director Steven Spielberg
Man, I hadn’t seen this film since, well, probably the early 1990’s. I remember seeing it in ’89 when it came out and totally enjoying it. But, the kids and I have been doing our Indiana Jones thing, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and so we eagerly watched the trilogy’s original finale. We’re still on the fence about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
The Last Crusade was indeed a return to form for George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Indiana Jones. Maybe the Nazis just were the best counterpart in villainy for the fedora-wearing archaeological adventurer. Definitely, throwing in Sean Connery as Jones’ bookish, remote father was a stroke of movie-making luck. It’s a great pairing, and as different as the two men are, there is total screen chemistry between the two. The relationship makes the film. It’s great.
We had the same Lego-oriented weirdness that we experienced with both Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings movies, in that Felix had completed the Lego video games based on the films so somewhere toward the ending, he noted what would happen based on how hard this segment was to complete. Such a weird meta way to watch a film.
The film, of course, starts with River Phoenix as the young Indiana Jones. I’d met him around this time. Only a couple of years later he would be dead. Another strange experience of watching what is actually a great opening sequence.
The film has some other great moments, like when the old knight says, “He chose,…poorly.” When the villain ages and decays after drinking from the wrong chalice. It’s a great film, definitely adding to the overall significance and legacy of the character. One of those totally enjoyable summer adventure films that they try to knock out year after year and miss the mark way, way more often than not.