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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Movie Review

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1989 – Steven Spielberg –

This third film featuring swashbuckling archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) restores much of the charm and fun of Raiders of the Lost Ark after the series took a dark turn with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Set several years after the events of Raiders, the adventure involves a quest for the sacred Holy Grail, simultaneously sought by evil Nazi agents, a traitorous American businessman (Julian Glover), a greedy femme fatale (Alison Doody), and the duo of Indiana Jones and his father Henry (Sean Connery). Like the first Indiana Jones film, The Last Crusade revels in almost non-stop adventurous fun, but it also includes more humor and develops Jones' character through the exploration of his relationship with his father.

Director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas successfully use the same formula of thrilling visual imagery, kinetic suspense, sharp characterizations, and an intriguing, fantastical storyline that made Raiders a hit among audiences and critics. Although the plot in many ways mimics that of the first film, in that both include Nazi villains and the search for a mystical religious artifact, The Last Crusade avoids simply copying the original by combining the adventure and the epic quest with the story of a father and son reuniting after years of estrangement. The interaction between Indiana and Henry, often taking on the nature of a rivalry, provides some of the most enjoyable and personal moments in the film. The resolution, which completes the quest for the Grail, also completes a sort of quest for renewal between the two Joneses.

Spielberg's skill at creating, filming, and editing exciting action sequences is displayed in full capacity in the many stunt-filled, outrageous chase scenes. Part of the magic of the Indiana Jones series comes from such unbelievable yet thoroughly engaging action scenes—from motorcycle pursuits to aerial attacks—and each one is executed with enough realism to momentarily suspend disbelief. Other filmmakers have attempted to re-create or imitate the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Spielberg and Lucas found a way not only to artfully imitate the first movie but to create an equally entertaining and well-made picture. The Last Crusade is inspired by and pays homage to its predecessor but is also refreshingly original.

Cast: Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Sean Connery (Professor Henry Jones), Denholm Elliott (Marcus Brody), Alison Doody (Dr. Elsa Schneider), John Rhys-Davies (Sallah), Julian Glover (Walter Donovan), River Phoenix (Young Indy), Michael Byrne (Vogel), Kevork Malikyan (Kazim), Robert Eddison (Grail Knight), Richard Young (Fedora), Alexei Sayle (Sulltan), Alex Hyde-White (Young Henry), Paul Maxwell (Panama Hat), Isla Blair (Mrs. Donovan) Screenwriter: Jeffrey Boam Cinematographer: Douglas Slocombe Composer: John Williams Producer: Robert Watts for Lucasfilm; released by Paramount MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 127 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards, 1989: Sound Effects Editing; Nominations: Original Score (John Williams), Sound; Golden Globes, 1990: Nominations: Supporting Actor (Sean Connery) Budget: $39M Box Office: $197.2M (domestic gross).

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