Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Jun 10, 2021
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection (4K UHD Review)

Director

Steven Spielberg

Release Date(s)

1981-2008 (June 8, 2021)

Studio(s)

Lucasfilm Ltd./Paramount Pictures (Paramount Home Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: See Below
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A+
  • Extras Grade: B-
  • Overall Grade: B

Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD)

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Review

In the summer of 1977, partly as a way to relax and partly to escape the chaos surrounding the theatrical release of Star Wars, filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg took a vacation with their families to Hawaii. Each man was on top of the world, having directed a certified blockbuster film, and it must have seemed as though the sky was the limit. Given their friendship, some kind of creative collaboration between the pair seemed obvious. When Spielberg noted that he’d always wanted to direct a James Bond film, Lucas revealed another idea he’d had that—like Star Wars—was based on the old Saturday matinee serials, this one concerning a globe-trotting archeologist who searched for ancient artifacts possessing supernatural power. Spielberg loved this concept, agreed to partner up on it, and brought Lawrence Kasdan in to help work on the story. Over the next three days, the trio sat in a room and worked out the entire plot of the film. When Kasdan set off to write the screenplay, adding a touch of Preston Sturges wit to the characters and dialogue, Spielberg turned to Harrison Ford, fresh off his first appearance as Han Solo in Star Wars, as an obvious choice for the title role. The film that resulted debuted in theaters on June 12, 1981… and became an instant hit, earning over $330 million worldwide. The rest, as they say, is cinema history. Three sequels followed, each directed by Spielberg and produced by Lucas, with a fifth on the way next year (it just began filming at the time of this writing) produced by Spielberg and Lucas and directed by James Mangold (of Cop Land, Logan, Ford v Ferrari fame).

Paramount and Lucasfilm have released these films a number of times on home video now, most recently on DVD (in 2003) and Blu-ray (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the first to arrive on the format in 2008, followed by original trilogy in 2012). And now, at long last, all of these films have been re-scanned and remastered in native 4K for release in a new Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection on Ultra HD.

So let’s take a look at each of the films and discs in this set one by one…

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) (4K UHD)

The year is 1936. As the world creeps inevitably toward war, an American professor of archaeology at Marshall College, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), is informed by agents from U.S. Army Intelligence that the Nazi German military is conducting an excavation at the ancient city of Tanis, near Cairo in Egypt. Jones realizes at once that the Nazis can be after just one thing: the ancient Ark of the Covenant as described in the Bible, which Adolf Hitler believes can make his forces invincible. Hired by the U.S. Government to recover the Ark before Hitler gets his hands on it, Jones seeks out his old mentor, Dr. Abner Ravenwood—the world’s foremost expert on Tanis—in Nepal. But when he arrives, Jones learns from Ravenwood’s daughter, Marion (Karen Allen) that Abner is dead. He barely has time to process this when Nazi agents arrive and attack them. Barely managing to escape, Jones and Marion head for Cairo, where Jones’ friend Sallah (John-Rhys-Davies) can help them regroup, investigate the Nazis’ plans, and discover the Ark’s secret location first.

So many elements came together seamlessly to make this a landmark film. The direction is deft and efficient, with all of Spielberg’s trademark style and flair in evidence, but with little in the way of overindulgence. The pacing is brisk, but not too brisk—not modern, but definitely a new gear for action-adventure films of the period. The cast is perfect across the board, with Harrison Ford coming fully into his own here. He carries the story with an effortlessness that belays how hard he’s actually working. The stunt work is superb, the set pieces are satisfying, the costuming and period production design are pitch perfect. The script is wry, funny, and honest by turns, and always engaging. There are certainly some cultural depictions of their time, but then that’s how creative works are. Still the film has aged beautifully. And John Williams’ iconic score—arguably his best work apart from Star Wars—lends everything a certain kind of magic, gravitas, and energy... and even a bit of whimsy. This is an unquestionably great film, and one that’s withstood the test of time.

Raiders was shot on 35 mm photochemical film using Panavision Panaflex-X cameras with Panavision anamorphic lenses (with some VFX work done in VistaVision format) and it was finished on film at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio for its wide theatrical release. For this new Ultra HD, the original camera negative and master interpositive elements were scanned in native 4K to create a new 4K Digital Intermediate, complete with grading for high dynamic range (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are included on this disc). The remastering work was approved by director Steven Spielberg. The result is a marvel, with a significant increase in resolution and fine detail. Skin, stone, and fabrics all show more refinement than ever. Some shots exhibit the usual anamorphic softness around the edges of the frame, and of course the film’s optically-printed opening titles and transitions are a generation down from the negative, so they look a little softer. A bit of DNR may also have been applied here and there to keep the grain under control in those situations. However, that grain is still visible at all times, and it remains organic everywhere. The HDR has deepened the blacks, while allowing for more shadow detail—even given the use of on-set atmospherics, the blacks are just much better here than on the previous Blu-ray release, where they looked a bit gray on occasion. Highlights are bolder—daytime desert skies, for example, and lightning flashes—and the brightest moments are just at the point of eye-reactivity. The Ark of the Covenant has a gleaming luster now that’s more brilliant. And the colors! Gone is the pale green tint that plagued the previous Blu-rays. Colors are richly saturated and accurate, exhibiting a more natural variety and nuance. What’s more, there’s been some effort to recomposite key VFX shots digitally to remove or de-emphasize matte lines. All of the elements within these shots—models, live action plates, matte paintings—now look more unified. But it doesn’t appear that there’s been any untoward, Star Wars-style revisionism. This film simply looks its best now, and better than it’s ever looked before at home by a wide margin. Diehard fans should be pleased.

Better still, the new English Dolby Atmos remix, which was supervised by Ben Burtt at Skywalker Sound, is spectacular. The original sound effects elements have been retained, but fidelity and positioning has never been better. The soundstage is bigger and more immersive now, with a full, muscular quality and excellent dynamics, all while preserving the original sonic character of the film. This is by no means a “modern” sound effects remix. Dialogue is clean at all times, staging is precise, movement is smooth and natural. The height channels complete the immersion and get active in set pieces, including the collapse of the temple and the rolling stone boulder in the film’s opening. Crowd noise in the Cairo markets, the clatter of gunfire, the heavy punch of explosions, and the crisp whip-cracks all have a satisfyingly full sound, supported by excellent low-frequency effects. There are all kinds of subtle little atmospheric cues, including water dripping in the surrounds as Indy makes his way deeper into the temple at the start of the film, not to mention the hiss and slither of snakes from almost every direction as Indy climbs down into the Well of the Souls. Williams’ bold and brassy trumpet fanfares ring out with outstanding clarity. What a treat this is! Additional audio options on the 4K include Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Russian 2.0 Dolby Digital. Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Cantonese, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, and Thai.

Note that the menus here are identical to the previous Blu-ray releases. Which means this 4K disc also includes the following extras:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD – 1:03)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:33)
  • Re-Issue Trailer (HD – 1:45)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Film/Video/Audio): A+/A/A+

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) (4K UHD)

Shanghai, 1935. Indiana Jones survives a double cross by a crime boss named Lao Che, with the unwitting help of an American nightclub singer named Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and some deft driving by his young assistant, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). But it turns out the cargo plane they escape on is owned by Lao Che, whose pilots bail out over the Himalayas, leaving Indy and his accomplices to crash. Fast thinking and an inflatable raft saves their lives, but the trio soon finds themselves in northern India, where the locals who help them reveal that tragedy has befallen their village. A sacred stone was taken from their shrine by forces from the nearby Pankot Palace. The stone protected their village, and soon after their children were stolen too. Indy believes it might be one of the legendary Sankara stones, given to humanity by the gods long ago, so the trio sets off to Pankot to investigate. Though they’re welcomed by its young Maharaja and his prime minister, Indy soon discovers that all is not as it seems at Pankot, and that an ancient evil may have returned to spell the doom of all.

The Temple of Doom isn’t a bad film per se, it just doesn’t live up to the promise of the first installment in terms of sheer thrills and adventure. Sure, the locations are exotic and the supporting cast is mostly interesting. But Capshaw’s character is way too clichéd and over the top, the dialogue is campier than it needs to be, the “squirm” moments feel obligatory somehow, and all of that seems poorly matched with the dark gruesomeness of the film’s latter half. It’s almost as if, after the blockbuster success of Raiders, the filmmakers took everything a bit too seriously and forgot to have fun. It’s also hard to see the rational behind the decision to make this film a prequel. Still, Short Round and Indy have an easy-going interplay that’s enjoyable to watch and the mine cart chase is genuinely thrilling. The Indiana Jones franchise has one great film, one very good film, and two films that are merely decent. The Temple of Doom is one of the latter.

The Temple of Doom was shot on 35 mm photochemical film using Arriflex 35-III and Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras with Panavision anamorphic lenses (once again with some VFX work done in VistaVision format) and it was finished on film at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio for its wide theatrical release. For this Ultra HD, original camera negative and master interpositive elements were scanned in native 4K to create a new 4K Digital Intermediate, with grading for high dynamic range (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are included). The remastering work was approved by director Steven Spielberg. The surprise here is that the result is even better than it was on Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a marked improvement in resolution and fine detailing, once again visible in skin, stone, and fabric textures. There’s a bit of characteristic anamorphic softness around the edges of the frame in some shots, and optically printed titles and transitions are a little softer looking, but footage scanned from the OCN exhibits a clarity never seen before at home. Grain is light-moderate and organic. The HDR grade is sublime, with inky blacks, bright highlights, and more detail than ever in both. The glittering sequined black and silver dresses in the opening dance number have a boldly luminous sparkle. Colors are rich, natural, and beautifully saturated—just look at the skin tones in Club Obi-wan, Willie’s red and gold dress, the blonde color of the teak wood flooring, the metallic silver fixtures. Beetle abdomens, monkey brains, and eyeball soup have seldom looked less appetizing than they do in 4K UHD with HDR. Every element of the frame appears more natural and nuanced. Again, there’s been some digital recompositing to fix sloppy matte lines. For example, the painted and live action elements in the establishing shot of Pankot Palace have been more seamlessly blended, and various matting errors in the mine cart chase and rope bridge climax have been fixed. One or two VFX shots don’t hold up quite as well, but on the whole this is a reference-grade image for a photochemical film of this vintage.

Once again, Ben Burtt’s new English Dolby Atmos mix is a sonic marvel. The soundstage is big, wide, and highly immersive, rendering a terrific sense of space and environment. Gunfire has a meaty heft. The pang-twang of machine gun bullets ricocheting off the gongs in the opening sequence have beautiful ringing clarity. The subterranean lairs and tunnels beneath Pankot sound massive and cavernous, as they reverberate with rumbling lava, clanking metal chains, chanting cultists, and throbbing drums. The height channels are constantly active for immersion and directional cues. The entire mine cart sequence is absolutely thrilling. The overal tonal quality is full and muscular, with firm bass. Dialogue is well positioned, clean, and easily discernible. Williams’ orchestral motifs are rich sounding, with lovely fidelity. Again, what a treat! Additional audio options on the 4K include Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Japanese and Russian 2.0 Dolby Digital. Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Cantonese, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, and Thai.

As with the other 4K discs, the menus here are identical to the previous Blu-ray release. Extras on the disc include the following:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD – 1:00)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:26)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Film/Video/Audio): B-/A+/A+

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) (4K UHD)

After completing a lifelong mission to recover the Cross of Coronado from a wealthy collector in 1938—a cross he first encountered as a Boy Scout in Utah’s Arches National Park—Indiana Jones returns to his teaching duties at Marshall College, where he’s surprised to receive his father’s diary in the mail. At the same time, Walter Donovan (Julian Glover)—a wealthy benefactor of the National Museum, for which Indy’s friend Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) is the curator—reveals to Indy his latest discovery, a fragment of an ancient stone tablet with an inscription that includes clues to the location of the Holy Grail. Donovan also reveals that Indy’s father Henry (Sean Connery) has gone missing while searching for the Grail. So Indy and Marcus head to the Italian city of Venice to meet Henry’s collaborator, Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody), in an effort to find him. Eventually, the group recruits Indy’s old friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) to join them in an ultimate quest to discover the lost cup that once held the blood of Christ… and may also grant eternal life.

Now this is more like it. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is not only a better film than Temple of Doom, it’s arguably the second best film in this franchise to date. It seems that you just can’t have a great Indy film without a Nazi menace, so they do indeed return to keep up with (and torment) the Joneses. Once more, the story features an iconic relic of antiquity imbued with divine power. And two of the franchise’s best supporting characters, Sallah and Brody, are along for the ride this time to add to the fun. But the highlight of this film is unquestionably Sean Connery, who serves as the perfect comic foil for Harrison Ford’s deadpan delivery and accidental action hero performance. The two actors play off one another beautifully, with Connery stealing scene after scene. The film’s set pieces—including a boat chase, a zeppelin escape, and a struggle abroad a World War I tank—are thrilling. Spielberg’s direction and pacing are far more brisk, and composer John Williams delivers a score that’s at once brassy, but also more personal. The Last Crusade is not quite on the same level as the original film, but it’s definitely a welcome return to form for the series.

The Last Crusade too was shot on 35 mm photochemical film using Panavision Panaflex Gold II and Platinum cameras with Panavision anamorphic lenses (once more with VFX plates shot in VistaVision format). It was finished on film at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio for theaters. For its Ultra HD release, the original camera negative and master interpositive elements were scanned in native 4K to create a new 4K Digital Intermediate, with grading for high dynamic range (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are included). All of the remastering work was approved by Spielberg. As with the earlier films, there’s a marked uptick in resolution and texture refinement. Skin, stone, and other elements exhibit this improvement. The opening titles and various wipes and dissolves still look a bit soft, suggesting the use of DNR (or perhaps there’s an optical reason for it, or both). In any case, it’s a very minor issue. The HDR grade is fantastic, making the shadows deeper and more detailed, while also brightening the highlights. The expanded color gamut really makes a difference here. Not only is the stained glass window in the Venice library spectacular, but look at the way its light illuminates the stonework around it! And look at the subtle colored textures of the marbled floor, and the stunning hues of the film’s closing sunset. Again there’s been some digital clean-up of matte lines and color/contrast mis-matches in the zeppelin and Luftwaffe fighter VFX sequences. The German P-2 fighter’s crash in the tunnel is much improved. The black matte line when Vogel (Michael Byrne) goes over the cliff in the tank are gone too. Importantly, none of these fixes alters the nature of the visuals—they simply remove imperfections that were never meant to be noticed. Overall, this remaster is of excellent quality. It’s not quite as much of an improvement as Temple of Doom, but it’s very impressive nonetheless.

The new English Dolby Atmos mix from Ben Burtt delights yet again here. As with the earlier films, the soundstage is big and wide up front, with expansive use of the surround and height channels for immersion. Dialogue is clean, Williams’ score is offered in outstanding fidelity, and the panning is smooth and natural. The fight aboard the boat (when we first catch up with adult Indy) is an assault on the ears, with crashing waves sweeping in thunderously from seemingly every direction. Subtle cues abound—softly chirping birds during the establishing shot of Marshall College, for example, the clamor of anxious students in the surrounds when Indy skips out on his office hours, or the airy echo of conversation in the church library. The canal chase in Venice is a highlight too, as the freighter’s spinning propeller chops Indy’s boat into pieces. Gunfights, cannon fire, the Nazi rally in Berlin, motorcycle chases, air combat, the belly of the zeppelin with its distant humming propellors, the metallic rumble of the interior of the tank—there’s great spacial work in virtually every scene. This is a brilliant object-based surround mix. Additional audio options include Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Japanese and Russian 2.0 Dolby Digital. Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Cantonese, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, and Thai.

The disc’s menus are once more identical to those on the previous Blu-ray release. The disc includes the following extras:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD – 1:28)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:13)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Film/Video/Audio): B+/A/A+

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) (4K UHD)

Set in 1957, some nineteen years after his last crusade, Indiana Jones returns to action early in the Cold War when Russian KGB agents led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) infiltrate the top secret Hangar 51 in Nevada to steal one of the mutilated bodies recovered by the U.S. Army Air Force in Roswell, New Mexico a decade earlier. The Russians succeed, but Indy doesn’t know why they were after it. Meanwhile, he’s approached by a stranger named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) to help find his mother and Indy’s former colleague, Harold Oxley (John Hurt), who’ve been kidnapped in Peru while searching the Amazon for the lost city of Akator. It seems that Oxley found a mysterious crystal skull and was trying to return it to its proper resting place for reasons unknown. When Indy and Mutt investigate, they too find the skull, right where Oxley left it, but once again encounter the Russians, who take them prisoner. To Indy’s surprise, Mutt’s mother turns out to be his old flame, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). But an even greater surprise awaits them all at Akator.

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was conceived as a tribute to the sci-fi B-movies of the 1950s. And in many ways, the plot makes logical sense, following naturally from the earlier films and taking advantage of the iconic cultural mythologies of the 1940s and 50s, not to mention Cold War paranoia. But while the returning Karen Allen and John Hurt are welcome additions to the cast, Shia LaBeouf’s character—meant as a kind of passing of the torch for future chapters in the franchise—was highly polarizing. And Blanchett’s Spalko was little more than a Natasha Fatale caricature. Blanchett certainly gave it her all, but her performance was so over-the-top as to be almost comic. It’s also fair to say that the film’s notorious “nuking the fridge” moment quickly became the cinematic equivalent of Fonzie’s infamous “jumping the shark” TV episode of Happy Days. And yet… Kingdom still has its moments, some of them good and some completely ridiculous. Harrison Ford is, of course, as likable as ever. And the film has a pulpy tone that works for the character, even if it also feels a bit too predictable at times.

Like the earlier films in this series, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was shot on 35 mm photochemical film using Arriflex 235 and 435 and Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL cameras, with Panavision anamorphic lenses. Unlike those films however, it was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. For its UHD release, the original camera negative for live action plates (sans VFX) was rescanned in 4K resolution and the 2K VFX shots were upsampled to create a new 4K Digital Intermediate, with new grading for high dynamic range (again both HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are included). All of this work was approved by the director. The good news is, footage scanned from the OCN mostly looks fantastic, exhibiting a nice uptick in detail and refinement, though the dearth of photochemical grain in some scenes suggests that DNR has been applied to even out the different sources. (It’s more than I would prefer, but I wouldn’t quite call it excessive.) Of course, the bad news is that the visual effects for this film were all done via computer graphics rather than practical models and optical-printing. And with the lower resolution and upsampling, they just don’t look as good. That’s true of nearly all of the film’s visual effects unfortunately. The Sabre jet flyover as U.S. Government forces arrive at Hangar 51 is one of the more obvious examples. As you might expect however, the HDR grade does make a difference, with deeper blacks, bolder highlights, and more nuanced color throughout. On the whole, this is a good remaster. Kingdom certainly does look its best, and better than ever. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the image work done for the earlier films.

Ben Burtt’s English Dolby Atmos mix is the star of this show, however, and once again it’s phenomenal. At the risk of repeating myself, it offers a big wide front soundstage, lots of lively panning and movement, clear dialogue, and plenty of immersive use of the surrounds. The atomic test, the Sabre flyover, and the waterfall drops all use the height channels to full advantage. Williams’ score is brassy and blustery, presented in excellent fidelity. Mutt’s rumbling motorbike engine has pleasing low end heft. Simply put, every Atmos mix in this box set is a demo-worthy surround sound experience. Additional audio options on the 4K disc include English Audio Description, along with Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital. Available subtitles include English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Cantonese, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, and Thai.

The disc’s menus and extras are identical to the previous Blu-ray release. The latter includes:

  • Theatrical Trailer 2 (HD – 1:54)
  • Theatrical Trailer 3 (HD – 1:57)
  • Theatrical Trailer 4 (HD – 1:42)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Film/Video/Audio): C+/B+/A+

 

SPECIAL FEATURES (BLU-RAY DISC)

Unfortunately, this set includes no new special features at all, which is its greatest disappointment. The studio could easily have included fresh interviews, a retrospective look back, or even the new featurette with Ben Burtt and John Roesch (looking back at the creation of the original film’s sound effects) that they’ve been using to promote this 4K release. Instead, what you get is the exact same bonus features Blu-ray found in the 2012 box set. It offers the following:

  • On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark: From Jungle to Desert (HD – 29:35)
  • On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark: From Adventure to Legend (SD – 28:17)
  • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (SD – 57:48)
  • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (SD – 50:52)
  • The Making of the Temple of Doom (SD – 41:09)
  • The Making of the Last Crusade (SD – 35:03)
  • The Making of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD – 28:49)
  • The Stunts of Indiana Jones (SD – 10:56)
  • The Sound of Indiana Jones (SD – 13:21)
  • The Music of Indiana Jones (SD – 12:22)
  • The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones (SD – 12:22)
  • Raiders: The Melting Face! (SD – 8:12)
  • Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies (with pop-up trivia – SD – 11:46)
  • Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations (with pop-up trivia – SD – 9:58)
  • Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute (SD – 9:15)
  • Indy’s Friends and Enemies (SD – 10:10)
  • Iconic Props (HD – 9:52)
  • The Effects of Indy (HD – 22:34)
  • Adventures in Post Production (HD – 12:36)
  • Credits (HD – :58)

These features aren’t bad per se—they’re actually fairly substantial and satisfying in their own way. I was in attendance for the AFI Tribute recording many years ago, so it’s a pleasure to see it again. This 4K package does include Digital copy codes on a paper insert, and a fold-out mini-poster with one sheet art for each film on one side, and a map of Indy’s adventures on the other. But there are no Blu-ray copies of the film in HD. And it should be noted that the newly-repackaged Blu-rays (available in stores now with the same cover art as the 4K set) are not remastered from the new 4K scans—they’re the same discs released previously. (That seems odd, but I suspect that properly remastered Blu-ray editions will eventually be released with Indy 5 next year.) It’s also important to note that this collection of features is still missing a significant amount of previously-released content.

 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

Missing from the 2-disc BD release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008 is:

  • Indiana Jones Timelines (BD-Java interactive feature)
  • The Return of a Legend (HD – 17:34)
  • Pre-Production (HD – 11:44)
  • Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD – 6 parts – 80:52)
  • Warrior Makeup (HD – 5:34)
  • The Crystal Skulls (HD – 10:10)
  • Closing: Team Indy (HD – 3:41)
  • Pre-Visualization Sequences: Area 51 Escape (HD – 3:51)
  • Pre-Visualization Sequences: Jungle Chase (HD – 5:47)
  • Pre-Visualization Sequences: Ants Attack (HD – 4:29)
  • Gallery: The Art Department – The Adventure Begins (HD)
  • Gallery: The Art Department – Cemetery and Jungle (HD)
  • Gallery: The Art Department – Akator (HD)
  • Gallery: Stan Winston Studio – Corpses, Skeletons & Mummies (HD)
  • Gallery: Stan Winston Studio – Aliens & Crystal Skulls (HD)
  • Gallery: Production Photographs (HD)
  • Gallery: Portraits (HD)
  • Gallery: Behind-the-Scenes Photographs (HD)

Missing from the original Indiana Jones Trilogy DVD release in 2003 are:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: An Introduction (SD – 7:48)
  • Indiana Jones: An Appreciation (SD – 11:40)
  • Storyboards: The Well of Souls (SD – 4:16)
  • The Temple of Doom: An Introduction (SD – 5:59)
  • Storyboards: The Mine Cart Chase (SD – 2:31)
  • The Last Crusade: An Introduction (SD – 6:13)
  • Storyboards: The Opening Sequence (SD – 3:40)
  • Gallery: Illustrations & Props (SD) x3 (one for each film)
  • Gallery: Production Photographs & Portraits (SD) x3 (one for each film)
  • Gallery: Effects/ILM (SD) x3 (one for each film)
  • Gallery: Marketing (SD) x3 (one for each film)
  • LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventure Game Demo (PC DVD-ROM)

There was also a Best Buy-exclusive bonus disc for the 2003 DVD release that included:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Classic Featurette (1981) (SD – 9:56)

As you can see, that’s a lot of missing content. So unfortunately, if you want to keep everything, you literally can’t part with any of your previous editions. And that’s a bummer.

One last note about this release: The packaging is properly terrible. It’s a 5-disc Digipak wrapped in flimsly cardboard that slips into a flimsy cardboard case. How flimsy you might ask? Even while trying to be careful, I’ve already damaged it simply by trying to put the Digipak back in the case. What I’m probably going to do is throw this mess away, take the discs out of my old Blu-ray case for The Complete Adventures and just store the 4Ks in there. Both sets include 5-discs, and the Blu-ray packaging is gorgeous, with a with a nice hard embossed slipcase and a sturdy book to hold the discs. Note to Paramount and all other studios: Please never use this vendor again. This is an epic packaging fail.

Its lack of fresh extras, missing extras, and terrible packaging aside, the new 4K remasters of these films are so good that it’s surprisingly easy to overlook the rest. Honestly, as many times as I’ve seen these films over the years, Raiders, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade have never looked or sounded better. They’re essentially reference quality. As for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it sounds fantastic and the HDR does kick the image up a notch. But hats off to everyone on the remastering team here—I only wish the classic Star Wars films looked this good in 4K. And a special word of thanks to Ben Burtt and his team at Skywalker Sound for delivering four of the best Atmos experiences I’ve ever had in my home theater. For its picture and sound quality alone, the Indiana Jones: 4-Move Collection in 4K Ultra HD is not to be missed.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD)

 

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1981, 1984, 1989, 2008, 2160p, 4K UHD, 4K Ultra HD, action, adventure, Akator, Alex Hyde-White, aliens, Alison Doody, Amazon, Amrish Puri, archeology, Area 51, Ark of the Covenant, atomic bomb, Austria, Bill Hunt, blockbuster, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, Cate Blanchett, Club Obi-Wan, Cold War, crystal skull, David Koepp, Denholm Elliott, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision HDR, Douglas Slocombe, drama, Egypt, Elsa Schneider, flying saucer, Frank Marshall, George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Grail Knight, Harrison Ford, HDR, HDR10, Henry Jones, High Dynamic Range, Holy Grail, Indiana, Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Irina Spalko, Janusz Kaminski, Jeff Nathanson, Jeffrey Boam, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, John Rhys-Davies, John Williams, Julian Glover, Junior, Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, KGB, Lao Che, Lawrence Kasdan, Lucasfilm, Marcus Brody, Marion Ravenwood, Marshall College, Menno Meyjes, Michael Kahn, Mutt Williams, native 4K film scan and restoration, Nazi Germany, Nazis, Nevada, Pankot Palace, Paramount, Paramount Pictures, Paul Freeman, Peru, Philip Kaufman, Philip Stone, Portugal, psychic power, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ray Winstone, review, River Phoenix, Robert Watts, Ronald Lacey, Roshan Seth, Sallah, Sean Connery, Shanghai, Shia LaBeouf, Short Round, Shorty, shot on 35 mm film, Soviets, Steven Spielberg, The Canyon of the Crescent Moon, The Digital Bits, Willard Huyck, Willie Scott

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