Raiders of the Lost Ark

by Alan Rapp on May 19, 2008

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • IMDB: link

“Snakes.  Why does it always have to be snakes?”

raiders-of-the-lost-ark

We meet Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in the jungles of South America.  He survives the traps of the temple only to loose his prize (a golden Aztec idol) to a rival archaeologist, Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman).

The first sequence, involving traps, spikes, a very larger boulder, poison darts, and a tribe of natives, tells us everything we need to know about the character.  His intelligence, his knowledge, his adventurous spirit, and humor are all on display, as is the fact that this is a hero who doesn’t always win.  Only the later scene involving a swordsman on the streets of Cairo is more memorable.

On returning to the States Dr. Jones is hired by the US Government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazi’s can unearth it.  His adventure will include being reunited with an old flame (Karen Allen), racing against time for the prize, surviving being trapped in a pit full of snakes, and stowing away on a Nazi submarine.  And that’s just a few of the adventures packed into the film’s two-hour running time.

Much like Star Wars, George Lucas developed the idea from the Saturday serials of the 1930’s and 40’s, and with the help of Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan, put together a film that still ranks as a favorite of many movie-goers (currently it ranks #17 on IMDb’s Top 250).  Though technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since the film’s release in 1981, it remains as vibrant and as enjoyable today as the first time I saw it on the big screen.

Over the years there have been many imitators to Raiders including the likes of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, and The Mummy series (among others).  Yet none of them reach the level of success of Raiders.  The film would go on to inspire sequels, comics, and a prime-time television show about the early adventures of Indiana Jones, but it’s here that the hero provides us with his most memorable adventure.

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