Get your history books out and archaeologist thinking caps on because it’s time to review Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Directed by the legendary film maker Stephen Spielberg (Jaws, E.T., Saving Private Ryan) comes a tail of exploration, education, action, and mystery.
The film follows history professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he races around the world to retrieve ancient artifacts for museums to prevent other explorers from finding them just to sell to the highest bidder. In this story, Jones is asked by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis discover it. Will he be able to find it in time? And what are the consequences of opening the Ark?
When you think about lists for classic blockbuster films this must be at the top of that list. What makes this a great film is the story, the acting, and the practical effects that were used in making the set pieces. Set pieces now a days have become CGI stages that don’t give you that “awe” factor anymore. When watching this movie, everything you see is a tangible thing that you could touch. It makes the viewing experience ten times better because you can feel the actual distress caused by the real traps or action sequences. This is the reason why the movie won 4 Oscars (Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Effects/Visual Effects). This film also has one of the best opening sequences in movie history as Indiana retrieves the golden idol. It’s so well shot and the set piece for it is outstanding. It really sets the tone of the movie and gets you acclimated to the titular character. On top of that, the acting by Harrison Ford and the other actors is phenomenal. To go from Star Wars to this was such a smart move by Ford. He’ll be forever remembered as Indiana Jones, Hans Solo and Jack Ryan (for all the Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games fans out there).
I really wish movies today kept this classic feel. Unfortunately, with the evolution of technology, we continue to move further away from the use of practical effects that made older movies so special. Those movies have a very special place in my heart as a cinema fan. This film is so memorable because it immediately draws you into the story and makes you want to support a character that you barely know. Plus, you get to watch him beat up Nazis and that is pretty satisfying to watch. This movie will always be a classic. If you haven’t watched it, do it now! Well, maybe not immediately, but set some time aside and watch it on a Friday night with the family. You won’t regret it.
Rating: 5 out of 5