Title: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Notable Actor: Harrison Ford
Just look at that movie poster. Is there really anything left to be said? What could be better than the promise of manly men, beautiful women, gold-tinged religion, exotic swords, big snakes and the perfect villains: Nazis. Indeed, this movie provides almost a time capsule of my childhood, so it is hard to make sure I am being fair in grading it since I can't view it nostalgia-free. But really, I am not sure I should. A movie is tied to the time it was made in and the surrounding events of the viewers' lives. However, Indiana Jones is able to stand on its own, separate from my own delightful memories of watching it with my family.
There are many reasons why Indiana Jones is a great movie (many of which I have already mentioned being shown off in the poster), not the least of which is its triumphant and enduring score. This score was provided by the legendary John Williams, who also did Jaws, Star Wars, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, Fiddler on the Roof and Harry Potter - just to name a few. I can't even describe to you how much I love his work. Please, go listen to the theme from Schindler's List: http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yYikshdLcw&feature=related. Beautiful, isn't it. Anyway, having Williams as part of your movie team always helps, and in this movie he was able to create a theme that pronounced high adventure and triumph as Indie goes racing through a cave, trying to out run a huge boulder (that he perhaps could have avoided by simply ducking before it had rolled down the ramp).
True to any action movie I have ever seen, Indiana Jones demands a willing suspension of disbelief. At times, this film might draw a little too heavily from this - for example, the snakes never biting Indie or Marion Ravenwood, his love of the film - but all in all it does not demand without rewarding, which makes this a worthwhile action movie.
Beyond these points, Indiana Jones really delivers. It gives the audience a reassuring presentation of pure evil. Who could feel bad that a group of Nazi soldiers (which the viewers are constantly reminded as the Nazi flag is slapped on anything and everything from the video camera to really random places that they visit) get wiped out in the middle of nowhere. Now, why did they have to take it off of the boat in order to open it up? And even if they did, why did they have to go there? Why not just open it up on dry land right next to the submarine? But these questions, and others like them, merely add to the wonderful flavor that is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is what will keep me coming back for more - that and the fact that it is just a perfectly entertaining movie.
Surprisingly, I really like how this movie ends. It is one thing that I had not remembered about this movie, which I hadn't seen for at least six years. If you haven't seen it yet, or don't remember. Indie leaves infuriated because he knows the government is locking away his discovery. Then, the movie switches to a man slowly pushing what one presumes to be the ark into a long, long row of other, similarly marked boxes.
This is such an interesting idea, and, when I turned to my dad and said, perhaps a little too giddily, do you think they really have something like that? He quickly responded, "The Smithsonian." which made me think of the Louvre or the National Gallery of Art. I know that they have way too much to display at any given time, but does anyone get to enjoy the art they have boxed away? What if they have forgotten about a beautiful piece! It kills me, but maybe one day I will be able to see in the basements of the world's greatest museums. Until next time; go enjoy some art!