on May 26, 2003
I was mightily surprised to see the overwhelmingly positive reviews for this film. Sure, it's wall-to wall high-octane action, but there is a distinct sense that we've seen it all before, and you know what? It was in the first film of the series.
I know, I know - Indiana Jones is a paean to the matinee action-adventure films of Spielberg's youth, and it isn't meant to be clever (just as well, because it sure ain't) but any sense of pacing, storyline or (god forbid) acting is ditched in favour of big set pieces and pedal-to-metal ACTION.
Indy engages - across several continents - in down-to-the-wire fights on trains, planes, airships, motorbikes, speedboats, tanks and horses, shags the obligatory blonde vixen (who - quelle surprise - turns out not to have his best interests at heart), defeats the Nazis (again) and patches up things with his estranged Dad and never once do you get the feeling that anyone was in this for anything other than the money.
It's like about four bad Bond films rolled into one - even to the point of featuring Sean Connery! Indeed, I doubt it was far from the director's mind that Indiana Jones might supplant the long standing (but, by 1990, very tired) 007 franchise as the bankable high thrills, no brains, lotsa-formula blockbuster for the 1990s.
Fortunately, Harrison Ford had better things to do.
on April 26, 2003
The title really means it. This is in my opinion the greatest action/adventure film ever made. Every film genre- be it action, comedy, horror,etc, has a film within it which stands out as the greatest of its kind. For me, in action films its without a doubt indiana jones and the last crusade. Personally, action/adventure films are my favourite kind of film, and this makes TLC a definite contender for my favourite film ever made.
Compared to its two siblings, The Temple of Doom and Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is the best of the three, only slightly better than raiders but much superior to The Temple of Doom.
The reasons why i think this is such a great film are numerous- for a start, it has probably the best action sequences ever. It opens with a great bang, as we see a young Indy trying to outsmart a gang of thugs on a train, the train being filled with snakes, lions, tigers and the like, and this is a great sequence and gives us more background on the young Indy, something that the first two films more or less failed to do. The film has many great action pieces right form start to finish. Every action set-piece in the film is smart, lively, fun and quite splendid.
The choice of enemy is great too- instead of the primitives seen in Temple of Doom, we go back to raiders, and the enemy is that most odious of foes, the cunning and evil Nazis. These bring the correct malice to the film so it never becomes too tongue-in-cheek to be innefective.
The cast is great too- everyone seems to be very adept at playing their roles, and as for the lead himself, no-one better could be picked for the job. He's tough, clever but not too nasty, and unlike alot of action stars, pulls off the romance and drama quite nicely. You never feel between the action that the film is wearing itself out. Sean connery is great as Indy senior- he just brings so much class to the film.
The plot is that of your typical saturday morning serial- the great action hero trying to save the world from an evil foe. It's basic, but romance works like a charm in this movie and the plot never feels convuleted- it always flows along with the storyline. The one liners in this film are pretty deft too- such as when in the tank, and the man quotes 'the pen is mightier than the sword' after knocking out an evil nazi with standard blue ink.
Plot, cast and action are great about the movie, but what really makes this great is that it has buckets of charm. The proceedings are smooth and fast-paced, and the whole thing feels so classily directed and full of fun that its nigh on impossible not to like this film. You can watch it any time, any where, and it makes such a suitable movie for a huge audience. Great family movie- although the action is quite intense at times and the film is slightly violent, it never becomes too violent for younger moviegoers and is a great film for any age of person.
That's what makes this great too- it can be recommended to anybody. If there is an action directed with better pace, more flair or better set-pieces, than no-one has told me i can tell you. I would recommend this movie masterpiece as a centerpiece to any collection. So, to summerise:
Pros: Fast, fun, lively, action-packed, great cast, good dialogue between characters, entertainment value is very high.
Cons: None that are obvious.
Verdict: Greatness in film. Recommend to anyone who has even a slight interest in films. Can be viewed successively and still retain a high entertainment value. Star rating: 5/5.
on February 26, 2003
The third and more than likely the best of the Indiana Jones sage brings the archaeologist fighter hero full circle from the Palaces of the tropical jungles of India, back to the now Nazi controlled Germany and the deserts of the Middle East and is a return to the atmosphere of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" but with a slightly more Apocalyptic feel. Sallah and Marcus Brody are also back after their absence from "The Temple of Doom". The adventure begins with a large Nazi band lead by the villain leader Walter Donovan captures Marcus Brody and is on a quest to find The Holy Grail in hope of gaining eternal life and immortality.
This movie is probably the best of the three movies, although I might say that about "The Temple Of Doom" as I sometimes feel that it's a toss-up between these two movies in my opinion but I cannot deny that "The Last Crusade" has the most substance and the most fun of all of the three IJ movies while "Temple Of Doom" suffers a little bit from it's negative portrayal of India and it's people and I feel for these reasons, The Last Crusade is the better one in my opinion and easily the best of the three Indiana Jones movies and is Spielberg's crowning achievement in his entire directing career.
Indiana Jones finds himself reuniting with his father Henry Jones Sr. (played by Sean Connery), and Henry Sr. vanished during his quest for finding the Holy Grail. At first when asked by Walter Donovan and Elsa Schneider to help acquire the cup of Jesus Indiana refuses, but he then reluctantly agrees when he finds out that the archaeologist who was missing was actually his father Henry Jones Sr, who he hadn't spoken to much in 20 years. Donovan is the leader of a Nazi band who is after the Cup of Jesus to use for their evil purpose of attaining the gift of eternal life. Indiana's longtime friend Marcus Brody is kidnapped by Nazi crusaders. Indy realizes that the Nazi's are planning to use the Grail to become immortal and Indy must stop them from gaining ahold on them but then, the Nazi soldiers who are after it have no idea of the Grails power and the possible consequences.
The father-son relationship in this movie is probably the best father-son relationship that I've ever seen in any movie. Both Harrison Ford and Sean Connery steal the show with their roles. No other movie in my opinion shows such a great father-son relationship. There are a lot of funny lines in the movie especially with some occasional arguments between Indy and his dad and it's especially funny with Indy expressing his resentment of being called "Junior". I just wonder whatever happened with Indy's mother. Did she die or simply leave the family a long time ago? That's the only thing I think that was missing but oh well. Sean Connery does such a wonderful job in bringing out the character in Henry Jones Sr. Henry Jones Sr. and his son Indiana Jones make the best father-son action duo in any movie that I've ever seen and it shows that one is never too old to be a hero.
I must say that Elsa was a great and charismatic character. I definitely prefer the evilness of her over the annoying cowardice of Willie from "The Temple of Doom" any day. Elsa, despite being evil, she shows a lot more strength, courage, and wisdom than Willie did which I thought was hard to detect in her. I would much rather see Indy face-off against a villain hottie than fall in love with a helpless damsel (Evil tone of voice comes in). The odd 'ally yet enemy at the same time' relationship between Indy and Elsa is great. Allison Doody did such a great job playing Elsa. I think that Elsa is almost as good as Marion Ravenwood from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and far better than the helpless Willie Scott from "Temple Of Doom". I'd rather see angry female villains or rebellious female characters any day over helpless damsels in action movies.
This script I think is just about perfect and Spielberg outdid himself on the directing of the action sequences, and the intelligence, depth, and emotions are strong and crystal clear. The action sequences and the scenes throughout the movie are eye-popping and still captivate me even after watching this amazing movie countless times since the young tender age of 7 when this movie was new and they captivate me more now as I pay more attention to the action scenes. I think that the combination of awesome action scenes, funny lines, a fun and exciting atmosphere, and wonderful and intelligent storytelling all magnify each other and that is definitely the recipe for a modern day classic. The background music during some scenes is stunning as well. I can now say that "The Last Crusade" is the best of the Indiana Jones movies and was a great movie to close out the movie trilogy. It's just unfortunate that this was to be the last of the series but it was a great movie though to close out the trilogy and the legacy that these three marvelous have created continue to define action adventure movies to this very day. If there is a fourth IJ movie, it would be very difficult as the actor who played Brody is now sadly deceased. Perhaps what I think that there should be done is a spin-off of this trilogy being made involving a descendant of Jones in postmodern times like in the 2020s where that descendant would go on major action adventures in modern and futuristic times similar to what Indy went on but that was just an idea I came up with. Get all three of these movies, they're all awesome.
on February 13, 2003
"Raiders" is probably the best Indiana Jones, but "Crusade" is my personal favorite. Lucas and Spielberg regrouped after the underwhelming "Temple of Doom" (a little too violent and way too kiddish for Jones) to craft this action great. Chock full with more Nazis, rousing action sequences, and sarcastic, sometimes tounge-in-cheek humor and noticably more character development than the first two. And seriously, who better to play Indiana Jones' father than Sean Connery? He gives a hilarious, and yet, sophisticated performance that does not fail to make me laugh every time.
The plot to the movie is Indiana goes on the hunt for his father, after he disappears while working on a project to recover the legendary Holy Grail, the cup of Christ, ect. Jones himself gets caught up in the intrigue, ending up helping his fathers assitant (Allison Doody) discover more clues to the grails' wherabouts. Indy eventually learns that his father was captured by Nazis, and that they are planning to make their armies immortal by using the grails' power.
The movie then really picks up, with Indy and father on the run from a ruthless Nazi Colonel (Michael Byrne) on a mission to find the grail before the Nazis do. On the way, they are spectacular action sequences, including a tank chase scene through the desert, a boat chase through Venice and car chase through rural Germany. And with Spielberg behind the camera and his sharp eye for that perfect shot of Indy thrawting another Nazi, well, give me one valid reason not to watch time and again.
on December 31, 2002
My opinion of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade could be deemed slightly biased. It is the first film I ever saw in theaters and it's also the first movie I purchased on video. I even own the same, worn-down, beat-up copy (and look upon it even more fondly than the widescreen edition, for sentimental reasons, of course). I think it's fair to say it's this movie that cemented my love of cinema, the high regard I hold for great escapism, which is sorely lacking from today's cinema; movies that should be fun now drag or bludgeon themselves with relentless awful scripts or MTV-style direction that turns relatively simple scenes into chaotic blurs. The Last Crusade may only be thirteen years old, but I think I can safely say they don't make them like they used to.
The film stars, of course, Harrison Ford as Indy Jones, the archaeologist/adventurer who's on yet another quest, this time to find his father, who'd been searching for the Holy Grail. Said Dad is played by none other than Sean Connery, whose highly charismatic performance is quick to place this film above the others in the trilogy. The rest of the film focuses on this ongoing journey between father and son (eventually joined along by Sallah and Marcus Brody), complete with amazing action and stunt sequences, clever humor, and nasty (but fun) surprises.
The script, by Jeffrey Boam, takes a few cues from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but actually improves upon that story by adding more characterization, particularly with origin of Indy himself. And as a whole, the story is more engrossing because there are more fun clues offered toward the location of the Holy Grail and, thus, more engaging little discoveries (love the "X marks the spot" scene). I'm quite certain, like with Raiders, the plot has a few holes, but they're fairly hard to notice, and I've seen the movie quite a few times, but maybe it's just my enjoyment of the film clouding that up, which I suppose speaks volumes in favor of Spielberg's direction and the performances.
Given that action and adventure is the series' selling point, you can expect the thrills and wondrous delight of discovery delivered in spades. The action scenes are terrific (and matched well with John Williams' rousing, memorable score), the best being an excellent ten-minute setpiece on board (and in) a Nazi tank in a sensational chase sequence across the desert. The climax, complete with frightening booby traps, is a suspenseful venture into the unknown, which is the pinnacle adventure movies aspire to.
Harrison Ford once again slides effortlessly into the role of Jones, delivering another first-rate turn. To some, the performance is a joke; to most, it's acting at its finest. But I think most everyone would agree nobody else could have fit the part half as well as Ford. It's his rapport with Connery that strikes that spark that separates this from 99% of the genre. They craft an uncannily touching, funny, and genuine bond unlike any duo in film history. You could call it a buddy picture, I suppose, but unlike any you've ever seen before. The Last Crusade is a knockout thrill ride, and I seriously doubt any action/adventure will ever surpass it.
on August 29, 2002
For now. Since they're comin out with a new indy adventure. but anywho. This is a really great action/adventure movie. It's got the Humor of Temple of Doom, and the Great action scenes of Raiders. Put them together and u get a quest for the holy grail. THere are a bunch of minor action scenes, so the movie never get's boring. Along with the huge finale scene ontop of the Tank. Every Indy movie has that moment that sends Shivers up your spine. In this case, i get mine, when Indy puts a rock in the cannon which blows up one of the guns. Then that army guy opens up the hatch, and he looks around and see's Indy coming up right behind him, and that moment the music just kicks in and makes it a really heroic moment. anywho, yeah, this movie never get's dull, and has numerous chases......
train chase - young indy is chased by a bunch of bandits ontop of a speeding circus train
boat - Indy now seeks revenge on the bandits in an explosive end
Boat Chase - Indy and Elsa are chased through the waters of Venice on speedboats from crazy men with machine guns.
Motorcycle chase - Indy and his dad are being chased by 4 motorcycle Nazi men
Airplane battle/Car chase - Indy and his dad are chased by nazi warplanes in a plane, but then they retreat into a car and are cahsed by them in an explosive finish
Tank finale - a giant fight aboard a tank, nothing get's better.
on July 13, 2002
After watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I was somewhat apprehensive about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Often, movies in a trilogy get successively worse as the filmmakers find fewer and fewer original ideas to use. Given that, in my opinion, Temple of Doom was pretty bad, I was concerned that this movie would be even worse. This, however, was not the case! I REALLY enjoyed The Last Crusade, and feel that it is the best of the three movies (which says a lot because I also really liked Raiders of the Lost Ark)!
The Last Crusade features many of the elements that made the first in the series so attractive: well done action sequences, humor, and excitement. If you aren't already familiar with Indy's adventures (which is doubtful) I will assure you that they are very entertaining and can be seen by the whole family. Although I am not usually a big fan of action movies, I think the Indiana Jones series (except for the second movie) are really fantastic movies - perfect for relaxation and lighthearted entertainment. Additionally, what makes this movie my favorite in the series is that many of Indy's trademark characteristics (the hat, the whip, the name, etc.) are explained and you learn more about his past. His father's presence also makes him seem more human and realistic.
Essentially, the plot of this movie concerns a search for the Holy Grail, which Indy has to get before the Nazis do. Overall, the movie is very exciting, humorous, and well acted. Top honors go to Harrison Ford (of course) as Indy, whose funny expressions and sarcasm are great and to Sean Connery, who does an excellent job portraying Indy's eccentric father.
I don't know how else to recommend this...it is the ultimate adventure movie! Have fun!
on July 10, 2002
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is probably my favorite one of the trilogy. Humorous, action-packed, a truly captivating adventure...I think that pretty much sums it up.
The movie starts, like all Indiana Jones movies, with that added feature that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. This time we get to see Indy as a boy, and find our answers to questions that have lasted through two movies. Why does he hate or rather, fear sankes? And even, his real name.
to put it in as few words as I can...
Indy(Harrison Ford) goes out to find his father(Sean Connery) who has disappeared while looking for the Holy Grail, which is said to have caught Jesus's blood while he hung on the cross and to anyone who drinks it, is given eternal life(Which, by the way, is entirely untrue). When Indy does find his father, they go looking for the Grail together and end up having a thrilling adventure, of course.
I have seen all the Indy movies and like the first and the last but I don't really care for the second. What I have always liked about the movie is that they all have an added feature in the beginning.
The Lost Ark- We have Indy searching for a gold idol head of some kind.
The Temple of Doom- Indy is trading the remains of a king for a diamond and ends up stuck with a (traditionally blond) blond singer named Willie, getting poisoned, and all the other normal stuff that happens to normal archealogists. :)
And of course, another thing that I like about the movies is that they're great adventure movies that I never tire of watching.
The Last Crusade was directed well, as is the same in all the Indy movies. And although the part was not made especially for him, Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones very well. In this movie I think that Spielberg made a good choice when he put Ford and Connery together in this film as father and son. They work well together and are both very funny in this movie. I also liked his pick for Young Indy, a very good portrayal.
The last scene has us watching the group ride off into the sunset. I wonder, a sign that this is the end and our heroes are to be seen no more; their last crusade? I certainly hope not. Maybe we will see one more Indy, one more thrilling adventure, maybe his real last crusade. Well, we'll just have to wait and see.
on July 10, 2002
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" disappoints, for its inability to construct a believable action scene. Who'd get taken in by this blatant cartoonery? I, frankly, miss the stark realism and gritty humanism of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Temple of Doom". What? They were live-action cartoons too? Well, that changes everything, then, doesn't it?
Kidding aside, you shouldn't ever go into an Indiana Jones movie expecting credible action. And "The Last Crusade" has the least credible, but at times most fun, action of any in the series. Watch as Indy, armed only with a horse and the strap from his bag, manages to outrun and outgun a German tank. Later in the sequence, we get a moment that for me defines the ethos Spielberg and Lucas have built for this series. Indiana is wrestling with some Nazis on the tank. The tank moves slowly towards a cliff. Instead of jumping off the tank at the last minute, leaving the baddies to tumble to their doom, Indy appears to go over the cliff with them. His entourage, which includes his stoic father, rushes to the side of the cliff just in time to see the tank hit bottom and explode. Somber faces all around. Just as they say their goodbyes, the camera cuts to a hand appearing by the cliff's edge, out of their view. It's Indy! He's alive! After a quick moment to brush himself off, he joins his friends to see what the fuss is about. His father does a pitch-perfect double-take upon noticing him, then explodes in joyous tears. The scene ends with Indy, collapsed in exhaustion, surprised when his fedora, thought lost in the wreckage, tumbles into his lap. It's a perfect blend of classic Saturday matinee hokiness with a dollop of contemporary self-awareness. The filmmakers know that Indy's invincible. The actors know it. And most importantly, the audience knows it. But for a brief moment, the film has us going. Then it allows us to laugh at our own gullibility.
Besides mocking the genre pictures from whence it came, "The Last Crusade" spends a lot of time winking and nudging about its own past. The character, by this point in the trilogy, has a lot of history, and much of it is playfully referenced here. One key moment finds Indy and his current Jones girl, Elsa, exploring the catacombs underneath a Venetian library. Intricate hieroglyphics adorn the walls. One in particular looks like a glowing golden box. Elsa points it out and asks, "What's this one?" "The Ark of the Covenant," says Indy. "Are you sure?" she confirms, perfectly setting up his deadpan reply: "Pretty sure." More explicitly is the infamous opening sequence, starring River Phoenix as Young Indiana. In it we see, during one quick trip across a Circus train, the origins of Indy's fedora, his whip, his fear of snakes, and his knack for adventure. Even though I have some trouble believing that the fragile and feline Phoenix will grow up to be the rugged and rough Harrison Ford, he has enough fun during the sequence to make my qualms disappear.
Which leads me to the casting of Indy's father. It might seem far-fetched to have the decidedly Midwestern Ford fathered by Sean Connery. But like Phoenix, Connery has enough fun here to make you forget the differences in their accents. You'll be won over by the twinkle in his eye and the bounce in his step. The movie relies heavily on their chemistry, and at this task it does not fail. Connery, who provided the model for Indiana Jones in the first place (what is Indiana Jones if not an archaeological James Bond?), plays against type: he's a bookworm. Armed with his tweed jacket and neat bow-tie, he's hardly the Jones patriarch you were expecting. Henry Jones is a Mr. Magoo-type character, accidentally finding ways of saving the day, when his more daring son can't. In "The Last Crusade", Connery proves, through the power of his towering charisma and impeccable comedic timing, why he's still a star, some forty years after "Dr. No".
Not so successful a casting choice is Alison Doody. Her Elsa continues the tradition of Indy's leading women getting better and better looking, while being played by poorer and poorer actresses. From Karen Allen, to Kate Capshaw, to a new high/low. If this trend continues, I expect to see Denise Richards in "Indy IV". True, you understand why the shallowness in Indy's character would find her appealing, but Doody brings little more than wooden line readings to the movie.
While not as 'important' a movie as others in his oeuvre, "The Last Crusade" once again shows how adept Steven Spielberg is at manipulating an audience into high gear. The action sequences are economical and exciting, the visual jokes work like a charm every time, and the special effects, while already dated, work in a cheesy/kitschy kind of way. On top of all this, Spielberg throws in more Nazi imagery here than in any of his other movies, including "Schindler's List". When Indy finds himself face-to-face with Hitler, in one of the film's best jokes, Spielberg doesn't miss the opportunity for some fun at the fuhrer's expense.
The ending, much-maligned, does well servicing the story. We've been leading up to finding the Holy Grail, but it's not really an important part of the story, just an excuse for mild adventures. After all, the filmmakers didn't even bother to come up with a menacing villain to stand in the Jones' way. What we do get is a hubristic stooge, whose obsessiveness is burning so intensely, it's obvious to everyone but him that it will be his downfall. The ending provides some suspenseful moments, gives all the characters credible reasons for doing what they have to do to move the story along, and ties up all the loose ends. It's a fine way to wrap up another fun entry in the Indiana Jones series.
on March 28, 2002
After the critical and commercial failure of Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas returned to the sure-fire formula of the Indiana Jones franchise. Opting to steer away from the darkness of Temple of Doom and go for a more light-hearted adventure, Last Crusade suceeds wonderfully, with the pairing of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford producing one of the best on-screen pairings since Newman and Redford. John Rhys-Davies makes a welcome return as Sallah, Indy's guide and friend. While not as strong as Karen Allen in Raiders, Alison Doody make a good impression as Elsa, a german women who seduces Indy. The villians are great with Walter Donavan (Julian Glover) as an evil german intent on retrieving the Holy Grail. The action set-pieces are top-notch, with speedboat chases, tank chases, plane chases and all rounded off with an exciting finale, Last Crusade ends the trilogy perfectly. When the film was realesed in 1989, it was greeted with critical praise and box-office triumph.