Of the four Indiana Jones movies, none but “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull” — which was released during the Blu-ray era — has ever appeared in hi-def. When the first DVD collection came out in 2003, the audio was first-rate, but I had some nitpicks to make about the video, which seemed a little too flat.
That has been rectified in this new five-disc Blu-ray edition, which also unites “Crystal Skull” with its older siblings. For most rabid Indiana Jones fans, the most recent film might not qualify as added value: Sure, it's not in a league with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or even as good as “Temple of Doom” or “Last Crusade,” but, come on, it's not that bad. And, if the story seems hackneyed, it's partly because of the influence “Raiders of the Lost Ark” had on filmmakers during the 25-year interim.
The Blu-ray image seems notably more detailed than the DVD. The only questionable moment I've encountered so far — I haven't yet watched all 18 hours or so of films and extras — is some murkiness and grain during the opening scene of “Raiders” — the most iconic moment in the whole series. And even that was only when I stood a foot from the screen and squinted. A dark cave is one of the toughest things to transfer successfully onto video; a really satisfying rendition may not be possible with current technology.
Most of the series has been remastered under the supervision of Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt. All the extras from earlier DVD releases are ported over onto a fifth disc, together with an hour of new interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, generally interesting and occasionally very amusing.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (Paramount Home Video, Blu-ray, 5 discs, $99.98)
ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).