Raiders of the Lost Ark Reviews
opinion, one of the five best action movies ever made (the others? Die Hard, Terminator 2, The Matrix, and the entire Lord of the Rings
trilogy). This movie has it all: a smart story (Hitler actually was
looking for the Ark in the 1930's), rich characters, memorable
villains, scares, amazing sets, iconic music, solid comedy, a likable and unsentimental romance, fascinating mythology, and some of the greatest stunt/action sequences ever filmed (the opening and the truck chase stand out in particular).
Raiders also benefits from the best leading lady in the series. As
Marion Ravenwood, Karen Allen displays a tomboyish charm, spunk, and an unwillingness to simply be a damsel-in-distress. Case in point: when locked in the cockpit of a grounded bomber, she calls for Indiana's help for a few seconds, then decides to kill some time and some Nazis by manning the machine gun! The scene where she kisses Indy's wounds, which in another movie would be sexualized, is here very tender. Marion is resourceful, smart, and tough, making her the only love interest in the series who is Indy's perfect match.
As Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford completely inhabits the character,
creating a man who is both an academic and an adventurer. He's a bit of a scoundrel but also cares about people. Most importantly, he was an action hero who was self-deprecating and imperfect. Up until that point the James Bonds, the John Waynes, and the Clint Eastwoods were all extremely macho "men's men," more prone to giving beatings than taking them. Even though Indiana Jones is tough and intelligent, he's constantly being outsmarted and out-punched. You know he'll win in the end, but usually he'll have to dig deep and use all of his ingenuity, physicality, and luck to to pull it out at the last second. Though John McClane and other heroes have followed the same template, Dr. Jones is the original and the best. * * * * * (out of five)
While I do believe that the ending climax feels a bit rushed, this is still a wonderfully entertaining love letter to old action serials of the 30s and 40s. It's hard to dislike this movie to be honest. Sure you can pick it apart, but you'll be enjoying yourself too much to want to do such a thing.
With a perfectly cast Harrison Ford in the title role and some of the most entertaining thrills in recent memory, Raiders of the Lost Ark successfully launches one of the most iconic franchises of all time.
This is the one that starts with Indy in Peru, raiding an over-grown temple to fetch an idol - a scene that has since become the basis for many a sketch (such as in 'The Simpsons'), before going back to academia where he is recruited to search for the lost Ark of the Covenant before Hitler gets his hands on it.
It's also the one that ends with *that* Warehouse scene (of the Ark being boxed up and filed away), which has also been copied many a times since (most noticeably, and most recently, in SyFy's channel's 'Warehouse 13').