My sister and her husband gave me the Indiana Jones box set of DVDs for Christmas and I recently watched the bonus materials DVD. What a great set. Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of those formative movies that shaped my preferences in entertainment as well as my worldview as a kid, in addition to Star Wars and Star Trek. Indiana Jones awakened in me a desire for adventure, heroism, being the good guy fighting the good fight against the bad guys. And it was such a great, fun adventure.
Watching the documentaries now, I learned a bit more about the creative process behind the movie. For one thing, Steven Spielberg and I both share an aversion to going back and re-viewing our work. He doesn’t like to sit in the theater and watch his movies because he always finds things he would have done differently or that he sees as flaws. I do the same thing with my own writing. After it’s published, when I read it, I often cringe at how I wrote a particular passage or failed to clarify something or the like. Interestingly enough, Spielberg doesn’t feel the same way about Raiders. It’s the one movie he can enjoy on its own merits.
We also find out why Temple of Doom was so dark and moody. George Lucas reveals that he was going through his divorce at the time and that came out on the pages of the script. Then, as they were filming it, the darkness kept creeping up in different places until they realized at the end how dark it had become.
Of course, there’s also the usual cutting-room floor material, such as footage of Harrison Ford learning to use the bullwhip, Tom Selleck’s and Tim Matheson’s screen tests as Indiana Jones, and so on, as well as interviews with John Williams, sound designer Bill Burt, and the special effects team. All good stuff. Highly recommended.