Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, River Phoenix, Julian Glover
Renowned archaeologist Indiana Jones (Ford) has taken up the search for the Holy Grail. It’s the same quest that left his father missing somewhere in Europe. Now Indiana is working with Dr. Elsa Schneider (Doody) to unravel the clues and hopefully find his father and the Grail. The race for the Grail will take Indiana into dangerous territory while he searches for his father. Meanwhile, the Nazis have their own team searching for the Grail in the hope of using its power. The legend of the Holy Grail could mean that much more is at stake than the life of one man.
Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are awesome movies that lead up to this wonderful third film. Still, this movie seems to reach a higher level of success on almost every level. The story has more charm and a more interesting plot than the previous two. Like the first two films, this one also found incredible box office success. Despite what I view as the most successful of the franchise, this move only took home one Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing.
This is another great cast in the series. Harrison Ford (42) and Sean Connery (The Untouchables) take center stage as the younger and elder Jones men. Their chemistry on-screen is wonderful to watch. The female lead is played nicely by Alison Doody (Taffin). The cast also includes Denholm Elliott (A Room with a View) and John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) who both continued roles started in the first film of the series. The movie also features River Phoenix (Stand By Me), Julian Glover (Troy), and Michael Byrne (The Sum of All Fears).
The story put together for this third Indiana Jones film needed to improve upon the successes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The second film in the series had fallen flat with the critics and this one was highly anticipated as a second chance. George Lucas (Star Wars), Menno Meyjes (The Color Purple), Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff), and Jeffrey Boam (The Lost Boys) came together and pulled out all the stops. Their work brought out all the finer details of Indiana Jones and his relationship with his father. This aspect of the film really carries the rest of the story perfectly. The dialogue in this one is also classic. Thanks to the perfect pairing of Ford and Connery, the dialogue is awesome.
The camera work and effects are equally impressive, especially by 1989 standards. The film makers went to great lengths to create perfect settings for every moment. They also found incredible locations to shoot at, adding to the authenticity of some scenes. The action is sharp and well choreographed, keeping the suspense alive throughout. Overall, this is a nicely made film from a technical standpoint. It does show age, but not enough to distract from the overall success.
If you liked the first two films, you’ll have no reason not to love this one. If you’re new to the series, this is a great one to start with. This is a great movie for the whole family, with action and adventure mixed in with perfectly placed comedic moments. I recommend this to fans of the other films, and fans of Connery or Ford. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.