The collision of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg gave us the Indiana Jones movies, now Paramount give us all four in one box, all newly-remastered for 4K Ultra HD. So, should you crack that whip, or give the past the slip?
The story: Aiming to bring back the vibe of classic Saturday afternoon matinee adventure movies, with their teeth-flashing, derring-do heroes countering dastardly villains, Lucas and Spielberg nailed the brief with 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford came fresh from the first two Star Wars flicks, and fit the hero mould to a tee – the fedora and whip just added to the effect.
You likely know the stories, but for the uninitiated (have you got some fun ahead!)… In Raiders of the Lost Ark, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones sets out to stop Nazis from obtaining the supremely powerful Ark of the Covenant. Much action, Karen Allen, a bit of comedy, some face-melting and WAY too many snakes ensue…
1984’s slightly darker Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sees Indy in India, and heading out on the trail of the Sankara Stone to help some villagers who have fallen upon hard times after it – and their children – were stolen. Indy’s quest leads him to discover an ancient, heart-stopping evil that, of course, needs to be dealt with.
Come 1989, it was time for more Indy, and this time his father is along for the ride in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The younger of the two Doctor Joneses discovers that his dad has gone missing on a quest for the Holy Grail (we suspect the killer bunny rabbit…) While on his rescue mission, Indy has a run in with some power-hungry old foes, and the mission deviates.
It wasn’t until 2008 that we next caught up with Indy, in the polarising Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Set in the Cold War era of the 1950s, this one involves aliens, kidnapping, Soviet spies, the return of Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf and Cate Blanchett turned evil scientist.
“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”
The 4K disc: All four movies in the box set have had extensive love lavished upon them, in the form of new remasters struck from the original camera negatives. All four movies have also been given the Dolby Vision treatment, and were all approved by director Steven Spielberg. All four also, as luck would have it, look pretty spectacular indeed! The classic opening sequence from Raiders dazzles immediately, and that scene where Indy grabs the idol (above) is a joy to behold – the added visual oomph afforded by Dolby Vision brightening the shiny things and offering detail like we’ve never seen before in the dingier spots, while colour is astonishing. With all four movies being shot on film, grain is ever-present, and does vary. In the first three films in particular it’s increasingly noticeable on effects and composite shots – things like the classic point A to point B line traversing the map. We never found it intrusive, in fact we reckon that it adds to the whole matinee experience.
If the gorgeous new visuals aren’t enough, the audio department were busy as well. Original sound designer Ben Burtt supervised the transfer of the original audio bits into the Dolby Atmos format, and to great success. Rather than going over-the-top, the audio that’s supposed to be up the front is up the front, but the use of surrounds both around and above spread things into cinematic experience territory like never before, adding atmosphere, bolstering some effects (those screams!) and treating John Williams’ now classic soundtracks respectfully.
As for extras, upon removing the foldout disc tray affair from its outer slipcover, we’re presented with a cool flyer, featuring the four movie posters on one side, and a slick movie map on the other. The four 4K discs only give us a selection of trailers, however a bonus standard Blu-ray really delivers with a collection that was originally released in 2012. This includes more than two-and-a-half hours of ‘making-of’ documentary covering all four films, as well as 12 featurettes.
Release date: June 16, 2020
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Sean Connery
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.