Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark
There are just a couple of things to go over before the review takes place. First of all, I am well aware the original title is "Raiders Of The Lost Ark". However, I am a stickler for patterns and alphabetical order. So in my collection I don't want "Raiders" to be back in the "R's" while the others are in the "I's". Second, when reviewing these big movies that have cultural and childhood significance, it is unlikely to expect people to give reviews of these movies a fair shake. I might mention only a few points of the greatness and leave out some others. I might not cover every little thing, every bit of trivia, every background story to fans liking. So if you get through reading this and you find yourself on the verge of writing a nasty email, then just ask yourself one question..."Where are my legs?" The answer..."Blow me." Lastly, I am writing this review, as well as the other Indy reviews, in a retrospect way. With most of my reviews, I have only watched the movie once or a few times and very recently. With this movie, it's a little hard for me to give it a fair shake without relying on some of the nostalgia stemming from watching this classic when I was but a wee one. With that being said, I hope you enjoy and I hope George Lucas doesn't screw over another classic franchise! YOU HEAR ME GEOGREY!
The year is1981. "Chariots Of Fire", "On Golden Pond", "Das Boot", "The Evil Dead", "Mad Max 2", "Escape From New York", and a bunch of other movies are release. Two of Hollywood's most respected directors team up to bring a character they loved reading in serials to the silver screen. The movie that still inspires kids today just as much as it did the day it was released was shown to a generation that was just waiting to be inspired.
Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr., professor of archeology was brought to live by the vision of director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas. The role of the adventurer was originally going to go to Tom Selleck. However, after turning it down to do "Magnum, P.I." (oh how history might have turned out), Harrison Ford was tapped by Spielberg and given the part.
Also staring Karen Allen as the love interest Marion, Paul Freeman as the evil yin to Indy's good yang Belloq, and John Rhys-Davies as the lovable Sallah; this movie took one of history's most relished forgotten treasure, the Ark of the Covenant, and pitted the evil Nazis against Indiana Jones. Not only must Indy battle the forces of darkness, the Nazi army, but he must also uncover clues as to where the Ark is located, venomous snakes which Indiana Jones has a phobia of, and not to mention making sure he isn't spited by the Power of God!
When someone asks you for a definition of an action-adventure movie all you have to do is slip in your copy of "Raiders" and nothing more needs to be said.
Indiana Jones is not only a man's man but I'm sure he's the reason why so many little boys stopped wanting to be firemen when they were little, but instead switched to being an archaeologist. And who could blame them?!
The movie starts out with Indiana avoiding deadly traps and just as deadly natives in the search for a lost treasure. With the use of his trusty side arm and his iconic whip and fedora hat Indy looses the idol to his rival Belloq but escapes with his life. This opening scene has been one of the most iconic and spoofed scenes in movie history. The obtaining of the idol, the sliding under the closing door in the nick of time, and probably one of the most well known scenes, the boulder chasing Indy to the opening.
He is later tapped by the US government to find the Ark before the Nazis do (this being 1936, we are not yet at war with the Nazis). Jones enlists the help of his old teacher's daughter, Marion (played by the very cute Karen Allen). They travel to Cairo and with the help of Indy's friend, Sallah (Rhys-Davies) they set out to find the map to tell them where the Ark is buried.
While in the market place, Indiana and Marion are ambushed by Belloq's Nazi goons. This market place scene is just the very tip of the iceberg for the movie's overall great action sequences. Indy uses his fist and whip to try and buy Marion enough time to escape. A very interesting scene occurs that has some entertainment value apart from its place in the movie itself. A big guy with a huge Arabian sword is doing some fancy sword play. As the guy finishes, Indy just looks at the man and pulls out his gun and fires. The villagers cheer and hold the sword up in victory. What's interesting here is that a lot of the cast and crew, including Ford, had dysentery. In the script, Indiana Jones was suppose to have a big fight sequence with the man with the sword. However, Ford was so weak that he ad libbed the scene and Spielberg and Lucas loved it so much they kept it in. Also the villagers who were used in the scene were real villagers of the shooting location and actually did run off with the big sword.
Moving ahead, Sallah and Indy locate where the Ark is buried and dig up the site. A great number of asps are guarding the Ark (Indy's phobia!). Indy almost makes it out with the Ark only to be discovered by those no good Nazis. Indy and Marion are locked inside the tomb, to become a part of history...YA RIGHT! Indy knocks out a wall and exits up and out of the would be tomb. Indy and Marion take out a plane that was going to fly the Ark to the "Der Fuhrer". Jones fights a huge bald guy that gets cut up by the plane's propeller and Marion unleashes some machine gun action on Nazis and gas canisters.
The Nazis then move the Ark by truck. In any other movie, a truck scene would be the most boring scene in the movie. Not with Indiana Jones on the case! Indy hijacks the truck and takes out a few Nazis only to get shot in the arm, thrown under the truck, re-hijack the truck and throw the guy out the way Indy went...this time the Nazi scum isn't as lucky as Indy was!
Indy gets the Ark put on a ship heading back to America. Does the movie end there? Heck no! Those Nazis are crazy bad guys! The Nazi get the Ark back and put it on a submarine that's heading to an island where the Nazis can open it and make sure the 10 Commandments are in it before they show it to Hitler as his prize. After I knew more about Nazi history, I kind of found it ironic that Nazis would put so much effort into finding a JEWISH artifact. I can understand the Spear Of Destiny and the Grail, since those would inspire more of the Christian people to rally around Hitler. However, what was Hitler's plan with the Ark going to be? Ok, Jews, we have your Ark, now let's go...into the camps! I wonder...what if?...
Indy hops on the submarine and knocks out two Nazis for their uniform (the first one didn't fit). Let me say, that this scene is great. In movies like "Star Wars", you knock out a few lackeys and the uniforms fit perfectly. Not in this movie! This is true movie history right here! There's also a funny scene where Indy, with hat low over his eyes, bumps Belloq on purpose. Here Indy is, surrounded armed bad guys, and just because Belloq is a jerk, Indy has to get a little shove in there. Classic.
So the Nazis get to the island where they go to perform the Jewish ritual of opening up the Ark (just for the record they don't do it correctly at all and who found some Levities to be able to touch the Ark...but I digress). So Indy threatens to blow up the Ark but the archaeologist in him doesn't allow him to destroy one of the most sought after artifacts of antiquity. So Indy and Marion are tied up while the Nazi goons open the Ark.
The Ark is open. Belloq and his men peer in. What do they find? Sand. But, wait! Lights and spirits arise from the Ark. Indy tells Marion to shut her eyes and not look at it. What we get to see that Marion and Indy don't is the Power of God wiping out the Nazi arm and melting the faces off!
Watching the ending today, the ending seems a bit hokey. Not so much the face melting, but all Indy and Marion had to do is shut their eyes. Seems kind of lame. I know the reason behind it but still. Also, take this into account. If Indy would have let the Nazis ship the Ark back on the plane he destroyed. Hitler would have opened it up and WWII never would have happened! Thanks a lot, Dr. Jones!
Indy takes the Ark back to the US. The government ends up putting the Ark is a crate and putting it among a bunch of other crates. What do the other crates hold?
Grade - A+
This is the quintessential action-adventure movie. You have a great hero who's job in real life is about wiping away dust for the most part. Not with Indiana Jones! He uses a whip and his fists to find lost treasure. Along the way, he must battle traps, giant boulders, snakes, and Nazis! The action is magnificent. The use of the whip is probably the coolest weapon ever to be on screen, maybe even more so than the lightsaber. The sound effects make this movie come alive. Along with the whip crack you also have the classic and well known Indy punch sounds. I would hate to have one of those land on me since they sound like a chunk of concrete hitting bone. The score is splendid, once again conducted by John Williams. No other movie has been such a big inspiration to kids in real life, in what they want to do when they grow up, than Indiana Jones. He is so cool and smart and tough. This isn't a man's man...he's a man's man's man! "Raiders" is a timeless classic that should be shown to each new generation. The visuals still hold up as well. It really is timeless. So George! By some off chance that you read this and don't want to have little boys who grew up to be ticked off for not being as exciting as Indiana Jones, but still own and know how to use a whip...don't touch this movie!