installment rides onto blu ray with the best presentation of the first three. This transfer displays a thinly-layered film grain and cleanly defined lines in clothing, buildings and surrounding foliage. Facial complexions appear natural with rich, lifelike textures, exposing every pore, wrinkle and trivial blemish. Contrast is quite vivid but very well-balanced with crisp, brilliant whites. Colours are bright and animated while blacks are often inky rich and penetrating. (5/5)
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (blu ray) 2008
This video transfer is the same as the one from its 2008 blu ray release, which I have bought previously. There is a fine grain. Details are extraordinary throughout the film. Facial textures are nothing short of fantastic, whether Indy's weathered and worn mug or Spalko's ultra-smooth skin that by design reveals not a single line or pore. The image is crisp and well defined. Colours are equally brilliant, especially in the day scenes. Blacks are inky and skin tones are natural. It is pure raw visual excellence. (5/5)
All four films have DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless tracks.
Raiders of the Lost Ark:
The sound design was similarly preserved using Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981. New stereo surrounds were created using the original music tracks and original effects recorded in stereo but used previously only in mono. In addition, the sub bass was redone entirely up to modern specifications and care was taken to improve dialogue and correct small technical flaws to create the most complete and highest quality version of the sound possible while retaining the director’s vision. The result is an impeccable digital restoration that celebrates the film and its place in cinematic history.
Thanks to the new restored soundtrack, Raiders of the Lost Ark has never sounded so good. This soundtrack dazzles with every explosion, all the supporting sound effects, and of course each note of John Williams' acclaimed, classic, and instantly recognizable main theme. Right from the get-go -- the Paramount logo that dissolves into a similar-looking Peruvian mountain -- the track introduces deep bass notes into the soundstage that are potent, that gave my two Velodyne subwoofers a real workout. We are simultaneously immersed into the jungle environment; striking ambience gently surrounds the listener. Williams' iconic score, especially, is fulfilling with distinct instrumentation, spreading into the rears to create a satisfyingly immersive soundfield. Outstanding track! Excellently restored! (5/5)
The Temple of Doom:
I still remember vividly using the opening sequence of singing, dancing and bullets ringing off the large gong in different direction, as an audio demo in my first Kloss Projection System in the early 90s with the laser disc. Now, the sound is much improved, crystal clear and precise in location. The whole soundtrack comes alive with John Williams’ brilliant score. Dialogue is pitch-perfect and clear in the center while the rest of the soundstage exhibits a welcoming and broad image that's consistently active. Dynamics deliver precise clarity in the orchestration and the several action sequences with some impressive echoing which enhance the soundfield. (5/5)
The Last Crusade:
This soundtrack is almost perfect in its fullness, spacing, bass, and clarity. Musical delivery is typically stunning, whether fast-paced action notes or more gentle dramatic elements. Spacing is true, the surrounds are used to marvelous effect, and the clarity of every note through the entire range is perfect. (5/5)
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
The original film was released in 2008 with Dolby True-HD. The new DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack does not sound all that different than its Dolby TrueHD counterpart. The low-end, perhaps, feels a little deeper and throatier, providing the design with some impressive depth, but otherwise, this lossless mix is identical to the 2008 Blu-ray. (Note: in the days of lossy audio, I always prefer DTS over Dolby Digital). Dialogue is distinct and intelligible from beginning to end, and John Williams' memorable score spreads into the back with terrific fidelity and envelopment. Directionality is precise with discrete, flawless panning, generating a highly-enjoyable, demo-worthy lossless mix. (5/5)
5TH DISC: BONUS FEATURES:
A large chunk of the supplemental package is a reiteration of what was seen in previous DVD releases. They can all be found on the fifth disc, except for the trailers. The only things missing are storyboard comparisons, still galleries, a short featurette on the trilogy and the intros with Spielberg and Lucas. It should be noted that not all the Special Features from the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (blu ray) were included here. So, I am glad that I have bought that disc, for completeness sake.
Two brand new high-def exclusives enter the supplemental package:
The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (SD 58 minutes)
On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark (HD)
When this set was first announced on Amazon.ca, it was initially called The Indiana Jones Collection for $69.99, which I preordered. Then, the title The Complete Indiana Jones Adventures came into existence. When I asked Amazon.ca whether both are the same, I was not given a proper satisfying answer. Finally, my Collection set merged and became the Complete Indiana Jones Adventures set. I was quite relieved. But currently, the title has reverted back to Indiana Jones Collection, instead of The Complete Adventure. God knows why? The price at one point went up to $74.99, but recently settled back down to $69.99.
This is an excellent box set (even though I bought the Kingdom of Crystal Skull already) with top-notched video/audio. All the movies are exciting and totally enjoyable to watch again, and they brought back many happy memories. This is the definitive edition for our beloved Doctor Jones, and is a must-own. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are both geniuses, who made these movies so enjoyable, even with repeated viewing.
Indian Jones franchise is very successful, grossing over $1,995 million worldwide. But the most successful franchise belongs to Harry Potter ($7,681 million worldwide). But the surprise hit franchise of all belongs to the Ice Age franchise, which has grossed over $2,758 million worldwide. I am very grateful that almost all these great movies franchise are available on blu ray (e.g., Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Aliens, including the upcoming Prometheus, and James Bond).
In summary, this Indiana Jones blu ray box set is very highly recommended, and a must-own.