The Adventures of Indiana Jones (1981 -2008)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

For the longest time this page read The Adventures of Indiana Jones (1981 – 1989). Now it reads 1981 – 2008. Yes, as just about everyone is aware, a fourth movie was made.

Because I’ve lived with these movies as a trilogy for almost twenty years, I still find it hard to think of them as a tetralogy.

Even if could think of it as a series of four, it would be difficult because I don’t really think of these movies in trilogy or tetralogy terms.

To me, they were a triad (or trio) for a very long time. A new one has been added; now they are a quartet.

This niggling with terms is about independence. A word like trilogy suggests to me a storyline relationship between the movies (just as the four parts of Lord of the Rings are – the story progresses through them, from part one to four).

Triad and quartet suggest a relationship but not one that is progressively dependent. You can watch these movies in any order; it doesn’t affect their stories. They are independent. Characters are similar; themes may be too. But there is no linear progression through them that affects their storylines. (There is a time progression through them related to the time periods they are set in, but it doesn’t affect their self-contained nature.)

I’m not sure why I rambled about triads and quartets except to say I prefer them to trilogies and tetralogies. The latter just seem to make the whole seem too darned long.

As for The Adventures of Indiana Jones, to put it simply and concisely the movies are absolutely great.

Seen together, particularly the first three, I think you can perceive some interesting things. For instance, you can see Steven Spielberg developing as a director. I think you see him maturing.

By the time we get to the fourth movie, following that long gap of twenty years, I think you see a director in complete command of his craft and vision, so much so it seems more an exercise in wonderful filmmaking. However, there is a sense that some of the oomph is spent and gone.

In those first three movies, however, part of Spielberg’s development is a drifting way from George Lucas, at least artistically. Their visions diverge; they are no longer in sync.

I think this comes across, albeit obliquely, in the bonus materials on the DVDs I have. Of course, it’s just my opinion and very, very subjective. But let’s get to the movies:

The Adventures of Indiana Jones:

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