I love the Indiana Jones films (yes, even some parts in the fourth) and while Raiders of the Lost Ark will always be my favorite, Last Crusade is etched in my memory for personal reasons. It was the summer of 1989, I had just graduated high school, it was my last summer living in Bermuda, and I had a girlfriend for the first time. Her name was Tracey.
We were inseparable, and we made sure that we had plans to go see Last Crusade opening night at the Specialty Cinema (though I’m not sure it was called that at the time).
I was ready, and throughout the film we held hands, shoulders pressed together as I lost myself in the latest Spielberg film, delighting in the moments on screen, and those happening between her and I.
Harrison Ford returned as Indiana Jones, and this time, as the tagline reminded us, he was bringing his dad, played by Sean Connery. This time around, Indy must find a way to not only save his father who’s gone off on an expedition, but he also has to recover the Holy Grail before it falls into the hands of the Nazis.
Watching it back then, I realized this was the first time that I was actively aware of the names on the screen, Michael Kahn as editor, Douglas Slocombe as cinematographer, and of course John Williams and his gorgeous score. I was becoming increasingly interested in the names behind the camera and how they worked to bring films to life.
I loved this film, it was such a refreshing adventure after the darker turn of Temple of Doom, and it also symbolized all the changes that were happening to me. I was about to head off to university, living on my own for the first time, I was really in love for the first time, and everything lay before me like a great adventure.
There are some great sequences throughout the film, though even at the time the bluescreen work with Ford and Connery during the plane battle didn’t look great, the performances carry it through. There are great character beats and wonderfully forged action sequences, and this ends up being one of those films I quote on a daily basis.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is just a fun film it personifies how to make a better sequel, and, for me, is filled with memories of more than the film but a whole life that took place forever ago, which was an adventure of its own.
These films have been with me since childhood, and even if Crystal Skull was a bit of a stumble, I got to adventure with Indy again, and that’s why I can’t wait for the fifth and final film! Because adventure does have a name, and it is Indiana Jones!