the studio gate

the backlot

the screening room
The Screening Room

The first series of "Young Indiana Jones" relied on more drama than action. The new DVD set, "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Two: The War Years," relies more on action.
"The War Years" isn't without flaws, but it's more entertaining and quicker paced than the previous set.  

Once again, if you're not familiar with this incarnation of Indiana Jones, don't expect wall-to-wall cliffhangers and mystical occurrences. What you can expect are some very well done serials with fine acting, writing, production design, and direction. If you go into this series expecting traditional Indy action, it's a different kind of action. More epic than campy, it's still entertaining.

By far my favorite of "The War Years" is "The Phantom Train of Doom" (1993). This one's a real treat and feels the most like a traditional Indiana Jones movie. Written by Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption"), "Phantom Train" is a rollicking adventure and could well be a theatrical movie on its own. The story is a blast and the cast includes Freddie Jones and Paul Freeman. Yes, the same Paul Freeman who played the evil Dr. Rene Belloq in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) plays a good guy, Selous, in the series. If you don't care for some of the episodes in "The War Years," this and the supplemental discs will still keep you very entertained.

Indy is off to war in the first World War, fighting in the trenches for the Belgian Army. He and his friend Remy (Ronny Coutteure) go on a series of adventures through Europe and Africa. Most of the episodes maintain Indy's personality throughout. Actor Sean Patrick Flanery does a credible job as Harrison Ford's alter ego. Flanery's mannerisms and demeanor seem to parallel Ford's iconic character very well.

The series plays with history and historical figures, but does it with respect. For example, the opening episode, "Trenches of Hell," shows what horror men faced in Europe during WWI. The series also introduces audiences to historical figures like T.E. Lawrence, Charles de Gaulle, and Albert Schweitzer.

"The War Years" is a rich and feature-packed DVD set and whether or not you're an Indiana Jones fan, this is worth a look.  

Photos: Lucasfilm/Paramount/CBS. All rights reserved.

Quick Glimpse


Indy's off on new adventures and they're grand

Directors: Various

Cast: Sean Patrick Flanery, Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ronny Coutteure


An archeological dig's worth of extras

Not rated (some violence)


Picture: Excellent
Sound: Excellent

Contains some really entertaining adventures this time around

Aspect Ratio (1.33:1)

Dolby Digital 2.0

December 18, 2007