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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Indian Jones and the last Crusade

The Indiana Jones series were pure action and adventure flicks, packing a heavy dose of adventure, travel and action, in the shape of an persona who could be described as the James Bond of adventure. This comparison is even more interesting because the first (and possibly the best Bond), Sean Connery was brought in to play the role of Indiana Jone's father in this movie. The addition of Sean Connery and the scenes between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford (playing the role of Indiana Jones again) led to some interesting scenes including a fair dose of comedy in their interaction. By the time of this movie, the Indiana Jones series had already had 2 releases (Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark & Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and there was a lot of expectation from the third movie in the series.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Opinion is divided as to whether this movie matched upto the previous 2 movies; my personal opinion is that this movie had the required dose of action, adventure, villains, and historical legend in order to make it a thoroughly enjoyable movie. One comes out of the movie having thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and the addition of Sean Connery to the cast made it even better. Similarly, Harrison Ford seems a good fit for the role of Indiana Jones; one can watch his facial expressions and gesture during the various situations that he finds himself in, and find yourself rooting for him.
It is normally expected that a movie like Indiana Jones cannot be Oscar material (those are now seen as being for far more serious movies), but this movie was indeed nominated for 3 Oscars (none of the top ones though or for the acting ones):
* Best Sound Effects Editing - Won Oscar
* Original Score - Nominated
* Sound - Nominated
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade mostly won praise from critics, and most importantly, won on the popular front. On a budget of $48 million, it garnered a sum of over $470 million worldwide. The success of this movie was another milestone in the immense reputation of Steven Spielberg as a great film-maker and director.
The movie's main cast was Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and Sean Connery as professor Henry Jones (Indiana's father), portrayed as one of the professor kind of person, always busy in his research and not much given to caring for his son.
In addition, the movie also had the following people playing important roles - Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody: Indiana's bumbling colleague, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah: A friend of Indiana and a professional excavator, Alison Doody as Dr. Elsa Schneider: An Austrian professor who is in league with the Nazis, Julian Glover as Walter Donovan: An American businessman who is in league with the nazis and wants immortality, and River Phoenix plays the young Indiana Jones in the film's opening.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade went through a wide geographic diversity in terms of movie locations, with shooting happening at the following locations - Venice, Almeria, Jordan, Austria, Germany, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Texas.
The movie was released in 1989, and is set in the time of the Nazis, in 1938. The movie is based on the search for The Holy Grail, the mythical cup from which Christ drank during the last supper and which is supposed to give the drinker miraculous powers. The Holy Grail is a holy artifact that has been much sought after over the centuries, and spinning a movie around it would in fact inform a lot of viewers about what the Holy Grail was supposed to be.
Indiana Jones gets to know from a wealthy businessman Walter Donovan that his father, Dr. Henry Jones vanished while searching for clues to the Holy Grail. Indiana starts at the spot (along with Dr. Elsa Schneider) where his father vanished, in a library in Venice, and soon finds an underground set of chambers full of oil and rats. And then starts trouble. A cult dedicated to the protection of the Holy Grail 'The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword', sets fire to the oil in order to kill them. Indiana and companions manage to escape almost the entire cult except for their leader Kazim, whom they manage to convince that the they are looking for Indiana's father and not for the Holy Grail. Convinced, Kazim tells them about the location of his father.
Indiana manages to rescue his father, while learning of the reality of Donovan and Dr. Else (they were Nazi sympathizers and betray Indiana to the Nazi); and they go through a series of adventures (including meeting Hitler), on a Zeppelin airship, on a fighter place, on a car, on a tank, all the time being pursued by the Nazis. These scenes are the core of the action of an Indiana Jones movie, with the action being varied, fast, and furious. And then they reach the ancient Canyon where the Holy Grail is situated. There are a range of booby traps that Indiana manages to evade, but he has now a person reason to get to the grail. His father has been shot so that Indiana has to get to the grail to save him. They (Indiana, his companions, Else and Donovan) reach the Holy Grail and encounter the historic knight (a knight from the First Crusade who is alive because of the grail).
Indiana manages to save his father, while Donovan, making a wrong choice, rapidly ages and crumbles to dust. In the end, it is the greed of Else which causes the whole place to collapse; they lose the grail but Indiana and his companions manage to escape.

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