Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This review contains SPOILERS!
Do you remember the day in history class when your teacher told you that Hitler wanted the Ark of the Covenant so he could rule the world? Yeah, me neither. But that's the story nonetheless in Spielberg's outrageous comedy/action classic "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
I guess that Hitler never read the Bible so he didn't know that those who touched the Ark fell down dead; but that's just semantics.
To be honest, I had not seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" before—or any movies of the Indiana Jones saga. I don't know how I missed out on this....but whatever.
I wasn't expecting the campiness of the movie and the slapstick nonsense that ensues—but it was entertaining. Maybe I had formed a preconception of the film, but that quickly waned.Within the first five minutes of the film there were up close cartoonish screams when eyes are rested upon a statue and other such over-the-top nuggets.
The movie begins with Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) searching for a small gold figure. They maneuver through the jungle without the use of GPS (this is 1936) until they find a temple of some kind. They evade obstacles that include spikes that shoot out of the wall and arrows that are flung from statues's faces. Then comes the infamous rolling ball and finally rivalry archeology.
So begins one of the most successful and acclaimed series.
Spielberg unintentionally made marine biology a popular profession after "Jaws" was released. Who didn't want to be Richard Dreyfuss? I can see how "Raiders of the Lost Ark" made archeology a hot topic. Indiana Jones is a total boss. He's suave, handsome, funny, and he has wonderful adventures—he fits the perfect criteria for women to love and men to idolize.
Harrison Ford, at this point in his career, had already scored big with the first installment of the "Star Wars" franchise (and by "first" I mean "fourth".....naturally). But "Raiders of the Lost Ark" reaffirmed that Ford was a genuine star who could carry an action movie like few of his contemporaries.
Anyways, Dr. Jones returns to teaching, something that he is slightly awkward at (perhaps all the lady students showing him private love notes written on their eyelids distracts him). He is visited by several well-to-do people who tell him that the Nazis have a plan to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant and use it against the world...too bad it doesn't come with an instructions manual.
But the men who tell Jones of the nefarious Nazi plan don't actually know what the Ark is...so we all get a little education. The Ark of the Covenant contains the original ten commandments that Moses received from God (the film doesn't mention that Ark's other contents such as Aaron's rod and a jar of manna...but no matter, after all the film has Hitler running after the Ark so it's not winning plausibility and accuracy points).
So after the lecture, the men convey that they want Jones to get the Ark before the Nazis do.
But getting the Ark is complicated since no one actually knows where it is. It becomes a big treasure hunt, one that we know that Jones will be able to complete. After all, what can Harrison Ford not do?
Jones then has to travel to get a crystal medallion which will lead him to a room where the location of the Ark will be...it's all very complicated.
The film is quite something, not taking itself too seriously (something that I deeply appreciate); but also being very zany and full of good, entertaining action. The production value of the movie and the stunts are worth mentioning—they're quite impressive.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is the movie that proved everyone—Lucas, Spielberg, Ford, and even John Williams—to be stars. The movie has one of the biggest followings of any movie there is... probably outdone only by "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".
It's over exaggerated and purposely droll—but that's what makes it fun. I doubt that there is a dull moment in the film.
Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones