Sunday, May 13, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; adventure, USA/ Jordan, 1989; D: Steven Spielberg, S: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover, River Phoenix

Late 1930s. Indiana Jones is informed that his father, Henry Jones, vanished while searching for clues to locate the Holy Grail. He and Marcus go to Venice and meet Dr. Elsa Schneider to retrace his father's footsteps. After surviving an assassination attempt by the Grail sect, Indiana finds his father in a castle near the Austrian-German border, captured by the Nazis, and is betrayed by Elsa. Still, Indiana and his father manage to escape and come to Hatay, a political entity in the Middle East, and find the cave with the Holy Grail. The Nazis also want the Grail and send Indiana to get it. A earthquake splits the ground and swallows the Grail, killing the Nazis, while Indiana and his father escape.

Shining "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is the third and the best part of the overrated "Indiana Jones" series, full of humor, style, freshness and clever ideas. This time the story was focused on the most holy object for Christians, the Holy Grail, while the "guest" appearance of Sean Connery as Indiana Jones' father Henry (who was nominated for an Golden Globe as a best supporting actor) is extremely charming and adds a dose of demystification to the macho protagonist archaeologist. The whole film is a wild fun handling the Nazi's obsession with Biblical mythology and the action sequences are brilliantly executed. In one funny scene, Indiana Jones disguises himself as a Nazi and manages to get his father's diary back in Berlin. Just as he is about to leave he is sucked in by the crowd and eventually ends up right in front of Adolf Hitler. Jones is scared stiff, assuming he is doomed, but as Hitler takes his diary, he signs it with his autograph, gives it back and leaves, not knowing what he just missed. In one ontological action sequence, Indiana and Henry are being persecuted by Nazis in fighter planes - Henry shoots at them with a machine gun, but he accidentally hits his own back of the plane so they crash. At the beach, Henry uses his umbrella to frighten off seagulls who massively fly at the Nazi fighter plane that looses control and crashes. Other action sequences are equally as inventive and comical (for instance, one "economic" bullet going through several Nazis standing in a row on a tank). The only bad thing is the overstretched, weak ending - the actual discovery of the Holy Grail is handled clumsily and was not resolved in a satisfying manner - but because of Spielberg's strong directing skills, scene after scene the trashy adventure was turned into a clever, tight and fluid film that not even the biggest Indiana Jones haters could resist.



Anthony Williams said...

I agree, save for the ending, which I found to be moving and poignant before it's rousing and humorous send off to the credits.

Marin Mandir said...

Well, the ending was, at last for me, a mixed bagg. It went way into mytholological territory (the invisible bridge, the old knight from the Crusades) and didn't handle it flawlesslly. But who cares, the rest of the film is great.