Written by Musgo Del Jefe
It's hard to know how to classify the latest release in the Indiana Jones universe. The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, Volume Two - The War Years is a mouthful to say and even harder to label. When you've got 12 hours of "adventures" and over 13 hours of historical documentaries, which one is the "mother" and which one the "son"?
The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones series has taken a long, interesting road to DVD. The 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade featured River Phoenix as a 12-year-old Indiana Jones in 1912 as part of the back-story. The possibility of telling these earlier stories of Indiana Jones led George Lucas to outline the treatments for roughly 70 episodes of a show that would take place between 1905 and the start of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. As conceptualized, the series was practical and adaptable. The series would not tell its stories in chronological order. Instead, the stories would primarily take place with Sean Patrick Flanery as Indiana Jones between ages 16 and 20 and with Corey Carrier as Indy between the ages of 8 and 10. Each episode would be book-ended with narration by a 93-year-old Indy played by George Hall. Every two episodes would be filmed in such a way that they could be aired as two one-hour episodes or as one two-hour TV-movie. This allowed for multiple directors to be filming episodes at the same time and for multiple episodes to be completed in just over the time to complete one. The series was shot in stages between 1991 and 1994, with footage shot in 1996 to seamlessly edit the episodes all into feature-film length. In all, roughly 30 of the 70 episodes were filmed.
This latest release, The War Years, includes Chapters 8 through 15 on the series. The remaining episodes will probably be released to coincide with the release of the latest Indiana Jones movie this spring - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There are eight discs in the set that contain one of the films and at least three documentaries that relate to the subject of the episode. With anywhere from 90-120 minutes of special features for each movie, we start to get to the heart of the series. Each film strives to serve as a mini-history lesson. Young Indiana Jones either encounters famous historical figures or is involved in famous historical events in each episode. The special features on each disc expand upon the history behind the fictional story. So, do the "adventures" become education or entertainment? A quick look at two episodes may give better insight.