Back in 1992, George Lucas launched a TV series called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Unfortunately, back then I was fresh out of college, looking for a job, and didn't have time to watch TV so I never saw the show. My research tells me that it was a show about the exploits of Indy when he was a young kid and then a young man. Along the way it explained how Indy came to later be an adventure-seeking archeologist. It also interspersed a lot of historic references and was meant to be both entertaining and educational. Later, Lucas decided to release the series on DVD, but instead of just transferring the material as-is, he compiled it into a collection of feature-length movies. Volume 1 and Volume 2 were previously released and have garnered good reviews from Indiana Jones fans. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Three marks the completion of the collection.
Volume 3, The Years of Change
Not having seen the TV show or the two previous volumes, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and amount of content provided. Volume 3 consists of no less than 10 DVDs containing 7 feature length (approximately 90 minute) movies along with over 15 hours of special features that explore the world history and historical figures that inspired the adventures of young Indiana Jones. All of the content is presented in 4:3 aspect and stereo audio because wide-screen and surround sound wasn't being done for TV content at the time the series was filmed. Even so, the quality of the content is excellent not only because of the way it was filmed, but because Lucas went to great lengths to make things as authentic as possible, which included shooting in locations all over the world.
Each movie is accompanied by several documentaries (usually 30 minutes in length each), which cover the historical events or figures that are a part of the life of young Indiana Jones. From the ending of World War I to the rise of Hollywood, Volume 3 shows Indy transitioning from a soldier to civilian life and making his way through college (majoring in archeology, of course). Along the way, he interacts with a number of famous historical figures, although his interactions with these people are completely fictional. If you saw the movie Forest Gump, then you'll understand how the life of Indiana Jones was integrated into history. And while the movies are definitely entertaining, especially for Indiana Jones fans, the real stars of the package are the documentaries, which are very informative (although succinct because of their length) and provide a very educational experience for anyone.
The Story of Young Indy
Volume 3 begins with "Tales of Innocence" where Indy is a soldier in World War I and competes with Ernest Hemingway for the love of an Italian girl. The story then has him working with the French Foreign Legion as he travels with Edith Wharton to uncover a weapons smuggling ring. The next movie, "Masks of Evil" is probably the most fictional in nature because it has Indy traveling to Transylvania and battling it out with none other than Dracula. In "Treasure of the Peacock's Eye" we see the true spirit of Indiana Jones shining through as he searches the globe to find an ancient diamond for fortune and glory. "The Winds of Change" marks the end of World War I and tells of Indy's transition from soldier to civilian life. Indy works as a translator at the Paris Peace Conference and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
In "Mystery of the Blues" we see the one and only cameo appearance of Harrison Ford as grown-up Indy where he begins the story of how he learned to play the saxophone and was introduced to Jazz music. The same story gets Indy involved with the mob as he teams up with a young Eliot Ness to try and uncover a killing done by none other than Al Capone before he was famous. "Scandal of 1920" delves into Indy's romantic life where he gets involved in a love triangle with three different women. It's a fun and lighter addition to the series. And finally, "Hollywood Follies" finds Indy in the movie business during the glory days of Hollywood as he works to make enough money for his last semester at college and interacts with notables like Erich von Stroheim and John Ford. At the end of the final movie, Indy drives off to finish school marking the beginning of the real adventures to come.
History In The Making
Included in Volume 3 is a treasure trove of educational documentaries covering topics including: The French Foreign Legion, The Ottoman Empire, New Guinea, The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, Jazz, Prohibition, Hellfighters, Tin Pan Alley, The Algonquin Round Table, Broadway, and more. Some of the famous historical figures covered include: Ernest Hemingway, Edith Wharton, Lowell Thomas, Bronislaw Malinowski, Halide Edib, Woodrow Wilson, Gertrude Bell, Ho Chi Minh, Paul Robeson, Robert Goddard, Louis Armstrong, Ben Hecht, Erich von Stroheim, Irving Thalberg, and John Ford. In addition, there is an interactive bonus disc that provides a 1-hour historical lecture tying all the events together and providing a cohesive understanding about how things happened and why they happened. Plus, you can pop this disc into your PC (Mac is not supported) and experience an Interactive Timeline with even more historical information as well as an interesting Hunting For Treasure interactive game.
The Adventure Continues
The decision to purchase this collection is an easy one for fans of Indiana Jones: buy it. Many of the movies are not quite as exciting as the big screen Indiana Jones movies, but they provide a fun look into the life of Indy growing up and how he came to be the adventurous character he is today. And even if you're not an Indy fan, the historical content in this collection alone is well worth the purchase. Unless you are extremely well read on world history, I'm sure both you and your teens will learn a lot from the information presented here. The Young Adventures of Indiana Jones: Volume 3, The Years of Change makes a great addition to your movie library and it also makes a great lead-in to the recently released Indiana Jones Special Edition DVDs as well as the new movie in theatres – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.