(aka 'Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures' or 'Indiana Jones 4' or 'Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods' or 'Raiders of the Lost Ark Sequel')

 

directed by Steven Spielberg
USA 2008

 

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Say it aloud. The very title causes the pulse to quicken, if you, like me, are a lover of pulp fiction. What I want is goofy action--lots of it. I want man-eating ants, swordfights between two people balanced on the backs of speeding jeeps, subterranean caverns of gold, vicious femme fatales, plunges down three waterfalls in a row, and the explanation for flying saucers. And throw in lots of monkeys.

The Indiana Jones movies were directed by Steven Spielberg and written by George Lucas and a small army of screenwriters, but they exist in a universe of their own. Hell, they created it. All you can do is compare one to the other three. And even then, what will it get you? If you eat four pounds of sausage, how do you choose which pound tasted the best? Well, the first one, of course, and then there's a steady drop-off of interest.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at The Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: May 18th, 2008 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews     More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Paramount (2-disc)

Region 1, 4 - NTSC

Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 2:02:24 2:02:32
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.17 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Feature - 35.7 Gig, Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1, DUB: French 2.0

English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, DUBs:
French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, none English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese , none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount (2-disc)
SD-DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:

Disc One
“The Return of the Legend,” a (17.34)
Pre-production (11:46)

 

Disc 2
“Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is 1:20:09 documentary divided into 6 sections
“Warrior Makeup” (5:35)
“The Crystal Skulls” (10:12)
“Iconic Props”(10:02)
“The Effects of Indy” (22:43)
“Adventures in Post Production” (12:47)
“Closing Team Indy” (3:43)
• Three pre-visualization sequences (CGI storyboards)

- The Area 51 Escape (3:42)

- The Jungle Chase (5:47)

- Ant Attack (4:27)
Five galleries

-  Art Department

- Stan Winston Studio

- Production Photographs

- Portraits

- Behind-the-Scenes Photographs

• Trailers
Lego Indiana Jones game


DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Keep Case inside cardboard box

Chapters 29

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount (2-disc)
Blu-ray

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray, MPEG-4 AVC encode, Feature - 35.7 Gig

Edition Details:

“The Return of the Legend,” a (17.34) in HD!

Pre-Production featurette (11:03) in HD!

Two theatrical trailers are offered, one running 1:52 in HD! and the other running 1:55 also in HD!
 

Disc 2
“Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is 1:20:09 documentary
in HD! divided into 6 sections

“Warrior Makeup” (5:35) in HD!

“The Crystal Skulls” (10:12) in HD!

“Iconic Props”(10:02) in HD!

“The Effects of Indy” (22:43) in HD!

“Adventures in Post Production” (12:47)

in HD!

“Closing Team Indy” (3:43) in HD!

• Three pre-visualization sequences (CGI storyboards)

- The Area 51 Escape (3:42) in HD!

- The Jungle Chase (5:47) in HD!

- Ant Attack (4:27) in HD!
Five galleries

- Art Department

- Stan Winston Studio

- Production Photographs

- Portraits

- Behind-the-Scenes Photographs

 

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 29

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I guess in a cut-to-the-chase description I'd say the Blu-ray is above average, in relation to other 1080P rendered films, where the softer SD-DVD is definitely below expectations in terms of image quality. The comparative screen grabs beneath should indicate the level of improvement of the Blu-ray but on my system it didn't show much of the expected brilliance that we have come to associate with this new format. It looked very competent but, for the most part, not dynamically stellar. Perhaps it was the way the film was shot - I am unsure. The Blu-ray image looks better in all areas over the lackluster SD - that is for sure - most prominently in detail. It is also somewhat brighter as well as demonstratively crisper.

We admit that the resized images don't tell the whole story but you may click the Blu-ray to full-size to get a better indication of the visual value of the this, the newest, Indy entry. What I perceived as edge enhancement didn't hold true when I zoomed in extensively on the images in question. Black levels may have had some minor boosting though.

NOTE: I was attempting a new capture matching method and may be a frame or two off in a couple of the comparison screen grabs. This is another reason that we produce many as samples.

Audio-wise the Blu-ray's TrueHD option delivers a bit more than the hi-def image does and is significantly more buoyant than the standard 5.1 available on the SD. The track definitely had many strong moments when the audio comes into play with plenty of well mixed, decently separated, action sequences and eerie jungle/cave quieter moments that tend to build suspense. Very impressive.

In terms of supplements the Blu-ray offers the same extensive featurettes and documentaries as the 2-disc SD-DVD package but the Blu-ray gives them all in 1080P resolution (even the two trailers) - hence the probable reason for them being on a second new format disc. There does look to be any exclusive Blu-ray gimmicks (picture-in-picture etc.) but I'll admit I appreciate the supplements being in the higher resolution. The jewel of the extras is the, close-to 1 1/2 hour, Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull documentary divided into 6 important sections. Input comes from seemingly everyone involved and there is almost more details that I would like to know about this film - aptly described, by some, as the 3rd best of the Indiana Jones films. For fans there is a lot of Spielberg and Lucas et all and some reminiscing about the past trilogy. No commentary but the film probably doesn't warrant it. Still the extras should suffice any Indy fans appetite for peering deeply into production corners. 

I think the weakness of this entry of the series was the writing. It's a bit heavy on the humor and absurd adventure ploys but fans may want that as far as I know. The Blu-ray isn't perfect but easily excels beyond the, surprisingly, weak SD image. Fans of the series will probably be quite content with the Blu-ray despite the less-then-jaw-dropping visuals. The film can be a lot of fun action and from that standpoint it surely succeeds. For the young boys in all of us - it is certainly not a bad way to spend an Saturday afternoon or early evening despite smelling of a  Spielberg/Lucas money grab.     

 -Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus / Extras
 

Disc 2

 


 

Screen Captures

(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM).

 

 


(Tartan (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (2-disc) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Paramount (2-disc)

Region 1, 4 - NTSC

Paramount (2-disc) - Region FREE Blu-ray


 





 

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Gary Tooze

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