By Chris Nashawaty
September 07, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures

  • Movie

All four films in the beloved series have been beautifully upgraded and are now available in a rollicking, extras-packed adventure of a box set

IT’S HARD TO believe it’s been 31 years since we first laid eyes on Harrison Ford’s fedora-clad, bullwhip-cracking hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Back then, the franchise’s creators, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, set out to replicate the kinds of Saturday-matinee cliff-hanger serials that inspired them to become filmmakers in the first place. They succeeded, and it was clear from the first 13 adrenaline-fueled minutes of Raiders — where Indy dodges deadly booby traps, gets his mitts on a golden idol, and outruns an insanely large boulder — that this was a new kind of adventure film. One that had everything a kid could want: action…romance…Nazis!

Raiders is the highlight of the face-melting new five-disc behemoth Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (1981–2008, 8 hrs., 1 min., PG-13). And while the three sequels — 1984’s darker and unfairly dismissed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s fun father-son caper Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008’s silly and skippable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — all get crisp high-def transfers, only Raiders benefits from the same white-glove restoration that Spielberg gave to his Jaws Blu-ray last month. It’s also the only film that gets a brand-new making-of doc on the EXTRAS. In that drool-inducing featurette, fans are treated to tasty deleted scenes, alternate takes, and previously unseen footage of a boyish Spielberg in a Star Wars cap choreographing Raiders‘ now-iconic action sequences. Even better is the rare sight of Ford laughing at his inability to remember his lines and saying he only took the gig because he wasn’t ”getting the scripts that the top 10 get.” That’s a problem he’d never face again after donning Indy’s fedora. A

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 481 minutes
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  • Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures