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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Five years after "Temple of Doom" scared the hell out of families across the country, our favorite adventurer regained his footing with 1989's INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.

Spielberg has said he felt a commitment to create another Indy film with a lighter tone than the controversial previous sequel (which I really enjoyed!)

The opening scene is terrific with a young Indy (River Phoenix) showing us how his love of artifacts and crazy escapes was born. Phoenix captures Ford perfectly down to showing us where that scar on his chin came from.

When Indiana's father Henry goes missing in search of the Holy Grail, his son Indiana takes up the quest.

Sean Connery plays the senior Jones to perfection, with charm, smarts and parental rule to spare. Harrison Ford is terrific as well, with plenty of great action and laugh out loud moments from beginning to end.

Director Spielberg and creator George Lucas serve up a non-stop series of cliffhangers, featuring not only nasty Nazis but Hitler himself, a flight aboard the Hindenburg, a midair dogfight, a desert showdown between an armored vehicle and Indy's horse and a bravado final 20 minutes to rival the opening of the ark in the original Raiders.

Denholm Elliot is terrific as Marcus Brody, Indy's friend whose enthusiasm is matched by his oblivion. Alison Doody (A View To A Kill) is Elsa, caught between adventure & both Joneses and Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only) makes for a villain you love to hate as a wealthy art collector who wants the grail for his own.

The pre-CGI effects are first rate. John Williams outdoes himself with his most fun-infused Raiders music. He seems to be having a hell of a time composing a bouncy action score after the doom and gloom of that Temple in the last installment.

Indy and Elsa's exploration in the sewers of Venice (complete with 2000 rats trained for the film) and their boat escape is a blast. The Indy and Dad scene as the castle is burning down is hilarious.

Spielberg has said this is his favorite Indiana Jones film and it's a close second place for me behind the original Raiders.

If you haven't seen this in awhile, fire it up, settle in with the biggest screen you have, crank up the sound and enjoy two hours of Ford, Spielberg, Connery and Williams crafting an enjoyable adventure loaded with humor, heart and globe hopping suspense.

While it didn't turn out to be THE LAST CRUSADE, it gets an A and fond memories of seeing it at the original Cine Capri opening weekend!

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