Last month, Fandango was invited to George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Northern California for a preview of the Indiana Jones Blu-ray collection, which hits home video shelves tomorrow. In addition to getting a glimpse of what will be included in the newly restored collection, we also got a chance to view Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX. The film hosted a movie marathon at select AMC theaters this past Saturday and recently extended its IMAX re-release.
During the brief presentation of the Blu-ray features, we also got to chat with creative director at Industrial Light & Magic, Dennis Muran and sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt won an Academy Award for his work on Raiders.
First, let's run through what's included in the Blu-ray collection. All four Indiana Jones films are presented in 1080p high definition with 5.1 Dolby Dolby DTS-HD audio. Trailers are included on the film discs. The real treat comes with the fifth disc filled with over seven hours of bonus footage including On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark and a making of feature for each film.
That's just the beginning, though. The bonus disc includes features on the stunts, the sounds, the music and the special effects of Indiana Jones and a look at the women of Indiana Jones' films, iconic props and much more.
Sound quality is one of the biggest improvements over the original theatrical and home video copies. Indeed, if you were able to catch the IMAX re-release, you will notice that a significant amount of time has been put into re-mastering the sound effects in the film.
Muran calls the movies textbooks on filmmaking and effects works. "The effects on the Indy films took second place to the story and the characters. Our effects could not show up in a way as being flashy."
"The sound people's job in these films was to make illusions of these made-up movie effects and make them credible," Burtt said. "The boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the biggest challenges of the first film. We came up to Skywalker Ranch in a little Honda Civic station wagon and were on a dirt road and I just hung out the window and recorded the tires rolling and that became the boulder."
Burrt also offers up another nugget of Indy trivia. He had been experimenting to find the right sound for the scene when the lid of the Ark is moved. What worked best? "The lid of my toilet bowl was perfect. It has a nice ceramic sound. I hate to say it, it sounds wrong, but it worked perfectly."
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures hits Blu-ray tomorrow.