"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Skull" arrives in theaters May 22. To get audiences in tune with their action hero, Paramount Pictures has released everything Indy on enhanced DVDs to keep fans covered, at least until the big day when the legendary archeologist with whip-snapping retorts lands on the silver screen once again.
Raiding Indy's movie arc
First up are the original movies. Arriving on DVD today is the "Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection
." The 3-disc set includes the first three original films, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Temple of Doom," and "Last Crusade."
What so priceless about "Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection" is the extras that have never been included in any previous DVD releases of the films.
Each film begins with a newly recorded introduction by the Indiana Jones brain trust, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. To witness these magicians talk about the secrets to their magic is pure bliss for any fan of the series or either of those two gentlemen.
As adventures go, there are few that can compete with the epic, classic Hollywood formula that produced the first three Indiana Jones movies. Whether he is crossing the globe searching for the Lost Arc of the Covenant while battling Nazis, fending off Indian Gods obsessed with human hearts hanging off a cliff, or embarking on his own quest for the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones packs adventure, action, emotional power and romance into each two-hour movie.
The "Adventure collection" also features an impressive set of extras. A documentary on the Indiana Jones
phenomenon is phenomenal. The short gives a quick arc to the plot points of all three films as audiences become aware that these stories are more connected than simply through its hero.
A highlight of the extras has to be the "Indy's Women Reminisce" starring each of the actresses who brought the tough-as-nails sex appeal to the adventure. From the first film's Karen Allen to Kate Capshaw, who more than made a movie, she met her husband, Steven Spielberg. It's a fascinating look inside their world as a new woman makes her presence felt in "Kingdom of the Skull" arriving in theaters May 22, Cate Blanchett.
One of the most famous special effects scenes in movie history is from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where the evil Nazi sympathizer's face melts amongst the hell and fire fury of the film's climax. A brilliant addition to the DVD collection is the short documentary that shows exactly how that special effect magic was accomplished using 1982 technology.
Indiana Jones is almost as well known for his Fedora as his fear of snakes. There is even an extra chronicling how this man's man found himself terrified of tiny reptiles.
Young Indy as history teacher
Also on DVD from Paramount and CBS DVD is the third chapter of "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones." The series was utterly brilliant but failed to find much of an audience on television.
With the DVD's arrival, audiences can delve deeper in to the adventures that made Indiana Jones America's favorite archeologist.
But what is most valuable about the "Young Indiana Jones" series is how it acts as a history lesson. A priceless opportunity to explore the rich past of some of the world's great figures exists with each show. Children of all ages will find it fascinating to witness young Indiana Jones mingling with Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, Ernest Hemingway or Al Capone.
The DVD extras include 15 hours of special features that document the history behind the adventure on screen. Never trying to be too serious, the "Young Indiana Jones" DVD collection also includes the "Hunting for Treasure" game, picture-heavy maps that allow the user to navigate through geography and history.
The work is a perfect study in how to entertain and enlighten.