Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Classic, almost perfect.

The style in which I review films is a bit different than you would imagine. I may love a movie and rate it poorly, or vice versa. My main focus is on a current audience, and how well an older film can translate to the expectations of someone who has never seen it, regardless of the fact that it is classic. In some ways, I can understand some people who have never seen Star Wars and refuse to see it. There’s a good chance it won’t have the same affect that it would have when they were younger and still impressionable. Thankfully, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark still works for a current audience while still having that ‘80s cheese.

So, Indiana Jones is pretty much the alter ego of Dr. Henry Jones, an archeologist professor with a passion of preserving important artifacts hidden throughout the world, whatever they may be. When he hears that a few Nazis have been searching for the headpiece of a certain staff, he deduced that their true intention was to find the Ark of the Covenant and to obtain immortality. His mission was to find the arc before they did, and to do that, he needed the help of an old flame, Marian Ravenwood.

I want to first point out that recently, The Big Bang Theory humorously pointed out that Indiana Jones was practically pointless in the story – without him, the Nazis would have still found the ark and what happened in the end would have still gone down, exactly as depicted. Just like the characters on The Big Bang Theory, I was like…that can’t be….awwww. This is where we were introduced to the epicness that is Indiana Jones, and he didn’t really make a difference? Oh well, it’s still the most exciting and adventuring flick in a long time. It’s still one of the first we think of when we think of the best films of all time. So there’s that.

You don’t get characters like Indiana Jones anymore. His character is…for better or worse…a superhero of sorts. He has a costume with an alias, he has moral responsibilities, and he is one of the most selfless of heroes doing what he’s doing for all the right reasons. Nowadays, we are introduced to comic book heroes, nothing new. We fell in love with this character, completely from the minds of a filmmaker – now that’s special. If we could only get another epic film about a character we’ve never heard of…I’m on board. Unfortunately, those are far and few between.

This film is cheesy, and I mean the purest of cheese out there. It feels classic, but it also has a lot of different things you can make fun of at the same time. The thing is, for some weird reason, that cheese feels so good on the character. There are these cartoon-like montages, or maybe silent film-like montages where the characters are all running back and forth with little more than music playing, and it’s awesome. It feels like it fits, it feels like Indy, and I think a modern audience would really appreciate it.

However, here’s the point I want to stress: the film works through a plot that a huge majority of people will be able to connect with. We have something straight out of the Bible, or…Old Testament, rather. Everyone knows about the Ten Commandments; everyone should also know about the Ark of the Covenant. When people hear the plot, I can’t see them thinking anything but…that’s cool, if not awesome. It’s a plot that you can relate to headed up by a character that you can love. That’s important, because later on, this idea will come up later.

Anyways, Harrison Ford is perfect for the role with his smart mouth and sarcastic comebacks. In a way, Iron Man did the same kind of thing, except Indiana Jones wasn’t egotistical, he was modest, and a perfect role model all around. Preservation isn’t a theme used often in film, and it works very well here.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Ark is truly one of the best films ever made. This introduction to a well-known and well-loved character had just the right amount of action, adventure, and humor to deserve sequel or two.

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