Monday, 28 May 2012

Raiders of the Lost Ark Commentary

We've all seen it.  So the question is, is it worth seeing again?

I need to start out by saying that I am not a Harrison Ford fan.  I don't think he's a very good actor and he always seems exasperated and angry when the scene doesn't call for it.  One of the reasons the Indiana Jones movies are so good is that Indy finds himself in such perilous and tiresome situations that Ford's exasperation and anger are often warranted (for example, the "I can't deal with you and your sword so I'll just shoot you shot - that's one of the most priceless movie moments of all time).  Either the role perfectly suits him or he's constantly trying to recapture lightning in a bottle in all of his subsequent roles.  In any case, it works here.

Another reason this movie is so good is that it's timeless.  The legend of the fate of Ark of the Covenant is 3000 years in the making and will always capture our imagination.  Also, we will always see Nazis as incredibly evil so the villains will also always be relevant to our own set of ideals.

Finally, Raiders of the Lost Ark is just out and out a great action movie.  They go to exotic locales and engage in well-spaced out action sequences that are brilliantly choreographed and shot.  The fight in the Nepalese bar, the fist fight by the Nazi airplane, the chase through the market street.  These are all fantastic scenes that, while they may be done in an older style, it's done so well that it's still fun to watch 30 years later.  In fact, I really like the way Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made the film to really feel more like a film that was 40 years older than it was.  Because most of us only have film to find out what the World War II era was like, we tend to get more of a sense of authenticity in the melodramatic actions of Indy and the rest of the cast.  It's ironic because I'm pretty sure that film in the 30s to 50s was less of an accurate reflection of society than it is today.  Nevertheless, it makes it better to watch and adds to the longevity of the whole franchise.

As I said before, you've seen it already (or likely have anyways).  But this one is always rewatchable.  So see it again.  But have some friends over.  Indiana Jones movies are always better in a group.

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