National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Blu-ray and DVD Picks & Passes 09.23.12

BY Steven D. Greydanus

Film Critic

September 23-October 6, 2012 Issue | Posted 9/17/12 at 2:37 PM


Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) PICK

For Greater Glory (2012) PICK

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures  (1981–2008) PICK

October Baby  (2011) PICK

Among the latest home-video releases: a pair of faith-based films celebrating religious freedom and life itself … the much-awaited Blu-ray debut of Indiana Jones … and the best movie James Cameron ever made about the Titanic.

For Greater Glory dramatizes the story of the Cristero War in 1920s Mexico, a time of persecution of Catholics unparalleled in modern Western history, and the Catholic resistance movement led by an anticlerical general (Andy Garcia). It’s a story too little known, and would be worthwhile at any time, but is strikingly apropos today.

October Baby is a pro-life drama loosely inspired by the life of pro-life activist and abortion-attempt survivor Gianna Jessen: A teenage girl discovers that she is the survivor of a botched abortion and goes in search of her origins.

Both films, like many faith-based productions, could have benefitted from more subtlety and nuanced characters. What For Greater Glory has is an epic sweep, solid production values and magnificent locations across Mexico. October Baby is less successful, but it is at its most thoughtful contemplating the heroine’s unresolved feelings about her biological mother and tragic beginnings. See full reviews of both films at

Debuting on Blu-ray, Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures isn’t really complete, if you count Indy’s small-screen adventures — but all four feature films are here, painstakingly restored for hi-def, from the untouchable classic Raiders of the Lost Ark to the disposable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Seven hours of bonus features include lots of fascinating behind-the-scenes footage from the shooting of Raiders, including choreography from the unused marketplace fight scene replaced with the famous shooting gag. Extras on stunts, special effects, creepy crawlies and locations are all worth watching.

Finally, if you see only one James Cameron-directed movie about the Titanic, see the one that doesn’t star Kate and Leo. Ghosts of the Abyss is a deep-sea documentary, co-produced by Disney and Walden Media, that uses diving vessels and remote-controlled robot cameras to offer an unprecedented close-up look at the wreck of the Titanic, including extraordinary interior shots.

Restrained effects bring back the "ghosts," with images of actors re-creating scenes from the voyage superimposed onto the wreckage. Best of all, moral reflection honors the heroism and lessons of the Titanic story in all the ways Cameron’s better-known film doesn’t. 

Content Advisory:

Ghosts of the Abyss: Nothing objectionable. Kids and up. For Greater Glory: Graphic wartime violence and disturbing images; clerical participation in war; desecration of sacred articles. Mature teens and up. Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures: Stylized action violence and menace; brief sensuality (some non-explicit scenes in the second and third films); limited profanity and crass language; gruesome images. Teens and up. October Baby: Restrained references to physical trauma of abortion; some mildly suggestive moments and allusions to sexual intimacy. Teens and up.