Title: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Release Date: May 24, 1989
Director: Steven Spielberg
Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd.
To win back the enthusiasm of viewers turned of by The Temple of Doom, the story of The Last Crusade adopts many of the features of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It begins with a prologue not directly related to the main plot, this time depicting Indiana Jones as a teenager, wonderfully portrayed by River Phoenix. The main story starts with Indy teaching at college and being approached for a project. Side characters Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) are back for another ride. And the villains are once again Nazis, with many of them receiving satisfying punches.
The similarities though only serve to help undercut expectations. Indy’s putative love interest in this movie is Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody, who’s paucity of subsequent film credits mystifies me), a brave and clever art professor. But in one of the great cinematic heel turns, she ends up being a villain in league with the Nazis.
The biggest twist, of course, is the presence of Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery), a seemingly somber medieval studies professor obsessed more with finding the Holy Grail than raising his son. The chemistry between Ford and Connery is amazing, and Connery is excellent at taking his career as an action hero and funneling it into an older and wiser man.
The Last Crusade has great actions sequences, terrific humor, and a lot of heart. It is a deserving second recipient of a 5-star rating for an installment of the Indiana Jones franchise.