Vault: 'Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade' (1989) Dir. Steven Spielberg
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
The "Man with the Hat" returns for a third adventure, and this time he's bringing his Dad...
Archaeologist and University Professor Indiana Jones (Ford) is introduced to history enthusiast Walter Donovan (Glover). He explains he is part of a team searching for the Holy Grail, and Indy's father was part of the team.
Upon learning his father, Henry Jones (Connery), went missing, Indy and his friend Marcus Brody (Elliott) agree to take up where he left off. Travelling to Venice to meet with expedition leader Dr Elsa Schneider (Doody). When Indy discovers his father is being held by the Nazis, he and Elsa go to save him.
Only when Indy unites with his estranged father does he learn the truth about those he is up against, and they are soon thrust into a race against time to find the Grail before the forces of evil do...
Returning to the themes and design that made ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ something special, this adventure drops the darker themes from ‘Temple Of Doom’ and injects a lot more family-orientated fun and humour thanks to the partnership of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery as son and father; keeping up with the Jonses has never been as much fun as it is here.
Clearly a more comical film thanks to the relationship between estranged father and son, the chemistry between Ford and Connery is second to none and you can’t imagine how the film would have been without them both verbally sparring and forging a believable bond as they traverse the globe to pretty much save humanity and battle the Nazis in their quest to hunt down the Holy Grail. With such a well-known and fascinating relic to find, much like the Ark of the Covenant, we are thrust into dangerous tomb raiding full of booby traps, dastardly Nazi villains and as many vehicles as you can imagine to deliver exciting action, practical stunt work and a real continuation of the B-movie adventure theme on land, sea and air.
We are even treated to a near-perfect interpretation of a young Indiana Jones thanks to the late River Phoenix in a rousing set-piece staged 25 years earlier, showing us how Indy came to bear his famous scar and how he obtained his fear of snakes, ability with a whip and that fedora.
The action is so well staged, with a huge sense of B-movie escapism that never fails to be thrilling and exciting.
With a strong supporting cast including favourites John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliott keeping us on comfortable ground, we also have the alluring Allison Doody, the charming Julian Glover and the dastardly Michael Byrne who create such solid characters both good and bad, that they are just the sort of people you’d expect Indy to go up against in the 1930s, with the overhanging threat of the Nazi party ever present. Forget your voodoo magic and mystical stones; this returns Indy to save the world form a threat that we can relate to and understand the power behind it. It just cements the fact they don't make films like this anymore.
While the action is exciting and well-staged, it’s the humour that takes centre stage in this installment and Ford plays his Indy a little less-rugged and world-weary than we’ve seen before. He bares less flesh and wears a tie whilst battling the Nazis, evoking a sense of maturity to him alongside his father who also delivers just as much as his on when the going gets tough. Everyone seems to be having fun here, and it shows in their performances.
The iconic stunt work from Vic Armstrong and team is just as dangerous and memorable here as it always has been in the Indiana Jones films, and with an iconic soundtrack to compliment the action on screen, this makes for a very comfortable and familiar outing for Indy but also injects new takes on the character and gives us something new to focus on against the backdrop of a theme we’ve seen already in ‘Raiders Of The Lost Aark’. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – just add more to the mix such as John Williams on the score, the practical stunts and a stellar cast, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Returning to familiar roots with a talent on camera and off, there truly is nobody who sums up real action and adventure akin to the B-movie thrills of the past.
'Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade' is a LucasFilm Ltd. production