Sooo, if you’re Steven Spieberg and your last movie didn’t get quite the reaction you wanted, how do you fix it. Well, since the parents complained about the violence and gore, I guess you can tone it down a bit. But if you really want your new movie to have that extra kick, how about adding another actor that is known for his work playing. Even better, have the second actor be older so that he can be seen as a father figure to Indiana Jones. So who in the world will you be able to get to take on such a role? How about the original James Bond himself, Sean Connery. Put that all together and you get the awesomeness that is today’s movie, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
The plot: In 1912, a young Indiana Jones is exploring some caves with his Boy Scout troop when he discovers some grave robbers uncovering a golden crucifix called The Cross of Coronado. Indiana manages to steal the crucifix and makes his escape through a nearby circus train, where he winds up developing his fear of snakes. Indiana rushes home but when the sheriff gets there, he makes Indiana give the crucifix back to the men, and while one of them gives the crucifix to the man that hired them, the leader of the robbers complements Indiana on spirit and gives him his fedora as a token of respect. Flash forward to 1938, Indiana Jones finally manages to recover the crucifix and, after making it back to the states, gives it to his friend Marcus Brody to display in a museum. After ducking out of his office, Indiana is approached by Walter Donovan, who wants Indiana to locate Indiana’s father, Henry, who has gone missing while searching for The Holy Grail, guided by an incomplete inscription from a tablet. Indiana and Marcus go to Henry’s house and discover his office has been ransacked. Realizing that someone was searching for something, Indiana checks a package he had received in the mail and discovers his dad’s Grail diary. Realizing that his dad must be in trouble, Indiana and Marcus head to Venice, Italy and meet with Elsa, who was assisting Henry in his research. Elsa takes the two men to the last place that Henry was seen, a library where Henry was searching for a Knight from the First Crusade’s tomb. Indiana discovers the location of the tomb and he and Elsa go down to look for the tomb itself, discovering a complete inscription on the knight’s shield. A group of men known as the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword set the tomb ablaze but Indiana and Elsa escape. The Brotherhood gives chase and after a high speed motorboat chase, Indiana is able to find out why the Brotherhood is attacking them and where his father is located. Indiana sends Marcus to meet up with Sallah while he and Elsa head to Castle Brunwald to rescue his dad. However, Indiana finds the place crawling with Nazi’s and when he does find his dad, he discovers that Elsa is actually a Nazi, who betrays him and grabs the diary. After Henry accidentally sets the room on fire while trying to burn through the ropes holding them, Indiana and Henry manage to escape the castle, then head to Berlin to recover Henry’s diary. In Berlin, Indiana confronts Elsa at a Nazi book-burning rally and manages to retrieve the diary, and have a brief encounter with Hitler, before boarding a zeppelin out of Germany. When the zeppelin begins to turn back towards Germany, Indiana and Henry board a biplane tethered underneath the zeppelin and continue to make their escape but they are attacked by two German planes. When Henry accidentally shoots the tail of the biplane, Indiana manages to crash the plane into a barn but they survive and steal a car in order to continue their escape, Indiana and Henry make it to Hatay, where they meet up with Sallah and head out to try and rescue Marcus, who has been captured by the Nazis. They manage to catch up to the Nazis, just as the Nazis come under attack from the Brotherhood. After the Nazis kill the Brotherhood, Henry winds up being captured while trying to get Marcus out of the tank. Indiana manages to rescue Henry and Marcus, but as he battles Vogel, the Nazi commander, the tank goes off a cliff. Henry believes he has lost his son but Indiana had managed to jump at the last second. When Indiana and the others arrive at the temple where the Grail is kept, they discover Donovan, Elsa, and the rest of the Nazis already there. Donovan shoots Henry, forcing Indiana to go retrieve the Grail in order to save his dad’s life. Indiana manages to make it through the three booby traps that protect the grail and enters the Grail’s resting place where he encounters a knight, who tells Indiana that he has been guarding the Grail for over 700 years. Donovan and Elsa enter the chamber and, when they discover several grails in the chamber, Elsa picks one to give to Donovan, but when he drinks from it, it turns out to not be the correct grail and he winds up losing his life. Indiana notices the plain cup of a carpenter among the bejeweled cups and after drinking from it, learns that it is the Grail, but the knight warns Indiana that it’s powers will not work pass the Great Seal in the temple. Indiana takes the Grail full of water back to his father, where he uses the water from the Grail to heal his father’s wound. Elsa grabs the Grail but as she crosses the Seal, an tremor occurs and Elsa winds up falling into a crevice, Indiana tries to save her but she is too intent on retrieving the Grail and winds up falling to her death. When a second tremor cause Indiana to fall into the crevice, he almost meets the same fate but Henry is able to convince Indiana to give up the Grail as the temple falls down around them. Outside the temple, Indiana and Henry discuss what happened when Sallah asks Henry why he is always calling Indiana “Junior” and it is revealed that Indiana’s name is Henry Jones Jr. but he goes by the nickname Indiana, which was the name of their pet dog.
Although initially opening to mixed reviews, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade wound up being well received by the critics, earning an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some criticized the pacing of the film, many critics praised the father-son dynamic between Connery and Ford, with many saying that the interaction between the two of them was more memorable than the various scenes themselves. The audiences definitely enjoyed the movie as it would make over $474 million worldwide, beating out Batman as the top grossing movie of 1989, though Batman did win out in the North America market. The movie would also win an Academy Award and was nominated for two others that year.
This is such a fun movie to watch and is my second favorite movie in the series. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery were both great and the interaction between the two of them definitely made for some of the funniest scenes in the movie. In comparison, while Julian Glover did a decent job as Donovan, Michael Byrne character of Vogel just seemed weak. The story was good and really helped give people more of a sense as to what factors shaped Indiana into the man he is. The writing was some of the best in the franchise, mixing in plenty of action and comedy, as well as some more serious interactions between Indiana and his father. The action and special effects were both good, especially the scene where Donovan dies. A great movie to watch and definitely a great movie in the franchise.
Rating: 5 out of 5