Indiana Jones may be the only film language spoken by nerds and non-nerds alike. Whereas quoting lines from George Lucas’ other epic saga will get your sex life impugned by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, reciting ”Throw me the idol, I’ll throw you the whip!” is considered acceptable, nay, laudable behavior, even for the captain of the football team. The reason is Indy himself. The Hat. The Whip. The goofy, Everyman vexation vying with square-jawed cool. Which is probably why director Steven Spielberg and producer Lucas first approached…Tom Selleck.
That’s just one of many anecdotal gems in the three-plus hours of extras included in the long-awaited The Adventures of Indiana Jones – The Complete DVD Movie Collection. Also unearthed: Danny DeVito was originally cast as Indy sidekick Sallah, before John Rhys-Davies stepped in. (Imagine, a Selleck-DeVito ”Raiders of the Lost Ark”! Or rather, don’t.) And if the Nazi U-boat looks familiar, that’s because it was the same sub used in Wolfgang Petersen’s ”Das Boot.”
No, these nuggets aren’t on the commentary track – because there isn’t one. (Get used to it, Spielberg fans.) Instead, we’re treated to making-of docs – meticulous, scene-by-scene deconstructions that give viewers a new appreciation for pre-CGI filmmaking. They’re also frank about sensitive points, like, say, ”The Temple of Doom.” (”I was going through a divorce at the time,” says Lucas, explaining the dark, dissonant story line, ”and I wasn’t in a good mood.”) ”Temple,” of course, represents the worst in both Lucas and Spielberg: all the dour joylessness of the former, all the flimsy whimsy of the latter. But ”Adventures,” as a package, shows both at their best – it’s Lucas-sleek yet Spielberg-accessible. And a fine tribute to a guy named after a dog.