Thursday, September 29, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

[Sorry George and Steven - for most of my generation, this movie will always be "Raiders of the Lost Ark", not "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark"]
Synopsis: Swashbuckling grave robber Indiana Jones romances old flame and takes more lickin’s than a Timex watch in search of holy McGuffin.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Chapter 24 in the complete adventures of Indiana Jones has more heroics than you can crack a bullwhip at!” [Wait – you mean I have to watch the first 23 “chapters” of that Young Indiana Jones show before I can enjoy this movie?!? Will I be able to follow what’s going on??!]

What Did I Learn?: Indy’s not a very nice guy. He had a chance to save Marian, and chose instead to leave her tied up. Rather than Belloq, hard liquor and a fancy white dress, she might have faced an evening of torture.

You Might Like This Movie If: You’ve always been interested in ancient history; not enough to actually read a book or two, but interested.

Really?: 1) As a trained archaeologist and Indiana Jones’ equal (the guy actually learned to speak the Hovito language), wouldn’t Belloq have known not to look at the Ark after it had been opened? 2) How did Indy and Marian get off the Greek island at the end? Didn’t the Germans have a huge submarine base there? 3) What exactly was Indy and Sallah’s plan to bring the Ark back to Cairo if civilization was three weeks of desert in every direction and the Nazi dig was just next door?

Rating: Wow – has it really been 30 years since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released? I loved this movie as a kid, and probably viewed it well in excess of 100 times between 1981 and 1995(?). I hadn’t watched Raiders in years, but it provided no surprises except one: it struck me that the plot didn’t make a lot of sense except as a setup for one action scene after another. Even the “talking” parts were peppered with gags, as though Spielberg and Lucas didn’t trust their audience to stay interested when shit wasn’t blowing up. 6.5/10 stars.

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