Saturday, October 17, 2015

AFI Top 100, #60: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)

Movie Stats:
Released 1981 (USA)
American, in English (plus several other languages, some translated, some not)
Director - Steven Spielberg
Stars - Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

Plot Summary:
Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones (Ford), an archaeologist and adventurer, is drawn into a quest to find the Ark of the Covenant. Allen co-stars as Indy’s friend and love interest, Marion Ravenwood.

Fairly graphic violence; implied sexy times; blue language.

Bad Stuff:
I mean, I know they’re Nazis, but the bad guys are such caricatures that the only reason they don’t twirl their mustaches is because they don’t have them to twirl. It’s pretty over-the-top.

Every Indiana Jones movie has a moment, a moment where I can no longer suspend my disbelief, where I have to roll my eyes and think to myself, “Oh, come on now, that’s just too ridiculous to believe.” In this one, it’s the [SPOILER I guess] traitor monkey [SPOILER]. So embarrassingly stupid.

Good Stuff:
It’s so much fun!

It’s funny. These films all have great dialogue (my personal favorite is Last Crusade, wonderful banter, and excellent chemistry between Ford and Connery).

It’s got great pacing. Starts you out with action, slows it down a bit for some exposition, and then it’s off to the races. It never feels slow or boring, just moves on from one thrill to the next.

The Verdict:
Have you ever met a person who doesn’t like at least one of the Indiana Jones movies? I haven’t. They’re popular for a reason: they’re a high-charged, entertaining romps around the world that we all wish we could go on at least once in our lives. The character of Indy is relatable, I think, because he’s a mix between an everyman and a Renaissance Man. He’s got both book smarts and common sense, he’s strong, he’s handsome, he can fight, he knows how to do random stuff, but unlike the IMO dreadfully boring Superman, he also makes mistakes. What’s not to like? While this isn’t my favorite Indiana Jones flick (see above), it’s a damn fine film.

I give it 4.25 stars.


Patricia said...

Fun fact: The first time I watched this was in Sunday School. We had an interesting Sunday School teacher that year and he tangentially related the Ark to Sunday School teachings. We had to get permission to stay later so we could see the entire movie.

I liked Last Crusade best too, but I don't think I've seen it since it came out.

balyien said...

It's been a long time since I've seen Last Crusade, although we own it. Maybe now that things aren't quite so busy writing-wise, I'll re-watch it. Very cool that you saw Raiders at Sunday School! That never would have happened at my childhood church. The first time I ever saw Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was in my HS World History course. One of my fellow students convinced our teacher to show it to us, although I'll never understand how he did it, because that teacher was a notorious hard ass. He seemed to enjoy it though.