Indiana Jones Blu-ray Collection Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 19th, 2012 at 7:59 am,

Indiana Jones Blu ray Reviews Complete Adventures Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review

Indiana Jones, Professor of archaeology, expert in the occult, and obtainer of rare antiquities.” We all know the man, we all know the stories, but now it’s time to reintroduce one of the greatest cinematic icons like you have never seen him before.

On the heels of previous releases of fan-favorites such as the Back to the Future Trilogy, the Star Wars Collection, and Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones is finally getting his Blu-ray debut with Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventure. But is this collection worth purchasing? Or is it merely a cheap transfer to get consumers to dip back in the same well?

From the mind of George Lucas and the directorial eye of Steven Spielberg, Indiana Jones was the quintessential cinema hero. Based off the old serial adventurers from the ’30s and ’40s, Indy was an all-American who could crawl through tombs and save the world – all while convincingly showing off his appreciation for history, and love for molding the minds of tomorrow. Foiling Nazis, rescuing civilizations and trying to unwrap the mysteries of life and the greatest myths in the world… that was the fun part.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of all the films in the collection, and just how well (or not) they’ve been transfered to the Blu-ray format.

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Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark

This is the movie that started it all and it remains the overwhelming fan-favorite. It didn’t take more than three seconds to see this Blu-ray collection was more than just a transfer; it was almost like seeing the movie for the first time. Combine that with HD sight and full 5.1 DTS-HD surround sound for that magnificent opening to the film where we see Indy for the first time: whipping away a revolver from the hands of a would-be assassin, heroically emerging from the shadows and proceeding to outwit centuries-old traps before having to out-run a boulder escaping from a tomb. You could literally replace the original production year of 1981 with 2012, show the Blu-ray, and those “not in-the-know” may not be any the wiser.

Indiana Jones Blu ray conversion restoration before after 570x483 Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review

The frame-by-frame restoration does wonders for the film. If you are like many and grew up watching the original on television, VHS or even purchased the DVD trilogy set from a few years back, you will instantly recognize the amazing improvement in picture quality. The movie presents a clear, well-defined picture that shows so much detail – especially in dark tombs, pyramids, and other scenes of the like. The desert scenes of Cairo are truly fabulous as Indy, Sallah and Marion make their way around the Nazis trying to locate the Ark.

You will notice off the bat the dense foliage and detail of the jungle scenes, which may remind you of Spielberg’s similar lensing in films like the Jurassic Park: Lost World or the original Jurassic Park. Perhaps the best part of the transfer is Indy in the map room, but all the exterior Cairo scenes are hard to beat – they just add so much clarity, detail and breathtaking colors to the scenes that you do not get in the previous home releases of the film.

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones Temple of Doom Blu ray Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review

This was probably the most intriguing of Blu-ray transfers, since – due to Temple of Doom‘s darker tones, lighting and surroundings –  you had to wonder about Blu-ray’s picture clarity. But ToD on Blu-ray doesn’t disappoint, and like the first film it succeeds in every way with this new presentation. The Temple of Doom added a lot earthier, flesh tones to the palette, and once Indy goes underground at Pankot Palace, you can really get a new experience with all the reddish, fiery beats in the second act.

I always loved the opening scene of this movie, as cheesy as it was – with the theme song (in all its brilliance) reintroducing us to Indy. The Blu-ray presentation adds so much more to the film, giving much more detail to Club Obi-Wan and everyone in it. Willie’s ornate red dress and Indy’s red lapel flower in Shanghai gleam on screen as minor examples of the transfer change. Perhaps the best example of this transfer you do not see in the previous home releases is all the detail in the costumes, asToD has many, when compared to the previous and succeeding films. Favorite scenes such as the mine cart chase, plane escape/crash scene and mine revolt are all brilliantly remastered.

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NEXT PAGE: Last Crusade, Crystal Skull and Bonus Features…

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones Last Crusade Blu ray Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review

My favorite of the four films – and the best in the Blu-ray transfer, as well. Out of all the Blu-ray transfer collections I own (The Matrix, Alien, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park Star Wars) this one is the best. I had to view it on two televisions to make sure, but there are no flaws in the 1080p picture. This collection is worth the buy simply for this movie’s re-release. The third acts’ desert chase, the opening with Young Indy and the underground Venice scenes are probably the best examples of where this transfer is so brilliant. Fans will also love close-ups of the Grail diary where they can actually read stuff in the book, which is really cool.

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Cast of Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review This one wasn’t anything new. It is the most recent and the only one in the series with a previous Blu-ray credit to its name. The Blu-ray ranks right up there with the rest of the Indy Blu-ray presentations in terms of raw visual excellence. Sure, the story isn’t that great – but it’s no less impressive than the previous three, visually.

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Bonus Features

What is a Blu-ray collection without the Bonus Features? However, This area of the release is my biggest complaint; the special features are somewhat lacking. Much like the re-release of Jurassic Park, fans who already owned the DVDs will get the same features from those, with only two added behind-the-scenes features on Raiders called “From Jungle to Desert” and “From Adventure to Legend,” all in 1080p HD.

These are great features that offer never-before-seen insight into the film that started it all – but the same kind of added attention to all the movies would have been really cool, too.

Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection disc cover art Indiana Jones Blu ray Collection Review

As for the sound quality, this collection offers 5.1 DTS-HD and just brings a whole new immersion into the films; you actually feel like you are in the jungles or the crypts and tombs with Indy or his villainous foes. It is quite amazing how much detailed sound separation you get with this latest edition, so if you have the set-up it’s totally worth the purchase.

This set is worth the purchase just to have the original films in Blu-ray, if nothing else. Does it lack in the extras? Yes, and there are no digital copies either, but all in all there isn’t much to complain about.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Kevin Coll (@WhatAboutKevin)

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  1. Sorry, but I refuse to repurchase films that I already own in DVD format. With the upconversion my Blu-Ray player does, as well as the original Dolby Digital, I enjoy the movies just fine.

    • That may be so, but you have more of the digital tinkering on the DVD.

  2. Dammit, it’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Lucas adding the “Indiana Jones and the” crap to all of the official artwork is ridiculous. It will always be “Raiders….” to me. Too bad TOD and LC didn’t get the restorations they also deserve. That 4th so-called “movie” will make a nice outdoor coaster.

    • While i completely agree with you. I also think they did it like that to make it more like the serials from the 30′s and 40′s that inspired it.

    • I was surprised that the “Indiana Jones and the…” wasn’t added to the title with the IMAX release of Raiders.

  3. The packaging is worth a complaint. It’s one of those terrible cardboard things that the discs slip into. Never had discs that do not get scratched from that kind of packaging. Also the binding on the “book” is pretty bad and likely to fall apart very quickly. Also the information is the set is totally lacking any information about what special features are included ( there is no booklet ) the only information you get is the sticker on the back of the box. In fact there is very little information in the “book” just lots of stills so not sure what the point of going in this direction was.

  4. I too have the original trilogy DVD collection. I’d love if I could just get Raiders and Crusade on Blu-ray, skip the other two to save my money. Except for the two made-for-Blu-ray features, everything else does not benefit from the HD upgrade. Oh well, maybe I’ll hold out for the individual movies to come out, but it seems like Lucasfilm is going to stick to the quadrilogy collection.

  5. Formats are as much products of their time as movies. Blu-ray to me means “upgraded movies I have on dvd,” appropos of this era of remakes. And maybe a few movies like “Beyond the Black Rainbow” that are made to look like they’re on VHS tapes.
    I might give Raiders a gander for the map room sequence. I thought that would clean up nice.

  6. Saw ToD on cable earlier and the use of green screen was very obvious in the chasm scenes. Has that been addressed with the blu-ray?

    • Good point. Although it’s not green screen. Green screen wasn’t used back then. It was blue screen, but same idea. The scene where it would be very apparent in the climactic bridge fight. There was a lot of blue screen used there. Not sure how the Blu-ray transfer can address that.

      • Ah, had no idea about blue v. green screen, thanks for the neat information!

  7. Still gotta get the Star Wars set first… but thanks for the review!
    Even with the lack of special features and the 4th movie’s inclusion, I’m still interested in buying this collection, I mean, come on people! It’s Indiana Jones in HD!!

    • Here Here!!
      This is Indiana Jones we are talking about.
      Also, the Star Wars set is pretty amazing. I hated the prequels but they look great on Blu-ray.

  8. I will get it for sure

    And I know I’m in the minority here but, I didn’t hate the 4th movie. Sure it wasn’t as good as the first 3, but it was still enjoyable. Yes, the story is a little out there, but it’s based on religion just like the first 3, except the region is not Christianity. Anyway, not trying to open up another discussion as it has been talked to death, just putting in my two cents.

  9. That Crystal Skull picture looks fake. The light sources seem way too unnatural, and the background looks like it was added in-place of a green screen. That last movie was entertaining, but not up to the quality of the first three. There were just too many things that were impossible to believe. Too unrealistic (i.e. refrigerator scene, ants, waterfalls).

    Why do people have to put fake backgrounds everywhere in movies now? Is it so hard to just film outside. Jiminy Cricket!

    • p.s. I could be wrong on the lighting. I suppose if it were “outside” lights wherever they were. And perhaps I was a bit negative. The original three look like they’ll be fantastic (especially Raiders!).

  10. It’s a shame that they couldn’t re-encode the old extras in HD. (In fact, I read another review that states that extras that were in HD on the Crystal Skull BD are in SD on this set!)

  11. I just got The Indiana Jones Collection on Blu-Ray and its a pretty good set but not even close to the quality or content of Star Wars The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray, you can easily tell the time effort Lucasfilm took in restoring Star Wars for BD compared to Indiana Jones plus I love Star Wars,I only like the Indy movies,just my two cents my fellow Ranters.

  12. …sorry for my writing mistake,I meant to say “the time AND effort Lucasfilm took in restoring Star Wars”.