THE GREATEST ADVENTURES OF
Published by HARPER COLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS
It has been said in times past that a man was the sum of his memories-in the case of eminent archeologist and soldier of fortune and glory, Indiana Jones, his memories of daring exploits and dangerous quests over a forty year time span (so far) must be ready to overload his brain by now!
Conveniently timed to co-incide with the DVD release of THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, such chronicling of Indy’s epic adventures (at least pertaining to the cinematic screen in this volume) in book/journal form has fallen not to the man himself, but, in a fresh new slant to the INDY publishing world, to two of his bitterest rivals…
Firstly, there is the accounts of Jones’s exploits by the man referred to as the “dark side” of Indiana-the Frenchman known as Belloq (originally seen in RAIDERS, played brilliantly by Paul Freeman), who charts and pursues our favourite Fedora wearing explorer in the quest to obtain the rare and priceless antiquities that he feels should have been his. Obviously presented chronologically, Belloq first travels to THE TEMPLE OF DOOM before reaching his own demise with INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. From then on, Belloq’s son-perhaps we can call him “the Anti-Mutt?- takes over the mantle of hatred and following of Indiana into 1957, with the younger French man’s diary extracts revealing more about THE LAST CRUSADE and Indy’s last (so far) adventure with the Crystal Skull and the lost city of Akator.
The written passages of the book are nicely done in a style that is both simple and efficient for it’s target readership, with the Belloq’s family chase adequately brought to life by the books author-Helen Otway. Equally pleasing to the eye, the design of the book by Mike Haines and Insight Design Concepts Ltd. is lovely (a special mention also for the terrific cover image composition, too!!), both elements combining and continuing the excellent educate and inform mantra of LUCASFILM-parts of the interior design are similar in idea to the STAR WARS VAULT, though this book pertains to the factual and fictional world of the INDY series rather than any behind the scenes stuff (though the idea of an INDY behind the scenes vault book is a good one-Mister Sansweet, I hope you’re reading this..). The lovely colour spreads are full to the brim with great, and sometimes rare photos (though there is the occasional, presumably unavoidable, need to use screengrabs in certain places). Embellishing the book with greater detail there are also neat little booklets and pamphlets producing factual and film story information (I like the section on killer ants for CRYSTAL SKULL, the info on TEMPLE OF DOOM's Sankara stones and Thuggee cult), and classic moments scenes in mini photo book form (like the iconic RAIDERS truck chase). The book also has envelopes where you can remove some lovely little items like the telex about Abner Ravenwood from RAIDERS and, one of my favourite pieces EVER!-a wedding invite for Indy and Marion (Aw, bless…).
Further fun and creative pieces include Survival Tips for the Intrepid Explorer for CRYSTAL SKULL, eternally enjoyable pop ups (love the Indy in the fridge one!!), specially created newspaper clipping pieces (of both real events and incidents in the Indy-dom), maps (liked the 1936 Cairo one), a little comic book of young Indy’s reclaiming of the Cross of Coronado, a hologram of Julian Glover aging to death in front of Elsa from LAST CRUSADE-if you like that sort of thing), and even a nice section of Henry (“Junior!”) Jones weathered Grail Diary pages-don’t forget, “Only the Penitent Man will pass!”
Overall, THE GREATEST ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES is a lovely viewing experience book, and very well printed- a continued part of HARPER COLLINS high standards. It’s so nice to look at and enjoy that it succeeds in making you want to watch the films all over again-now that’s a good sign!!! This title lives up to its name in bringing Indy’s exploits to life as an interactive book treat and is a lovely item for readers-it will make a fantastic Xmas present for people of all ages, especially the younger ones who are now discovering Indy with the recent release of CRYSTAL SKULL and want to find out more about our favourite hero, his friends, his deadliest enemies and all his action packed adventures.
Now all we need is another film…
AFICIONADO RATING: another whip-tastic, snake beating, Nazi fighting, Skull watching, Spalko fencing, map reading, plane traveling, fedora wearing, mystical object chasing slice of fun. 8 out of 10