Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Sean Patrick Flanery as Indiana Jones
George Hall as Dr. Henry 'Indiana' Jones, Jr.
Ronny Coutteure as Remy
Margaret Tyzack as Miss Seymour
Lloyd Owen as Professor Henry Jones, Sr.
Corey Carrier as Henry 'Indiana' Jones, Jr.
Ruth de Sosa as Anna Jones
Julian Firth as Richard Meinertzhagen
Jay Underwood as Ernest Hemingway

Special Features:
See below.

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Stereo Sound
Running Time: 10 Hours 49 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was based on the Indiana Jones series of films. The series follows the Indiana Jones character (as a young boy and as a young man) as he was growing up and experiencing his early adventures, where he gets into trouble, learns life lessons and encounters various historical figures along the way. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was filmed on location all over the world ~ including England, Russia, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Kenya, France, India, China, Austria, Egypt, the United States, Morocco, Ireland, Italy, Africa, Turkey, Greece and Thailand.

Disc One:
-- My First Adventure
While on an archeological dig in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, Indy uncovers an ancient mummy and fresh corpse. With the help of T.E. Lawrence, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, Indy solves an intriguing murder mystery only to find himself thrust right back into danger when he is kidnapped by slave-trading brigands. Dragged on a terrifying journey across the burning sands of North Africa to the slave markets of Marrakech, Indy finds that he must rely on his courage and wits to survive the brutal ordeal.

Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Archaeology: Unearthing Our Past
-- Howard Carter and the Tomb of Tutankhamun
-- Colonel Lawrence's War: T.E. Lawrence and Arabia
-- From Slavery to Freedom

Disc Two:
-- Passion For Life
The beautiful Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya is the locale as Indy goes on safari with former President Teddy Roosevelt. When he becomes lost in the savage African bush, Indy finds that he must fight for his life against all manner of exotic and dangerous wildlife. Exotic wildlife of another kind await him in Paris when he accompanies a young Norman Rockwell on a rollicking tour through the bohemian world of Parisian fine art. Wild parties, wilder women and artist temperament are on full display as Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas clash over their contrasting styles of painting, while painting the town red at a gaudy late-night soiree.

Disc Three (Passion For Life bonus disc):
Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Theodore Roosevelt and The American Century
-- Ecology: Pulse of the Planet
-- American Dreams: Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post
-- Art Rebellion: The Making of the Modern
-- Edgar Degas: Reluctant Rebel
-- Braque + Picasso: A Collaboration Cubed

Disc Four:
-- The Perils of Cupid
In beautiful Vienna, Indy falls for the lovely young daughter of soon-to-be assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. But the course of true love does not run smoothly and he must seek advice from two of the founding fathers of psychology, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Romantic complications of another kind turn up in Florence, Italy, when Indy and his mother meet the great opera composer Giacomo Puccini. Dismayed to find his lonely mother succumbing to the sensuous charms of the charismatic Puccini, Indy frantically looks for a way to reunite his parents and rekindle their love before it's too late.

Disc Five (The Perils of Cupid bonus disc):
Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Giacomo Puccini--Music of the Heart
-- It's Opera!
-- The Archduke's Last Journey--End of an Era
-- Powder Keg--Europe 1900 to 1914
-- Sigmund Freud--Exploring the Unconscious
-- Carl Jung and the Journey of Self Discovery
-- Psychology--Charting the Human Mind

Disc Six:
-- Travels with Father
A trip to Russia takes Indy from the opulent palaces of the aristocracy to the fetid villages of the peasant class when he runs away from home after an argument with his parents. Joining up with novelist Leo Tolstoy, the two go on the road, engaging in philosophical discussions and clashing with colorful Gypsies and ferocious Cossacks. Realizing that there's no place like home, Indy rejoins his mom and dad and travels with his father to an isolated Greek monastery perched high on the peak of a mountain. The arduous journey, including a harrowing trip in a tiny cage up a thousand-foot mountainside, brings father and son closer together.

Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Seeking Truth--The Life of Leo Tolstoy
-- Unquiet Voices--Russian Writers and the State
-- Aristotle--Creating Foundations
-- Ancient Questions--Philosophy and Our Search for Meaning

Disc Seven:
-- Journey of Radiance
A jaunt through the mystical Far East takes Indy to the Holy City of Benares where he befriends the lonely and isolated young leader of the Theosophy movement, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Surrounded by supplicants and hangers-on, Krishnamurti struggles to have faith in himself and to fulfill the destiny decreed for him by his worshippers. In the process he shows Indy just how strong the power of faith can be. Indy's mother also learns a lesson in faith and trust when she must rely on some poor Chinese villagers and their traditional medical techniques to save the life of her son who lies perilously close to death with typhoid fever.

Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Jiddu Krishnamurti--The Reluctant Messiah
-- Annie Besant--An Unlikely Rebel
-- Medicine in the Middle Kingdom
-- Eastern Spirituality--The Road to Enlightenment

Disc Eight:
-- Spring Break Adventure
Indy and his girlfriend Nancy Stratemeyer, whose father created the Nancy Drew mystery series, visit the fascinating laboratory of inventor Thomas Edison. The two must contend with dangerous German spies as they struggle to keep Edison's top secret new invention out of the hands of hostile enemy agents. To keep him from getting into any more trouble, Indy is sent to visit his Aunt in New Mexico. While there, he is kidnapped by Pancho Villa and swept up into the Mexican Revolution. Chaotic, free-wheeling border towns, a "Wild Bunch" style train robbery and a colorful barroom encounter with a young George Patton make for thrilling entertainment in this action-packed movie.

Disc Nine (Spring Break Adventure bonus disc):
Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Thomas Alva Edison--Lighting up the World
-- Invention and Innovation--What's Behind a Good Idea?
-- The Mystery of Edward Stratemeyer
-- Wanted: Dead or Alive--Pancho Villa and the American Invasion of Mexico
-- General John J. Pershing and his American Army
-- George S. Patton--American Achilles

Disc Ten:
-- Love's Sweet Song
Landing in Ireland right before the Easter Rebellion, Indy mixes romance and revolutionary politics when he falls for a beautiful young colleen whose brother is mixed up in the Irish resistance movement. Across the waters in England he encounters
a similar problem when his love affair with a strong-willed young woman is derailed by her fervent belief in the women's suffrage movement and her need for independence. Violent street brawls, a terrifying Zeppelin raid and a seriocomic dinner party with Winston Churchill provide plenty of thrills in this exciting, romantic adventure.

Disc Eleven (Love's Sweet Song bonus disc):
Companion Historical Documentaries:
-- Easter Rising--The Poets' Rebellion
-- The Passions of William Butler Yeats
-- Sean O'Casey vs. Ireland
-- Ireland--The Power of the Poets
-- Winston Churchill--The Lion's Roar
-- Demanding the Vote--The Pankhursts and British Suffrage
-- Fighting for the Vote--Women's Suffrage in America

Disc Twelve: (Interactive Disc)
Special Features:
-- "Revolution" Interactive Game, based on Spring Break Adventure allows players to become Indy and make their own decisions based on Indy's adventures. As well as entertaining, this game has educational elements.
-- Extensive Interactive Timeline that details the history and locations of Indy's adventures and previews footage of the companion documentaries.
-- Historical Lecture: The Promise of Progress is an exploration of the people and events of the Industrial Revolution, spanning the late 19th century to the early 20th century."

"The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One" is not rated.

Mini Review:
I am a huge Indiana Jones fan. I watched all the movies when they were first released. I've bought the toys, listened to the soundtrack, read all the comics, read all the books, and been to the Indy show at Disney World. I even have a Raiders poster signed by both Lucas and Spielberg. So you'd think that Young Indiana Jones would be right up my alley. Well….yes and no. I have to admit that I've always found Young Indy…boring. While the movies were long on action and short on history, the episodes always struck me as being long on history and short on action. I'm reminded of the nickname Transformers fans gave the movie: TINO – Transformers In Name Only. You could call this series IINO – Indy In Name Only. Besides the character names and the hat, there's very little resembling Indiana Jones in this series. The actors are all different, the familiar theme is gone, and there's a minimum amount of action.

When the series first aired on ABC, I watched the first few episodes then fell away utterly bored. So when the DVD set arrived, I was eager to check it out again with hopefully fresh eyes. I wanted to be wrong in my earlier assessment. Unfortunately, I still found it to be rather dull. Sure, it was exciting as a history lesson, but it was not exciting for an Indiana Jones TV series. And though I hoped to share the series with my children, I was surprised to see there's was a little language on the show and even flashes of Indy's bare butt. I think I'll save the show for them until they're older.

What did strike me upon viewing this again were the cast and crew. This series was really a training ground for those that would be doing the "Star Wars" prequels. The show was produced by Rick McCallum, had costumes by Trisha Biggar, had scripts written by Jonathan Hales, and more. ILM also practiced some special effects like CG backgrounds and other stuff that would be used extensively on the big screen. There were other notable cast and crew. Frank Darabont wrote for the show and actors like Elizabeth Hurley, Lukas Haas, Max Von Sydow, and Vanessa Redgrave all had guest starring roles.

"The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One" is more for people that love history than people that loved the Indiana Jones movies. There's a big difference between the two. If you go into this expecting non-stop adventure, you'll be sorely disappointed. But it was a solid TV series and it is something that most Indiana Jones fans will want to add to their collections simply because it's Indiana Jones – even if in name only.

The bonus features are very similar to the series itself. All the featurettes are devoted to the historical figures and situations depicted in the episodes rather than the making of the series. You won't find any interviews with the cast and crew, but you will find tons of interviews with professors and historians from around the world. If you have a kid that has to do a report on, say, Tolstoy, they'll find a lot of material here. I'm just hoping they have some sort of "making of" featurette on the third volume of this DVD series.

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