THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG
Based upon the popular film character portrayed by Harrison Ford, THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES ran as a television series, then as a series of television movies between 1992 and 1996. Of course, over the course of the series entire run, Ford himself, only made a single cameo appearance in the role he made famous. Instead of focusing on the character as audiences knew him from the theatrical films, THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES brought to life the boyhood and early adult exploits of the Henry "Indiana" Jones. And, unlike the theatrical movies, which were completely escapist fare, THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES generally mixed in a bit of a history lesson into the adventure, as young Indiana encountered important historic of the early twentieth century.
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME ONE ($130) comes to DVD in a twelve disc set that features seven different adventures My First Adventure, Passion For Life, The Perils Of Cupid, Travels With Father, Journey Of Radiance, Spring Break Adventure, and Love’s Sweet Song. As assembled here, these tales abandon the episodic structure of the original television series and have been edited together into television films of expanded length, which now omit the footage of the elderly Indiana Jones (portrayed by George Hall) that bookended the episodes. Corey Carrier portrays the young Henry Jones during his childhood years, while Sean Patrick Flanery essays the role during Indy’s latter teenage/young adult years.
My First Adventure introduces young Henry to archeology, not to mention T.E. Lawrence in its tale murder and mummies. Passion For Life finds Henry crossing paths with Teddy Roosevelt on safari and encountering Norman Rockwell, Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas in Paris. The Perils Of Cupid has our hero coming across Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung in Vienna, while a stop over in Italy, introduces him to composer Giacomo Puccini. Travels With Father takes young Indy to Russia where Leo Tolstoy awaits. Journey Of Radiance brings the future Dr. Jones into contact with Jiddu Krishnamurti. Spring Break Adventure finds Indy fending off German agents for Thomas Edison one moment, then being drawn into the Mexican revolution with Pancho Villa the next. Love’s Sweet Song takes Indy from the bed of Irish rebellion to an encounter with Winston Churchill.
CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all seven movies that comprise THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME ONE available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. For the most part, I am very impressed with the image quality, sharpness and detail are really terrific for television productions, but there are moments when these films appear to come from lesser generation materials. Colors can also be a little changeable. Most of the time, the hues are bright, vivid and accurate, but there are other moments that are less saturated and the colors appear just a little off. Black are pretty accurate, as are the whites. Contrast is usually very good by television standards, but shadow details can be a bit muddy. Blemishes are not really noticeable and grain is held in check. Digital compression artifacts are not a concern.
All seven TV movies that are featured in THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME ONE come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. The soundtracks are good quality, but their television origins are clearly evident. As expected, the forward soundstage usually dominates the sound design; with the rear channels provide ambient sounds and musical fill. Fidelity is just fine for a television level production, with the scores producing a nice musical presence and the sound effects coming across in a fairly convincing manner. Dialogue is always crisply rendered and easy to understand.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as an extensive array of Companion Historical Documentaries related to each of the seven TV movies. The thirty-eight documentaries are broken down as follows: My First Adventure includes: Archaeology: Unearthing Our Past, Howard Carter And The Tomb Of Tutankhamun, Colonel Lawrence's War: T.E. Lawrence And Arabia, From Slavery To Freedom. Passion For Life includes: Theodore Roosevelt And The American Century, Ecology: Pulse Of The Planet, American Dreams: Norman Rockwell And The Saturday Evening Post, Art Rebellion: The Making Of The Modern, Edgar Degas: Reluctant Rebel, Braque + Picasso: A Collaboration Cubed. The Perils Of Cupid includes: Giacomo Puccini: Music Of The Heart, It's Opera!, The Archduke's Last Journey: End Of An Era, Powder Keg: Europe 1900 To 1914, Sigmund Freud: Exploring The Unconscious, Carl Jung And The Journey Of Self Discovery, Psychology: Charting The Human Mind. Travels With Father includes: Seeking Truth: The Life Of Leo Tolstoy, Unquiet Voices: Russian Writers And The State, Aristotle: Creating Foundations, Ancient Questions: Philosophy And Our Search For Meaning.
Journey Of Radiance includes: Jiddu Krishnamurti: The Reluctant Messiah, Annie Besant: An Unlikely Rebel, Medicine In The Middle Kingdom, Eastern Spirituality: The Road To Enlightenment. Spring Break Adventure includes: Thomas Alva Edison: Lighting Up The World, Invention And Innovation: What's Behind A Good Idea?, The Mystery Of Edward Stratemeyer, Wanted: Dead Or Alive: Pancho Villa And The American Invasion Of Mexico, General John J. Pershing And His American Army, George S. Patton: American Achilles. Love's Sweet Song includes: Easter Rising: The Poets' Rebellion, The Passions Of William Butler Yeats, Sean O'Casey Vs. Ireland, Ireland: The Power Of The Poets, Winston Churchill: The Lion's Roar, Demanding The Vote: The Pankhursts And British Suffrage, Fighting For The Vote: Women's Suffrage In America. On disc twelve one will find the remaining supplements, which includes a Historical Lecture: The Promise Of Progress, plus an Interactive Timeline and Trivia Game.
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME ONE offers a lot of entertainment and educational value. The CBS/Paramount DVD collection offers solid presentations and a boatload of quality supplemental content. Highly recommended.
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