Ossus Library Index Action Movie Index

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Directed by Steven Spielberg (1981, Paramount Pictures, )
Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, and John Rhys-Davies

Indiana Jones goes to Egypt to find the Biblical Ark before the Nazis do.

 

 

5 stars

February 23rd, 2015 on DVD, for the 25th time

 
    I This is still one of the best adventure movies of all time. While I still love the glitzy action films of today, back then they put a lot more thought into the story, and this movie has stood up so well since it was first made because of that. Not sure my 11 year old son thought so, though.  

 

5 stars

April 6th, 2008 on DVD, for the 24th time

 
    I preparation for the new Indiana Jones movie -and the Crystal Skull- I watched the movie that started it all. It is just as good and corny as always. I love the humor in this installment more than any of the others, because it is much less forced. Indy is sarcastic and sardonic. Marian, with her witty comments "he has your looks", "I can be reasonable", and so on, is hilarious. I also love that in everything Indy does, he gets caught. From the opening scene, through the map room (where Sallah actually gets caught), into the Well of Souls, on the ship (where Marion gets caught), and onto the island! But he always manages to turn defeat into victory.

I don't know how Indy couldn't believe in magic and "hokus-pocus", after all he has seen in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and especially Temple of Doom, where he witnessed more than his fair share.

In case I don't see the others again before the next movie comes out, I just wanted to see Marion again, since she will be in that movie, too. I can't wait to see them interact again.

 

 

5 stars

November 4th, 2003 on DVD for the 23rd time

 
    The first film is what sets the tone for all the rest of the Indiana Jones movies. There is a great mix of action, love, nasty surprises, and comedy. I never remembered the comedy being so prevalent through this film. I always complained that the Last Crusade had too many obvious jokes, but this one is barely more subtle. The interaction between the characters is classic, even though they are barely bruised by the end. I love the way Indy finds the tiniest places where he isn't bruised so that Marion can kiss them!

The thing I noticed most about the DVD edition of this movie was the sound! I've never heard this movie in stereo like this -at least not since I first saw this in the theatre. In my own home, it was amazing. I kept turning my head as things went from left to right. It was truly amazing.

Of course, I am still getting used to the widescreen version. It's awesome to see all the extra footage on the left and right of the screen, which I missed for so many years. One thing that is truly brought out because of the widescreen is the prevalent use of shadows, all over the place, especially in the Well of Souls, but elsewhere, also.

My description of the movie, below, seems to be written in a rather abrupt manner, and I wonder why, since it doesn't really capture the passion that exists in this movie. Everything Indy does is full of passion, from losing and finding Marion again, to searching for the Ark or the statue at the beginning.

I don't think I could pick out a favorite scene, though I don't think I've enjoyed a truck or car chase in any movie as much as I do this one. All of the moments are terrific. I love the way the story evolves naturally, since the German burned the image of the Eye of Ra into his hand and they were able to create one of their own, or that the Wrath of God would destroy the people who opened the Ark in bad faith.

I just love this movie, and will continue to love it for a long time, I think.

With the zoom feature of the DVD, I was able to finally find the legendary R2D2 and C3PO hieroglyphics just before Indy and Sallah take the Ark out of its stone box. Ha!

There are two special features for each movie on this collection, as well as some compiled ones, all on the fourth disk. The trailers, as usual for a movie like this, look so old! I can never believe how these things got people to go see the movies! The behind-the-scenes feature showed a lot of neat stuff, and gave us some cool details about what happened during the filming. However, there was way too much footage from the movie, and way too many interviews focusing on the people who were talking. We know what these people look like -how about having them do a voice-over on some additional behind the scenes footage, which we haven't seen, instead? That is even more true with the smaller featurettes. I liked them, as they had some good stuff and neat information, but I don't understand why they thought we needed to see so much of the movie once again -since we know what the movie looks like.

 

 

5 stars

February 5th, 2000 on Video for the 22nd time

 
    This is the movie that started it all! Indiana Jones became a household name after this movie, and action was given a new name.  And widescreen gives it a whole new look. The best use of the widescreen was when Indy and Sallah take the Ark out of its stone box. In the regular version, it seems like it's floating in a bad special effect. In fact, it is being lifted out of the box by unsteady hands.

The movie is so much full of fun and action, great effects, and great acting. It is also very consistent within itself. My favorite part is the truck chase. It is one guy against half an army, though the army is nice enough not to send too many guys after Indy at one time.  He bumps them off one by one, including two cars, and a motorcycle.  I was exhausted after that one, sort of like the pod race in the Phantom Menace

The opening scene is great. It shows how experienced Indy is. It's like primitive James Bond. He knows all the sorcerer's tricks, and is able to avoid all the traps. Those who try to rip him off are always caught in the traps. Indy gathers sand to weigh against the statue he is about to take, but it's too heavy. It causes the temple to collapse, and he barely makes it out of there. But Beloq is waiting for him at the exit. An arch-rival, Beloq steals the statue from Indy's hand. Indy once again barely escapes alive. Exhausting for the viewers. What about the archaeologist?

Back in the US, Indy is asked to go on a search for the Lost Ark, and to acquire it before Hitler does.  Indy knows where the headpiece to a staff is located, one that will tell him where the Ark may be buried.  He goes to Nepal to see an old acquaintance, but she is not too happy to see him, as he broke Marion's heart ten years ago.  Germans show up and try to forcibly take the headpiece from her, but Indy shows up just in time.  They defeat the bad guys, but her bar is destroyed by fire.  Marion becomes his new partner.

Off to Cairo they travel, where the German dig is larger than even Indy thought.  He has a friend who is a digger, and whom the Germans have hired.  But Indy has the inside scoop.  He believes Marion is killed in a truck accident, and discovers Beloq is behind the German dig. 

Indy goes down to the map room and finds the location of the Ark, then gets a dig team out to that spot.  On the way, he discovers that Marion is not dead, but being held captive.  He can't release her, because they would start combing the place looking for her. 

Indy gets to the Ark just at Beloq notices his dig team, and rushes over to take possession of it, leaving Indy and Marion in a room full of snakes.  They escape, of course, and blow up the plane that is supposed to take the Ark to Berlin.  Instead, it heads off by truck.  Indy commandeers the truck, and sets off to London by boat.  The boat is boarded by German troops, and they take the Ark.  Indy swims over to the submarine, and somehow gets inside as they travel to the place where the Beloq will open the Ark. 

There, Indy threatens to destroy the Ark, but when Beloq calls his bluff, he can't do it.  He is captured, and Beloq opens the Ark.  Inside, instead of the stone tablets, is dust -they've fallen apart!  The wrath of God appears then, and kills all the Germans.  It appears that Indy has seen this trick, too, because he finds a way for him and Marion to escape alive.  They somehow make their way back to the US with the Ark, where it is impounded, and probably lost forever.

Whew!  All that excitement.  I'm always exhausted after seeing the movie.  And always completely entertained.

 

 

5 stars

August 22nd, 1998 on Video for the 21st time

 
   

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