Time: 127 mins.
Genre: Action Adventure
Won Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing. Nominated for Original Score and Best Sound.
After the darkness of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, I was somewhat wary when they announced the third installment. That is until I heard they were casting Sean Connery as Indy's father. What could be better than a pairing of filmdom's sexiest leading men? As it turns out, not much. Ford and Connery are wonderful together as father/son archaeologists on the trail of history's greatest ancient treasure the Holy Grail. Their enemy is yet again the Nazis, the only group who doesn't complain about being portrayed as the bad guys. THE LAST CRUSADE is much lighter than either of the other films in the series, which is something of a relief after the 2nd movie. Though some people find this installment too frothy, I think Spielberg found the right mixture of witty humor, dangerous adventure and intriguing mystery. We really get to see Indy using every weapon in his arsenal, from his brain to his brawn, as well as learn more about what makes our hero tick. Which, in my opinion, makes Indy all the more endearing.
The film opens with a spectacular action sequence that has a young Indiana, played by River Phoenix, establishing what would become familiar territory in the life of his character retrieving a priceless artifact that has fallen into the wrong hands. In this 10-15 minute exposition we learn many things about why our hero is the way he is. How he got his fear of snakes, the scar on his chin, the fedora and the bullwhip. It may be a bit contrived for some people, but I found it to be a great way to help explain about Indy's character in a fun and exciting way. From there, we return to the "present" day where Indy's father, Professor Henry Jones, is missing. He is apparently kidnapped by the Nazis who are attempting to wrench from him the location of the Holy Grail, which supposedly grants anyone who drinks from it eternal life. Using his father's diary, Indy follows his trail while deciphering the mysteries of the grail's resting place. He initially hooks up with his father's partner, the blond and beautiful Elsa Schneider (Doody), but it quickly becomes clear once she gets her hands on the diary that her loyalties are not with the Jones's.