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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on September 29, 2012

So refreshing after the Temple of Doom fiasco.  Not quite as relentless in its action as Raiders (it seems like more time is taken out for expository dialogue) but it’s almost as entertaining.  And more importantly, none of the characters are irritating.  Okay, maybe Brody doesn’t need to be reduced to such a naive simpleton, but it pays off with a couple of pretty good gags, and it isn’t milked to the point of annoyance.  Alison Doody might not be the greatest actress, but she’s heaps better than Kate Capshaw.  Besides, Dr. Elsa Schneider makes for a welcome twist on the female lead.

The real love story here is the father-son dynamic between Ford and Connery, who both play up that relationship beautifully.  They struggle to earn each other’s respect, understanding and affection, and when they do earn it, it produces genuinely poignant moments.  I’ll admit it, the “I thought I’d lost you, boy” line gives me a little lump in the throat.  As does Indy’s respectful expression after witnessing his father’s “Charlemagne” ploy.

The opening sequence with River Phoenix (a spot-on performance) is a wonderfully crafted bit of fan service, establishing the hero’s quirks and characteristics.  But it’s done smoothly, with a gentle wink to the audience.  It’s a great scene with a great payoff.

There are a couple of nagging questions about plot, especially towards the end (how do the bad guys make it past the second challenge? how does the illusion of the third challenge hold up at all, much less after 1000 years of environmental wear? why does Donovan trust Schneider’s judgment so readily, with so much at stake?) but they’re not dealbreakers.  Again we see some subpar use of rear projection/green screen, but it’s not as distracting as the previous film.

Minor flaws aside, it’s a terrific slice of entertainment.  It’s thrilling, it’s clever, it’s moving, it’s funny.  Rating: Great (91)


One Response to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (rewatch)”

  1. […] 101. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Steven Spielberg) […]

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