Raiders of the Lost Ark Reviews
Although the production design and musical score is astounding and the action is mildly fun, the utter cheesiness and multitude of coincidences don't hold up.
Come at me.
Another one of its talents is its appearance and feel. It looks remarkably vintage and sharp with its handsome characters and pristine period costumes, but its also wild and rugged with its dusty adventures and stunning locales. The escape from the jungle tomb, the bar fight in the mountains of Nepal and the unearthing of the Ark in the desert are all iconic scenes that are thrilling and dripping with spectacle. Every shot is illuminated by the glow of a striking sunset or by burly flames closing in. The cinematography, production design, lighting, etc are all incredible. It feels like a tomb raiding movie should, full of adventure and relentless energy in the pursuit of the Ark. The music by John Williams embellishes the film with even more power and suspense. The sound effects are amazing, every punch and crack of the whip landing with a bang. By the end of the movie, you will be exhausted from the whole experience.
The performances are just awesome and Indiana Jones is surprisingly the most compelling too. First of all, Jones has a raw charisma that is rare and Ford plays him almost perfectly, creating an enduring and iconic figure. Jones is a walking paradox. He's an archeologist, who are supposed to be dull, cautious and dweeby, but Indiana is explosive, charming and full of life. He's a grave robber that's well educated and goes on these adventures for the museum rather than the money. He's really smart and really passionate about what he's interested in. Of course its fun to watch Indiana fight and run and crack his whip, but he's also a very human, relatable person. He's dorky, he cares about the history and he can be outmatched both intellectually and physically.
The romance, sexual tension and unresolved history between the two leads is outstanding. His kissing scene with Marion was great, an amusing way to showcase their budding, tenuous relationship. Marion is assertive and vivacious and gives a very strong performance that I really enjoyed. Even the villains in this movie are thoroughly satisfying, as distinguished Nazis and an arrogant, but very human rival archeologist. He is clever and well-mannered, but vulnerable too. The manner in which the film unravels and reveals information is intriguing too and the narrative is amazingly paced between moments of thoughtful discovery and violent, compelling action.
The underlying mystical power present in the film is also very interesting. Indiana is a man of science and study, who believes in facts and has an incredible thirst for knowledge. Like Han Solo, he doesn't believe in higher powers and this furthers the story. With all the conflict in the film, the main conflict in the story is actually Indiana's inner struggle. It is a clash of knowledge, scientific vs spiritual. In every film, Indiana happens upon things that science can't explain and have unexplainable power. And every time, Indiana is humbled by a mighty spiritual presence. The idea that there are some things man wasn't meant to conquer or understand is a central one. 't makes it all the more interesting when Belloch talks about good and evil, how he is a shadow and Indiana should turn to the dark side. Also Marcus Brody foreshadows that death surrounds the Ark and Indiana doesn't believe him, but comes to understand that. The thunder during Indiana's dig and the spirits exploding from the Ark at the end further that point. Raiders of the Lost Ark is just plain awesome not only for its action and intelligence, but for its deeper search as well.
Thrilling action sequences and colorful characters make Raiders of the Lost Ark a classic on almost every level, and it is terrific Spielbergian entertainment.