The Last Crusade Live Blog

With only a few days to go until Dr. Jones makes his long-awaited return, I conclude my live blogging journey with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

After the Temple of Doom backlash, Steven Spielberg started feeling the need to make important (translation=boring) films like The Color Purple, George Lucas was busy writing and producing Howard the Duck, and Harrison Ford was starring in such movies as Working Girl. It took them five years to get their collective act together and make Last Crusade. They couldn't have fit one more Indy flick in between somewhere?

Classic Indy Moment #16 - The unofficial first episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Is it any wonder that it was George Lucas's idea to show Indy as a boy, and how he came to be everyone's favorite archeologist?

I finally went to Arches National Park for the first time a few years ago, and I now see this opening sequence in a different light. It's amazing how Indy's troop gets around to so many of the most famous formations in so little time.

Indy's taste for bumbling companions hasn't changed much over the years.

"That's an important artifact. It belongs in a museum!" All Boy Scouts really do think and talk this way. But when they say "that's an important artifact" they really mean "that looks flammable," and by "it belongs in a museum" they mean "get the bug spray."

Indy develops a fear of snakes, learns how to use a whip, gets the scar on his chin, and is given his signature fedora. That's a lot of life defining moments for one day.

"You lost today kid, but that doesn't mean you have to like it."

Last Crusade is very much a retreat after Temple of Doom, and a conscious effort to return to the Raiders formula. The beginning of the movie is shamelessly hitting all the same story beats. While Crusade is ultimately still loveable, it would have been fun to see another sequel that dared to be as unique as Doom.

"Find the man and you will find the Grail." Some not so subtle symbolism at work.


Art historian Dr. Schneider is actually an incredibly attractive blonde. Didn't see that coming. Kristen finds it hilarious that actress playing Dr. Schneider is named Alison Doody. She must be spending a little too much time changing diapers lately.

"X" marks the spot. But wait, didn't you just get finished telling your class that "X" never, ever marks the spot? Oh Indy, you devil you.

Classic Indy Moment #17 - "Oh rats." Since I have already declared the bugs as the grossest and the snakes at the mildest, I guess that means the rats fall in the middle by default.

I love how Indy gets so excited when they discover the knight's coffin and the second grail marker, then thinks nothing of tossing the whole thing over for cover when the petroleum gets ignited.

"Are you crazy? Don't go between them!"
"Go between them? Are you crazy?"

What do these Shriners have against Indy? Wait, their actual name is the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. That is almost as much of a mouthful as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of them, so lets call them the BOTCS.

"We are here to view the tapestries!" If I am not mistaken, Harrison Ford later used this same accent in K19: The Widowmaker.

"Nazis. I hate these guys." Bringing the Nazis back, another example of the filmmakers trying to recapture the spirit of Raiders.

Since Indiana Jones was Lucas and Spielberg's answer to James Bond, casting Sean Connery as Indy's father was brilliant. It seems like Sir Sean sure got old fast when he showed up with the gray hair and beard in this movie and in The Hunt For Red October the following year.

"How did you know she was a Nazi?"
"She talks in her sleep."

First Elsa, now Donovan. The double crosses are coming fast and furious. Only 37 more to go to match one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

In a moment, Brody is transformed from cautioning father figure to bumbling comic relief.

Classic Indy Moment #18 - Fit to be tied.

Movie Glossary
Highly Flammable: Entire rooms and/or buidlings will be completely consumed by fire in mere seconds thanks to even the smallest flame of origin. Examples: The Raven Bar (Raiders), the room where the Jones boys are being held captive (The Last Crusade).

"You left just when you were becoming interesting." The interaction and facial expressions between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery during the motorcycle chase and zeppelin ride are priceless.

Classic Indy Moment #19 - Escape from the zeppelin. Like the best Indy moments, this action sequence bounces effortlessly from one death-defying escape to another. The dogfight, crash landing, into the tunnel, nearly getting bombed and driving their stolen car into the crater, and finally, Jones the elder using his wits to crash the remaining Nazi fighter with seagulls.

I never really thought about this before, but why exactly is Sallah in the movie? He was in Raiders because he was an expert digger helping to unearth the Ark. I love the character, but what purpose is he really serving other than to assure us this will not be another Temple of Doom?

The Wilhelm Scream is heard as the BOTCS attack and get their butts handed to them by the Nazis.

"Sallah, I said no camels! That's five camels! Can't you count?"

Classic Indy Moment #20 - Attacking the tank.

Another one of the simple touches that makes an Indy movie an Indy movie: the meaty sound of the punches.

How does Indy's strap get around that cannon as he gets knocked off the side of the tank? And how does it magically come unstrapped as he climbs back up?

"You call this archeology?" Crusade definitely features more memorable quotes and one-liners than the other two movies, for better or worse.

Colonel Vogel gets one of the best "falling off a cliff" deaths ever committed to film.

Classic Indy Moment #21 - Entering the mountain temple. The father as Holy Grail symbolism continues as Indy must get the Grail in order to save his dad.

"Only the penitent man will pass." The penitent man kneels (and rolls) before God.

Classic Indy Moment #22 - "He chose...poorly." The rapid aging scene is cool, though it can't quite match the shock of the face-melting, or the blatant gratuitousness of ripping a heart out of someone's chest.

I have always wondered, since Indy drinks from the grail, does that mean he is now immortal? The Knight said that the Grail couldn't be taken past the seal, which he explains is "the price of immortality," but that doesn't really clarify the implications for the individual that has drunken, does it? I suppose it matters not, Indy is pretty much immortal anyway, considering the number of times he has evaded death.

"Indiana...Indiana. Let it go." The Holy Grail is lost, but the true grail, the reconciliation of father and son, is found.

Indy and co. ride off into the sunset, providing a fitting end to the series. Wait, what's that you say? They are making a fourth movie? Who knew?


Krissy said...

Silly man... the grail does not grant immortality to anybody who drinks from it once! I believe that a person has to drink from it repeatedly in order to sustain the effects. That is why the old (really old) knight is cooped up in that cave with it. And that is why Donovan (and Elsa -- and Indy) wanted to take it with them.

I must add: Alison Doody is greatest name ever. And yes, I have changed too many diapers in the past two weeks, but I realize I haven't even made a dent in the total number that will be changed in the coming years.

Krissy said...


I think Sallah is in the movie because it would be awfully mean of Indy to send old bumbling Marcus to wherever he sends him all alone. After all, even though Marcus knows Sallah is meeting him there, he still just wanders through the marketplace going "does anyone speak English? Or ancient Greek?" Luckily Sallah tracks him down just in time to try to save him from Donovan's cronies.

Plus, where else would Indy have gotten transportation through the desert if it wasn't for Sallah and his brother-in-law's car? They certainly wouldn't have wanted to ride camels.

Ben said...

My Indy 3 thoughts:

This is the first of the original trilogy I can remember anticipating, and seeing in the theater (mostly the drive-in). If I recall, there was some question back in 1989 as to whether or not Harrison Ford was to old to be playing Indy again. The answer is no, he was not.

I always wondered what the story with the Indy-lookalike from the beginning was (the guy who gave young Indy his hat). Like, what about all his adventures? Was he named after a dog too?

Is it me or does the main BOTCS guy look an awful lot like Edward James Olmos? (go ahead and google him again).

It may just be the desert heat, but I swear there are moments when Brody is acting flat-out drunk. "You see, Henry! The pen is mightier than the sword!" (Which is also funnier for those of you familiar with celebrity jeopardy—"I'll take the penis mightier for $400, Alex.")

I thought the reason why they didn't have eternal life just for drinking from the cup was that they themselves had to remain within the building, not just the grail. That's why he said "that is the price of immortality."

Is it me or is the "name of God" not Jehova...that's the "name of Jesus"...plot hole!

And...I'm spent.

robmba said...

Wait, you're concluding your live blogging with last crusade? I thought you'd conclude it with crystal skull. I'm looking forward to your post on the fourth movie in a few days. Just bring your laptop, sit in the back, and turn your screen contrast/brightness way down so you don't light things up too much.