Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with the presentation.
Sharpness usually looked excellent. The only notable exception came from a brief but odd blurriness that affected parts of the frame during a scene with Indy, Sallah and Henry in a car late in the second act. This was evident on the DVD version as well and may be part of the source photography. Otherwise, the picture appeared nicely detailed and crisp. I noticed no signs of any defects in this clean and distinctive image.
Colors looked solid. The movie didn’t present the world’s broadest palette, but it included a good enough range of hues that consistently came across as tight and vibrant. The tones never seemed overly heavy, and the film gave them good definition. Black levels seemed deep and dense, and low-light shots demonstrated fine clarity and never became too thick.
I saved the subject of jagged edges and shimmering for last, as those have already become controversial. Due to some screen caps from the Blu-ray, concerns arose about roughness around some edges. Had I not heard about these alleged issues in advance, I would’ve had no clue that I was supposed to see anything unusual. Watching the movie from eight feet away on my 50-inch TV, I noticed no signs of jaggies or moiré effects.
Indeed, I thought the image was significantly tighter than in the past. The opening credits have always been ropy on home video. They looked that way on the two laserdiscs I owned and they came across that way on the DVDs. I suspect that the font used for the credits causes the “concerns” more than anything else.
Nonetheless, I don’t see the supposed issues on my TV. I thought the presentation was tight and concise, and I couldn’t detect any jaggies or the like as I watched the film in motion from an appropriate viewing distance. Seeing the movie that way, I thought the image looked pretty terrific.
In addition, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade excelled. The mix offered a broad and engaging experience. Music showed nice delineation and spread, and the effects created a good sense of atmosphere. A lot of directional dialogue appeared throughout the film, and those pieces popped up in a natural way. Effects seemed appropriately placed and blended together smoothly. Those elements moved cleanly across the channels to demonstrate a fine feeling of place.
Whereas both of the first two flicks offered occasional instances of split surround material, Crusade upped the ante in that regard. It didn’t seem to present more active rear speakers than the others - Raiders contributed an awful lot of audio from that realm – but the elements were more naturally blended due to the stereo nature of the surrounds. These helped bring the back speakers into the flick in a more involving way, and they added a lot to the movie, especially during its many action sequences.
Audio quality appeared fine and never showed its age. Speech was distinct and concise, and I noticed no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music remained vibrant and dynamic, as the disc once again displayed John Williams’ score with vivacity and solid clarity. Effects were as clean and rich as ever, and they never suffered from any signs of distortion or other problems. Bass response was deep and firm and brought good punch to the package. The audio of Crusade wasn’t just good for its age. This was an excellent soundtrack that almost never felt like something made 23 years ago.
How did this Blu-ray compare with the Special Edition DVD from 2008? Audio appears more robust and smooth, while visuals come across as more concise and accurate. All areas show improvement.
Because it comes as part of a five-disc/four-movie collection, almost no extras show up on the Last Crusade platter itself. We get a teaser and a trailer.
Note that I didn’t give this disc a grade for bonus materials because of its place in the “Complete Adventures” package. When I review the “Bonus Features” platter, I’ll offer an overall supplements grade.
While Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade didn’t live up to the heights of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it definitely topped Temple of Doom, and it finished the 1980s trilogy well. The movie boasted wonderful interactions between its lead actors and seemed quite entertaining and enjoyable. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio. I enjoy the flick and feel very happy with this release.
Note that as of September 2012, you can purchase Last Crusade solely as part of this “Complete Adventures” set that also includes 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1984’s Temple of Doom, 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and a disc with bonus materials.
To rate this film visit the Indiana Jones Collection review of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE