With the impending release of the fourth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it should be no surprise to those who follow the business side of show business that Lucasfilm et al are double-dipping the previous films with “special edition” DVDs, although that term is disingenuous. While there’s no denying all-new special features are included, they certainly don’t meet the same high quality of supplemental materials for other classic films released on DVD by companies such as Warner Brothers and The Criterion Collection. However, there is welcome news: unlike the first DVD release of these films back in 2003, fans can buy the films individually and won’t be forced to buy the entire set.
Inspired by the adventure serials they grew up with, George Lucas and Philip Kaufman worked on the story. Lucas then brought in Steven Spielberg, who had a desire at the time to make a James Bond film, to direct because Lucas was in the middle of working on the original Star Wars trilogy. Tom Selleck was initially cast as Jones, but his duties on the television series Magnum P.I. made him unavailable, which opened the door for Harrison Ford to play the role. Retitled in the canon for the 1999 VHS re-issue to match the others, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark remains a classic adventure film that set a high bar with its many iconic action sequences that still resonate today.
Similar to the Bond films, Raiders opens with a story already in progress. Indy is in a South American jungle circa 1936 in search of a golden idol. He is slowly revealed onscreen, both visually and internally. Indy is smart and cautious; he requires a bit of luck, though he doesn’t always succeed. After surviving a number of deadly traps, including outrunning a giant boulder that seals a cave entrance, Indy is forced to turn the idol over to his adversary Belloq.