The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Vol. 1

by Alan Rapp on May 19, 2008

in Home Video

  • Title: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Vol. 1
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young-indiana-jones-vol-oneVolume One, as well as the second and third volumes of the series, chronologically collects the series in sets of television movies (rather than in the order the original hour-long episodes aired).

The first five chapters of the series involve the adventures of young Henry Jones Jr. (Corey Carrier) traveling around the country with his father Professor Henry Jones (Lloyd Owen, doing an acceptable Sean Connery impression), his mother Anna (Ruth de Sosa), and his tutor Miss Seymour (Margaret Tyzack).

Most of the adventures fall into the same basic story structure, which (somewhat unbelievably) doesn’t get old.  The family arrives in a new location where Prof. Jones has been asked to lecture and Indy finds a way to get out of studying and ultimately, whether meaning to or not, finds himself involved in mischief, often with historical characters.  An over the course of the episode young Indy learns an important lesson.

In this first volume young Indy meets T.E. Lawrence, President Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Degas, Norman Rockwell, Pablo Picasso, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Giacomo Puccini, and Mata Hari.

The final two chapters of this volume jump six years into the future featuring a high school aged Indy (Sean Patrick Flanery, who remains in the role the rest of the series) helping out Thomas Edison, fighting in the Mexican Revolution with Pancho Villa, and finding himself in Ireland during the Easter Rebellion as he prepares to join the war effort.

During these early adventures young Indy learns about life, philosophy, and in two separate adventures – love.  We are given the glimpse of young Indy’s first crush, the Princess Sophie (Amalie Ihle Alstrup) and the first love of his life, the beautiful and fiery Vickie Prentiss (Elizabeth Hurley).

The series could be titled Indiana Jones meets the great people of history.  While on the face of it this might sound like a recipe for disaster, there is so much right about the series you can forgive its flaws.  For a television series, collected here as a series of TV movies, the production quality is quite high (better than many independent films).  The settings are terrific, and there’s something both fun and educational about each chapter (and that’s not as easy as it sounds).  Both Carrier and Flanery are likable as younger versions of the character Harrison Ford made popular and most of the supporting and guest-roles work quite well in the time period and locations of each episode.

Sure the dialogue can get wooden, and even clunky at times, but given the character is only 10 through most of these episodes, and just 16 in the remaining two, you can forgive them speaking if they were that age.

Fans of the show’s original airings have been disappointed with the re-editing done in this edition which removes an older version of Indy (played by George Hall) who thinks back and remembers each adventure through a series of flashbacks.  Since I did not watch the show in it’s original form this change doesn’t bother me personally, and I think such as a set-up would have grown tiresome watching the entire series on DVD.  My only question here is why the final two chapters weren’t put on the second volume (which would seem to make more sense in separating the episodes by the change in time and recasting the role of Indy) making it the largest box set of the bunch.

This is a good set for adults, and a great set for kids.  I’d recommend to all Indy fans, as well as those who enjoy documentaries, which this box set has in spades.  Because of the release of the new film many sellers are selling the sets for a much reduced price (some more than 60% of the original list price) and this marks a great opportunity to pick up and enjoy the adventures of the young Indiana Jones.

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