One of the Holy Grails (pun totally intended) of the films-not-yet-on-Blu-ray finally makes its high definition debut this week as “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” hits the format in one of the year’s most impressive Blu-ray collections. If you’ve been an Indy fan your whole life and you think you’ve seen these films at their most stunningly beautiful, you’re in for a treat as this Blu-ray set blows away every previous home entertainment release of the series.
Look no further than the jaw-dropping colors of “Temple of Doom” and gorgeous the sweeping vistas of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Indy’s never looked so good. Add in hours of quality bonus material and “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” becomes one of the must-have releases of the year. Not only that, but its Blu-ray release also gives us an excuse to run down five of the most iconic (and five of our favorite) Indy scenes of all time. You won’t find any Crystal Skulls in this list though… We’re sticking with the original trilogy!
Why Did It Have to be Snakes from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
If there’s anything that nearly everybody knows about Indiana Jones, it’s that the man hates snakes. And no, we don’t mean that he just dislikes them. Indy absolutely hates snakes. He loathes them in a way that most people loathe going to the dentist. Just Indy’s luck, then, that he’s thrust into the Well of Souls with little more than a whip and a prayer before landing dead center into a virtual pool of writhing, hissing serpents. When Indy falls flat on his stomach and comes face to face with a cobra ready to strike, the audience finally gets to feel the very same way Jones feels just before he enters the Well of Souls: “Why did it have to be snakes?”
A Ride in the Mines from “Temple of Doom” (1984)
After nearly all of Mola Ram’s Thuggee goons, it looks like Indy, Willie, and Short Round are finally going to make their escape from the temple in a mine cart. Happily ever after, right? Wrong. Not only is this crazy, roller coaster ride through the temple one of the scariest moments in the film, it’s also one of the most exhilarating and memorable chase scenes in the entire series. The score, the fast-paced action, and the point of view shots make you feel like you’re actually in the cart riding along with the trio as they battle more Thuggee henchman on their rocky ride to freedom. The mine cart ride is one of the hold-your-breath moments in the Indiana Jones series that makes watching them such a joy even more than twenty years since their theatrical release.
Leap of Faith & The 3 Challenges from “The Last Crusade” (1989)
The stakes have likely never been higher for Indy than they are at the conclusion to “The Last Crusade.” With his father dying on the floor of the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, Indiana Jones must use the notes in his father’s diary to navigate the deadly traps en route to finding the Holy Grail – the one thing that can save Henry. The sequence of events is one of the most memorable in all of Indy’s adventures not only because of the innovative effects used in the traps themselves, but also because Harrison Ford is just so damn endearing. If you’ve seen “The Last Crusade” more than once and you don’t feel a little queasy and take a deep breath right before the Leap of Faith (just like Indy) does, there’s something wrong with you.
Flaming Heart Excision from “Temple of Doom” (1984)
I’m sure I’ll probably hear it from the hardcore Indy fans on this one, but I just have to say it: Mola Ram is my favorite villain in the entire series. His dynamic look, crazy voodoo ways, and the fact that he can literally hold a flaming, beating human heart in his creeptastic hands beats out every faceless Nazi we’ve seen in the series before (and after). Plus, the guy has a stronghold on the child labor in his temple and has them pounding on rocks all day to look for his precious stones. He’s evil to the core and there’s no better Mola Ram scene than the one where he rips out some poor soul’s heart with his bare hands and holds it high above his head until it erupts in flames. Sure, it’s a sacrifice for the Hindu goddess Kali, but I just call it stone cold villainy at its very best.
Opening the Ark from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
If there’s a more iconic scene in all four of the Indian Jones film than the opening of the Ark of the Covenant, I’d love to hear what it is. Yes, there are plenty of awesome Indy moments, but this absolutely classic scene actually has Indy and Marion Ravenwood tied to a stake and holding their eyes shut for nearly the entire thing. It’s a testament to both the power of their relationship and their performances that we feel so much tension with them barely moving. And let’s not forget that this iconic scene also involves ghostly spirits flying from the Ark, lightning bolts zooming through Nazi soldiers, and (the coup de grâce) melting Nazi faces! All while Indy and Marion survive the ceremony by something as simple as keeping their eyes closed. Which just goes to show you that Indy always knows what to do.
“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” is available on Blu-ray now. If you want to get a peek at one of the bonus features from the collection, we’ve included a clip below.