Raiders of The Lost Ark

Year: 1981
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay) George Lucas and Philip Kaufman (story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was in college I wrote a fifteen page paper on this movie for one of my classes.  It was a very in depth critical analysis in which I praised Steven Spielberg as one of the greatest directors of all time and accused George Lucas of being a hack that only did one good thing and fooled millions of people into thinking he had talent.  I made an A on the paper and I still stand by those positions today.  Spielberg has continued to make incredible movies and George Lucas has continued to destroy his greatest creations and ruin their legacies.  Not even this franchise was safe from Lucas’ meddling but nevertheless he did play a large role in making this movie, and it is a legendary movie.  This movie is so iconic and so awesome that it remains relevant even after more than thirty years since its release and in time I think we will find it still relevant in yet another thirty year period.

I’m not going to spend too much time talking specifically about how good this movie is because everybody out there already knows that.  If you are young and managed not to see this movie growing up you should confront your parents and demand an explanation.  This movie is exciting, interesting, timeless, and action packed.  Indiana Jones is a total badass and true American hero. He made boys all over the world want whips they could combat anything with. I like Jones as the hero because he is a strong character.  He is educated, secular, practical, and brave.  He doesn’t give credence to superstition. He follows his mind and not his heart. He does what needs to be done, and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.  The guy can fistfight with the best of them and still be in class the following day blowing off the doe eyed babes trying to hit on him.  He rocks the shit out of that hat too, and it makes his silhouette one of the most memorable ever.  Another thing that makes him a great American hero is his hate for Nazis.  Indy is great at beating up Nazis and how can any red blooded American out there not love him for that?

The character of Indiana Jones was in fact created by George Lucas, but he originally named the character Indiana Smith.  When he and Spielberg were discussing the film Spielberg told him he loved the story but he wasn’t crazy about the name Indiana Smith.  So Lucas came up with the oh so clever second attempt of Jones which was what stuck.  Lucas couldn’t use the most popular name in the nation so he went with the second most popular.  I think that, in a nutshell, sums up the capabilities of George Lucas as a creative writer.  I cannot explain Star Wars because he did create something exceptional there, in the beginning, but I maintain he is a hack despite Star Wars.  I think the success of this movie and franchise is 100% because Spielberg was behind the camera.  He is one of the greatest directors of all time and he is in his element making movies like this.  Spielberg has a great imagination for action sequences and nobody films them with such an exciting impact as he does.  

He has always made great use of composer John Williams as well to his great advantage.  Williams is an incredible composer and has created a number of memorable scores.  The score for this movie alone will live on forever and that’s only one next to several very successful films over the last 30+ years.  His music has played a significant role in setting the tone for Spielberg movies such as this one, E.T., Jawsand Jurassic ParkWilliams was also the key composer for all Star Wars films and The Harry Potter franchise as well.  He has had a career for the ages and will be remembered for all time.

Karen Allen was nothing short of awesome in this movie.  As Marion Ravenwood she plays such a badass woman who will drink you under the table and stab you if you underestimate her.  I was really hopeful for her return to the franchise in the fourth film because I thought it certified that the movie would be awesome and tie them all together.  I was really disappointed with the fourth movie though, which I still think had the potential to be everything all of us wanted it to be.  Naturally, I blame George Lucas for what was ultimately put on the screen but I am biased in that regard.  Paul Freeman played the part of the lead villain well enough but Ronald Lacey showed him up as a bad guy.  For the longest time this was the only movie I knew John Rhys-Davies from and was shocked when I realized he was the man who played Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Years ago I wrote so much about this movie that I found it difficult to do it this time because I hate to be redundant.  This is a movie and franchise really important to me though because as far back as I can remember I was watching Indiana Jones and loving every minute of it. These movies are timeless and I sincerely hope they are still being enjoyed by the rising generation today.  All three of the first three movies are worth your time but this one more than any other.  You have undoubtedly seen it already but if you haven’t I don’t know what you are waiting for.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is a classic. It’s almost blasphemous to say anything derogatory about it. Here is the poster:

raiders

Spielberg was obsessed with this style back in the day. This takes me right back to my Goonies review. I think what they are going for is this “adventurous” style so they make it all sketched out. I really don’t like it all. He has a super cheesy look on his face, the font for Raiders looks like it is bad word art (of course all word art is bad) and on top of that it is filled with a gradient! This movie may be a classic and this poster probably stands out in the minds of those who love it, but I hate this poster. It is definitely one of my least favorite.

NEXT MOVIE: Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)

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10 comments

    1. It was my favorite as a kid, but I have a very disparaging review of it coming. The kid sidekick and mega annoying woman killed it for me in the last viewing.

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