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Music Review: Indiana Jones – The Soundtracks Collection

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John Williams is his generation’s genius composer. The quality he has continually outputted across his vast body of work is astounding, and the themes he’s created define many of the films in which they appear, not the least of which is the Indiana Jones franchise.

Fans have been frustrated for years about the lack of availability of the series’ complete soundtracks, especially those for Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade. Concord’s five-disc Soundtracks Collection goes a long way toward rectifying the situation.

Purists will complain that these soundtracks aren’t actually the complete versions, especially of the second and third films, but the omission of some musical cues and the truncating of others are minor, and will only be missed by the most diehard of fans.

And even those guys can’t be too disappointed with this thorough set, which does include many previously unavailable tracks, as well as remastered versions that sound spectacular.

The Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack includes three previously unreleased tracks. The Temple of Doom soundtrack, long available only as a poor quality bootleg or a Japanese import, is vastly improved here with 11 previously unreleased tracks. The Last Crusade soundtrack has six previously unreleased tracks, along with an expanded version of the opening song that was previously unavailable.

Also included is the soundtrack for the film that most of us wish just didn’t exist – The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s presented here exactly the same as its stand alone version.

A fifth disc includes more than 30 minutes of unreleased music that didn’t fit on the soundtrack CDs themselves and a near-20-minute collection of interviews with Williams, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg about the music and the scoring process. The bonus disc includes two tracks from Raiders, three from Temple and six from Crusade.

The soundtrack CDs are all packaged in individual Digi-pak cases, and each have their own set of liner notes. The bonus disc comes in a thin cardboard sleeve. Also included is a booklet with photos from the films and essays about Williams’ work. The entire set is packaged in a faux-brown leather slipcase.

Indiana Jones – The Soundtracks Collection is clearly a well-thought out product, and despite the few missing pieces that purists will continue to long for, a set that should please nearly everyone. Whatever Williams goes on to do with the rest of his career, the Indiana Jones scores will remain among his most beloved and iconic, lagging behind only Star Wars and perhaps, Jaws.

Individual versions of the original trilogy’s scores have just been released for those who don’t want the full set, but the collection is the right way to purchase it – you might as well own all four scores, and the bonus material is a nice addition.

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About Dusty Somers

Dusty Somers is a Seattle-based editor and writer. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and Seattle Theater Writers.