THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG
For those that have not read the review of volume one, THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES are a series of programs that have been assembled from episodes and televisions movies that comprised THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES between 1992 and 1996. THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES themselves were based upon the popular film character portrayed by Harrison Ford, but the television series brought to life the boyhood and early adult exploits of young 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 each adventure, as young Indiana encountered important historic figures or events of the early twentieth century.
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME TWO ($130) comes to DVD in a nine disc set that features eight different adventures: Trenches Of Hell, Demons Of Deception, Phantom Train Of Doom, Oganga, The Giver And Taker Of Life, Attack Of The Hawkmen, Adventures In The Secret Service, Espionage Escapades, and Daredevils Of The Desert. As I mentioned above, 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. Sean Patrick Flanery essays the role Henry "Indiana" Jones during young adult years.
Trenches Of Hell finds young Henry Jones in the Belgian army during WWI, where he is captured and sent to a German POW camp where he encounters Charles de Gaulle. Demons Of Deception takes our young adventurer out of the trenches and sends him on leave to Paris, where he engages in an affair with Mata Hari. Phantom Train Of Doom places Indy on a chase across enemy held territory, in search of a mobile German artillery gun that leaves devastation in its wake. Oganga, The Giver And Taker Of Life finds our young hero battling his way across Africa, where he has an encounter with Albert Schweitzer. Attack Of The Hawkmen has Indy working with French Secret Service, as well as The Lafayette Escadrille, where he takes on airborne reconnaissance missions and is shot down in hostile territory. Adventures In The Secret Service moves our young hero from an encounter with the Austrian Emperor, into Russia, where revolution is on the horizon. Espionage Escapades offers a mildly comic flavor to Indy’s adventures, during which he encounters Pablo Picasso in Spain and Franz Kafka Prague. Daredevils Of The Desert finds Indy working undercover with a beautiful lady spy against occupying Turk forces in the Middle Eastern town of Beersheba. Guest stars in this collection include Christopher Lee, Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all eight movies that comprise THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME TWO available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Like the preceding set, the video quality is generally good, but certain shots and/or sequences seem to have been mastered from lesser generation materials, which sometimes give the presentations a mixed bag feeling. At its best sharpness and image detail is very good, at its worst some shots appear as though they were taken off a second-generation broadcast master. Colors are generally rendered at a natural level of saturation. Contrast and shadow detail are at the television production level. Grain creeps it at varying levels, but age related anomalies have been cleaned up. Digital compression artifacts are not a concern.
All seven TV movies that are featured in THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME TWO come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. Just as with volume one, these are good quality television soundtracks, nothing more. The forward soundstage is dominant, and the rear channels provide ambience and musical fill. Fidelity remains at the television level, although the music comes across nicely. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English subtitles are provided.
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 TV movies. The twenty-four documentaries are broken down as follows: Trenches Of Hell includes: Siegfried Sassoon- A War Poet's Journey, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, I Am France- The Myth of Charles de Gaulle and The Somme- A Storm of Steel. Demons Of Deception includes Marshal Petain's Fall From Grace, Flirting With Danger- The Fantasy of Mata Hari, Into the Furnace- The Battle of Verdun and Reading the Enemy's Mind- Espionage in World War I. Phantom Train Of Doom includes Chasing the Phantom- Paul von Lettow Vorbeck, Dreaming of Africa- The Life of Frederick Selous and At Home and Abroad- The Two Faces of Jan Smuts. Oganga, The Giver And Taker Of Life includes Albert Schweitzer- Reverence for Life, Waging Peace- The Rise of Pacifism and Congo- A Curse of Riches.
Attack Of The Hawkmen includes Blood Red- The Life and Death of Manfred von Richthofen, Anthony Fokker- The Flying Dutchman, Flying High for France- The Lafayette Escadrille and War in the Third Dimension- Aerial Warfare in World War I. Adventures In The Secret Service includes Karl- The Last Habsburg Emperor, V.I. Lenin- History Will Not Forgive Us and The Russian Revolution- All Power to the Soviets!. Espionage Escapades includes Impresario- Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, Franz Kafka's Dark Truth and Ballet- The Art of Dance. Daredevils Of The Desert includes Colonel Lawrence's War- T.E. Lawrence and Arabia and Lines in the Sand-The Middle East and the Great War. On disc nine, one will find the remaining supplements, which includes a Historical Lecture: War And Revolution, plus an Interactive Timeline and Trivia Game.
Like the first collection, THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME TWO offers plenty of entertainment value, not to mention a great deal of educational value. The CBS/Paramount DVD collection offers solid presentations, plus a tremendous wealth of quality supplemental content. Highly recommended.
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