Saturday, October 4, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Finally, Indy, we meet.

I've seen all of the sequels, but never the original that launched the Indiana Jones series in 1981. Thanks to an old VHS copy found at Value Village last weekend, I finally watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Special Edition), one of Harrison Ford's most well-known characters come to life.

The experience was disappointing.

As a huge fan of Buster Crabbe's Flash Gordon, I'm all for contemporary movies that are inspired by serials made in the 1930s.

But, boy, I wished I laughed more and found the action scenes more jaw dropping.

University archeology professor Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is tapped to find the Ark of the Covenant, a repository for the Ten Commandments.

It's 1936 and the American government learns Nazi Germany is keen to scoop up all kinds of religious relics. Jones is up against rival Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), a fellow archeologist who has opted to trade principles for profit.

Jones flies off to Nepal where he meets up with old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Her spirited performance is the film's highlight. Cairo is next, where Belloq and company are not quite in the right place to find said ark. Jones makes the right call. But the bad guys always seem to find out what he's up to.

Darts, rolling huge stones, fighter planes, snakes and a German sub (there's more), director Spielberg throws all kinds of obstacles in Indy's way. It's amazing what a little American ingenuity, a bullwhip and a handgun can do.

I'd advise not letting young ones watch this movie. The film's climax is awfully gruesome.

Internet Movie Database reports a fifth film featuring Indy is in the works. Ford is 72 now. I wonder how good that film will be.

RATING: 7/10

FUN FACTS: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Special Edition) won four Oscars, including visual effects and editing.

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