Monday, July 25, 2011

669. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Running Time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Main Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, Jonathan Rhys-Davies


Finally I return with the third installment of the "Spielberg Week" festivities, with another one that really just wasn't for me - "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Indiana Jones (Ford) is an archeology professor, who just so happens to turn into a super hero on the weekends. When the film opens, Jones is tracking down, an apparently valuable golden idol, only to have it stolen from him at the last minute, by his arch-rival Belloq (Freeman). We come to find that Jones often times goes out in search of rare artifacts, in an effort to procure them for a local museum. After the incredible opening scene of the film, we then get into the real plot, when two Army intelligence agents approach Jones and tell him that the Nazi's are trying to seek out the lost Ark of the Covenant (the vessel in which the original, broken stone tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed in). Indiana Jones informs the men that any Army that has the Ark of the Covenant is indestructible, because it possesses some kind of special power. Also, we're dealing with Nazi's because the movie takes place in 1936. Soon, Indy' is off on another adventure, stopping off in Nepal to meet up with an old colleague's daughter (Allen), to get a special piece he'll need in order to find the Ark.

This is the prime example of a film that just wasn't for me. This is not my type of film in the slightest. For starters, I hate films where the main character can magically turn into a superhero in a moment's notice and we never get an explanation for it. Why was Indiana Jones so damn invincible, I mean the guy was an archeology professor for God's sake. I know, I know, because it's fun and when we're dabbling in Funland, we don't need explanations, just cool effects, snakes and explosions. Secondly, I hate Harrison Ford. I've never seen the appeal of this guy and the only factor that I can attribute to his success, is the fact that he hitched his star to George Lucas' wagon and didn't let go.

Sure, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is fun to a certain extent. The opening sequence of Jones trotting through the cave, in an attempt to get the golden idol is a fantastic opening scene and provides a good hook, to grab the viewer and peak their interests. I loved the whole thing, right down to the giant boulder nearly crushing our hero. Beyond that, it slowly starts to lose it's appeal. Honestly, I think the film is just a little too complicated. The writers go into great detail to explain what the Ark of the Covenant is and why it's so powerful and why it must be obtained. It gets way to in depth, when really, with a movie such as this, a complicated plot is not a requirement. They should have told us as little as possible, because all the discussion about the history of the Ark, really took me out of the picture and did a lot in sapping out some of the fun.

I'm gonna' stop there, because it is not my intention to rip this film a new one. I GET the appeal of the film and I can understand why people for years have been "oogling" over it, but it's simply not for me and that's that.

RATING: 4.5/10 Well Spielberg is 1 for 2 and has another alien flick coming down the pike. If it's anything (quality wise) like his last alien flick, he's in dire straits, as far as appealing to my tastes.


July 25, 2011 2:43pm

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