“Indiana Jones” released as five-disc set, offers fan bonuses

Alex Williams

The great thing about film is its subjectivity: the variety of ways to view a movie depending on the personal lens you bring to it. That being said, if the idea of the “Indiana Jones” films on Blu-ray doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re probably confused. The recently released five-disc set contains all three “Indiana Jones” movies (plus something called “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” that I know nothing about) and a bonus disc packed with previously unreleased bonus material.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is, in my humble opinion, the greatest adventure film ever made, a charming pulp serial with boatloads of iconic moments perfectly suited to the Blu-ray format. The transfer here is truly outstanding — something that can be seen from the very first shot of the film. The opening scene, which famously tracks Indy’s (played by Harrison Ford) journey through a booby-trapped temple, retains a hazy grittiness that doesn’t take away from a sharp, colorful picture, and John Williams’ sweeping, memorable score couldn’t sound better. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” is a much stranger, uglier work, but the Blu-ray transfer doesn’t suffer for it and the other films in the set remain just as pristine.

Any complaints about the set are mostly cosmetic. The discs are packaged in a cardboard booklet with slipcases on each page that cause unexpected scratches. The set also lacks a disc-by-disc special features breakdown, so viewers must insert each disc into their player to figure out which feature is on which disc. Although these are small concerns of convenience, but they could have been easily fixed.

The fifth disc in the set holds most of the special features, roughly seven hours’ worth, and all of it fascinating. Some of the bonuses are recycled from previous releases, but a new documentary called “On Set with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’” offers a captivating look at the making of a cinema legend, giving lots of behind-the-scenes insights into the production of the film.

For any fan of Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford or movies in general, this set is one of the easiest purchases you could possibly make. You get three of the best adventures ever put to film (and a fourth one that’s best not spoken of) as well as hours of special features, not to mention a truly outstanding transfer. It’s a delight to have “Indiana Jones” in HD and it’s no stretch to call the set one of the best releases of the year.

Printed on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 as: Indiana Jones unlocks new tomb with Blu-ray