INDIANA JONES and the 4K Restoration

Cinema’s greatest adventurer comes to Ultra High Definition in a 4-Film Box Set

The Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection is now available on 4K UHD and Standard Blu-ray. Please note the images in the article are purely illustrative and not captured from this release.

The Star Wars franchise may cast the biggest shadow from the wonderful wizards at Lucasfilm and ILM, but since discovering the Indy series (I came to it later than most, as a teenager), I fell in love with the eminent archeologist, his companions, and their thrilling, slightly horror-tinged pulp adventures.

The films are of course well known and pretty much universally beloved, so I won’t go to deep on reviewing them except to say that I adore them and if you’re reading this, then chances are, so do you.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Clarity

Unsurprisingly, these films look absolutely gorgeous. Well, Crystal Skull is still weirdly overlit with a lot of light bloom, but these presentations look remarkable. Except for a couple brief instances of what looks like camera shake (I think perhaps the digital cleanup tools had a hard time interpolating this kind of movement, and it looks a little wonky when it happens), the picture quality is really excellent.

There’s a famous little set design gag in Raiders in which heiroglyphics resembling R2-D2 and C-3PO can be seen carved into the structure behind Indy as he and Sallah discover and remove the Ark of the Covenant from its enclosure. On a large UHD TV in 4K, this little Easter Egg is much more discernible than ever before.

For this release, there has been an extensive cleanup effort to not only restore the film, but also to make it a UHD experience, cleaning up many of the aging effects. It looks terrific, but purists will certainly balk. Let’s talk about…

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Broom

A lot can be said, and has been, of this release and the discovery of certain cleanup and “tinkering” that has quietly taken place.

The terrific website has posted some very detailed comparisons of the 4K versions of Raiders and Temple of Doom against the Blu-rays which highlight some of these changes. These links are well worth checking out if you’re interested in this sort of thing (be advised you are likely to encounter NSFW materials and advertising on this site).

But to summarize my own experience, as a fan who has seen these films many times on VHS, DVD, theatrically, and on Blu-ray, I didn’t notice most of these changes. The vast majority of these alterations are very respectful and technical in nature, cleaning up aging effects: mostly fixing up choppily composited edges, or occasionally adding shadows where they were missing, or removing odds and ends that weren’t meant to be seen. No CGI song and dance numbers or “the swordsman in the square shot first” nonsense.

This kind of change isn’t new to the series, either — the famous reflection of the cobra in the safety glass in Raiders was digitally removed in prior versions. Though frankly, I miss seeing it, and I know many who love these films may feel the same way about these other little changes.

While I tend to prefer a canonical, “accurate” or “true” presentation (give us the real Star Wars already, George), but having watched these films in their new iteration, I have to say the overall effect was pleasing — they’re much more seamless now, and the changes don’t feel garish or intrusive — actually it’s the opposite effect, there’s less distraction from noticing the hard edges of the manual compositing. I would even go as far as to say that this is what the Star Wars special editions should have been.

The 4K restoration will be my go-to way to watch the films in the future, but even so, this makes it hard to let go of the prior Blu-ray collection and I think I’ll be hanging on to them and making sure my kids have the opportunity to see them that way.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Art

I’ve previously posted an unboxing pictorial which covers the physical package in great detail.

Unfortunately the physical aspects of this release, a rather flimsy box printed on cardstock, with a reductive white design, don’t offer much incentive as eye candy to add it to your shelf. Particularly in comparison to the very beautiful Blu-ray edition, a compact, rigid, and gorgeously illustrated box set.

Indiana Jones and the Last Purchase Made?

Of course it’s obvious that with a fifth and reportedly final Indiana Jones film in production, another version of this set will soon materialize with all five films, and the somewhat disappointing packaging this go-round is likely a down-play to make it easier to repurchase this thing in a year or two.

We all know that waiting for that inevitable complete box set is the smart play here (see also: Jurassic Park), but for those who can’t wait, the new 4-Movie Collection is a marvelous add-on — though perhaps not a replacement — for your Blu-rays.

Special Features and Extras — Raiders of the Lost Ark 4K UHD

§ Teaser Trailer (1:04)
§ Theatrical Trailer (2:34)
§ Re-Issue Trailer (1:45)

Special Features and Extras — Temple of Doom 4K UHD

§ Teaser Trailer (1:01)
§ Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

Special Features and Extras — Last Crusade 4K UHD

§ Teaser Trailer (1:28)
§ Theatrical Trailer (2:13)

Special Features and Extras — Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 4K UHD

§ Theatrical Trailer 2 (1:52)
§ Theatrical Trailer 3 (1:55)
§ Theatrical Trailer 4 (1:40)

Special Features and Extras — Bonus Blu-ray Disc

This set carries over the bonus features from the prior Blu-ray release as listed:

· On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark
§ From Jungle to Desert
§ From Adventure to Legend

· Making the Films
§ The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 documentary)
§ The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
§ The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
§ The Making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
· The Making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD)

· Behind the Scenes
§ The Stunts of Indiana Jones
§ The Sound of Indiana Jones
§ The Music of Indiana Jones
§ The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones
§ Raiders: The Melting Face!
§ Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies (with optional pop-ups)
§ Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations (with optional pop-ups)
§ Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute
§ Indy’s Friends and Enemies
§ Iconic Props (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)
§ The Effects of Indy (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)
§ Adventures in Post Production (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)

A/V Out.

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