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Currentfilm.com Review:

With "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" coming to theatres next year, now is just about the perfect time to catch up with the early adventures of the explorer, which were chronicled in "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones", a series that aired from 1992 to 1996. The show followed Indiana and his adventures around the world - first as a young lad (played by Corey Carrier) and later as an adult (played by Sean Patrick Flannery). The ability to shoot in 16mm saved the production a great deal, and as a result, the worldwide adventures of Indy could literally be filmed worldwide instead of on a soundstage somewhere.

The series was originally aired as episodes that had bookends featuring an older Indiana (George Hall), although these bookends have been removed for the DVD, which has upset some fans. Instead, the episodes have been reedited into different 90-minute films ("chapters".) This is apparently how the show was first released on VHS, but it is a little disappointing that the bookends featuring the late Hall did not make it onto the DVD as extra features.

The third volume of the series takes place at the end of the war and years after. The episodes see Indy continuing to travel across the globe, meeting legendary figures and finding himself in the midst of famed events and magnificent locations, including Hollywood in the 20's, the Middle East and the early days of Jazz.

It is a little difficult to accept Flannery in the role, at first - while Flannery is a terrific actor, he doesn't suggest the somewhat cynical, darkly funny Jones that Ford portrayed. I suppose Indy could have developed into how Ford portrayed him, but at the same time, I'm not quite sure that Flannery - while a terrific actor - was the very best fit for an adventurer. Still, it's a compelling enough performance to carry most of the episodes.

The series itself is mostly great television, although the main problem that I did have - and keep in mind that it's been a long time since I've seen the original (hour-long) episodes - is that, in this 90-minute form, the pacing can sometimes seem a little sluggish or uneven. The production values are, once again, impressive for a TV show from the early '90's.

It is disappointing that the series is not presented here as it was originally aired (or at least include the pieces starring Hall as an extra), but the show does hold up well as an educational adventure, despite some flaws (pacing, although again, that may be at least in part due to the decision to make the episodes into 90-minute movies.)

This is the final volume of the series.

Volume 3:
----Tales of Innocence
----Masks of Evil
----Treasure of the Peacock's Eye
----Winds of Change
----Mystery of the Blues
----The Scandal of 1920
----Hollywood Follies


The DVD

VIDEO: The episodes are presented by Paramount in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. While one must keep in mind that these shows were shot in 16mm, the quality is still a bit of a letdown, considering the kind of restoration one might have thought Lucasfilm would have put into the set. Sharpness and detail are generally respectable, if somewhat inconsistent - some scenes do look noticably softer than the rest, but the presentation never appears to the point of looking hazy or blurry.

Some minor instances of edge enhancement and artifacting are present, but the picture otherwise looked rather clean, for the most part. Wear and tear were limited to some occasional slight specks and marks. Colors looked a little bit faded, although I suppose the look is intentionally a bit subdued. Flesh tones generally looked natural.

SOUND: Surprisingly - especially given the fair amount of action that occurs - no 5.1 remix is offered. Instead, we get a satisfactory stereo presentation that offers fine audio quality. Sound effects seem crisp and clear, while dialogue also sounded clear and undistorted. Not a remarkable audio presentation in any way, but it gets the job done.

EXTRAS: The set offers a series of featurettes that examine the history behind the episodes. There are no featurettes about the making of the series, which is unfortunate, given how much work obviously went into the show. While the set is largely intended to be an educational tool for classrooms, it still would have been nice to learn how the series was able to accomplish some scenes that have impressive scope (at least for a TV show from the 1990's.) My other concern is that, for the price tag, the set could have been dressed-up a little more in terms of the presentation (putting it in a tin, maybe.)

Chapter 16

----Tales of Innocence
Unhealed Wounds - The Life of Ernest Hemingway
The Secret Life of Edith Wharton
Lowell Thomas - American Storyteller
The French Foreign Legion - The World's Most Legendary Fighting Force

Chapter 17

----Masks of Evil
For the People Despite the People - The Ataturk Revolution
The Greedy Heart of Halide Edib
Dracula - Fact and Fiction
The Ottoman Empire - A World of Difference

Chapter 18:
----Treasure of the Peacock's Eye
Bronisaw Malinowski - God Professor
Anthropology - Looking at the Human Condition
New Guinea - Paradise in Peril

Chapter 19

----Winds of Change
Woodrow Wilson - American Idealist
Gertrude Bell - Iraq's Uncrowned Queen
Ho Chi Minh - The Price of Freedom
Paul Robeson - Scandalize My Name
Robert Goddard - Mr. Rocket Science
The Best Intentions - The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

Chapter 20

----Mystery of the Blues
Al "Scarface" Capone - The Original Gangster
Ben Hecht - Shakespeare of Hollywood
On the Trail of Eliot Ness
Louis Armstrong - Ambassador of Jazz
Jazz - Rhythms of Freedom
Prohibition - America on the Rocks
Hellfighters - Harlem's Heroes of World War One

Chapter 21

----The Scandal of 1920
Tin Pan Alley - Soundtrack of America
Broadway - America Center Stage
Wonderful Nonsense - The Algonquin Roundtable

Chapter 22

----Hollywood Follies
Erich von Stroheim - The Profligate Genius
The World of John Ford
Irving Thalberg - Hollywood's Boy Wonder
The Rise of the Moguls - The Men Who Built Hollywood

Additionally, a 10th bonus disc offers an interactive timeline, an interactive game ("Hunting For Treasure") and an hour-long historical lecture ("New Gods For Old").



Final Thoughts: Overall, despite some concerns, I enjoyed watching this final set of episodes for "Young Indiana Jones". The set does provide reasonably good video quality and fine audio, as well as a lot of extras (although it's disappointing that none are related to the production.) The high price tag is a concern, and those who have fond memories of the series but haven't seen it for years may want to try to rent first. Die-hard fans should look for the set on sale or wait for the price to come down a tad.


DVD Information





Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 3
Paramount Home Entertainment
1.33:1
Stereo
660 minutes
Subtitles: English
Rated NR
Dual Layer:Yes
Anamorphic:No
Region:1
Available At Amazon.com: Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 3, Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 2 , Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 1