THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG
INDIANA JONES, VOLUME THREE
For those that have not read the reviews of volume one & two, 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 the events that occurred during the early twentieth century.
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME THREE ($130) comes to DVD in a ten disc set that features seven different adventures: Tales Of Innocence, Masks Of Evil, Treasure Of The Peacock's Eye, Winds Of Change, Mystery Of The Blues, The Scandal Of 1920 and Hollywood Follies. As I mentioned above, these tales generally 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 Flannery essays the role Henry "Indiana" Jones during his young adult years.
Tales Of Innocence places our hero in a romantic rivalry with Ernest Hemingway. Masks Of Evil takes Henry from Istanbul into Transylvania, the home of the legendary Vlad the Impaler. Treasure Of The Peacock's Eye finds the future Dr. Jones fighting off pirates, then fending off cannibals, before a life-altering encounter with anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski. Winds Of Change has young Indy crossing paths with old friend T.E. Lawrence, in addition to Woodrow Wilson, Paul Robeson, all of this leading to an ill-fated encounter with his father. Mystery Of The Blues brings the future archeologist to prohibition era Chicago where he encounters jazz greats Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong, not to mention a pre untouchable Eliot Ness and even Al Capone. Look for an appearance by Harrison Ford to bookend this story. The Scandal Of 1920 finds Indy on the great white way as stage manager of a musical, which leads to encounters with George Gershwin, Alexander Woollcott and Edna Ferber. Hollywood Follies lands our adventurous young hero in Tinseltown, where he runs across Erich von Stroheim, John Ford and even an aging Wyatt Earp.
CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all seven movies that comprise THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME THREE available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Like the two preceding sets, the presentations sometimes come across like something of mixed bag. Donít get me wrong, the video quality is generally good, but individual shots and/or sequences appear as though they have been mastered from lesser generation materials. Sharpness and image detail can be very good, but there are those moments where things appear a little mushy. Colors appear fairly natural, never giving one the feeling of over saturation. Contrast and shadow detail are at the television production level. Grain makes it presence known, but at varying levels. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem.
All seven TV movies that are featured in THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME THREE come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. Sonically, nothing new has been introduced with volume three; these remain good quality television soundtracks, but there is nothing here to impress one at the theatrical level. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant; with the rear channels providing ambient sound and musical fill. Fidelity remains at the television level, although the music is pleasant enough sounding. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. 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 documentaries are broken down as follows:
Tales Of Innocence includes Unhealed Wounds: The Life Of Ernest Hemingway, The Secret Life Of Edith Wharton, Lowell Thomas: American Storyteller and The French Foreign Legion: The World's Most Legendary Fighting Force. Masks Of Evil includes For The People, Despite The People: The Ataturk Revolution, The Greedy Heart Of Halide Edib, Dracula: Fact And Fiction and The Ottoman Empire: A World Of Difference. Treasure Of The Peacock's Eye includes Bronisław Malinowski: God Professor, Anthropology: Looking At The Human Condition and New Guinea: Paradise In Peril. Winds Of Change includes 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.
Mystery Of The Blues includes 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 and Hellfighters: Harlem's Heroes Of World War I. The Scandal Of 1920 includes Tin Pan Alley: Soundtrack Of America, Broadway: America Center Stage and Wonderful Nonsense: The Algonquin Round Table. Hollywood Follies includes 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.
On disc ten, one will find the remaining supplements, which includes a Historical Lecture: New God For Old, plus an Interactive Timeline and Trivia Game.
As with the previous two collections, THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES, VOLUME THREE offers plenty of entertainment and educational value. The presentations are solid, plus there is a ton of quality supplements. Again, highly recommended.
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