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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Raiders Of The Lost Ark: 1981

   What can you say about Indiana Jones?  He's one of the most recognized icons of the action/adventure film genre!  Women want him, just as much as men want to become him.  He's the epitome of masculinity, lives a very classy home-life, and atop that, he's a collage professor with his own PhD!  In my opinion, Indiana Jones was film director Steven Spielberg's greatest creation.  And, here I am now, a mere 30 years after the first film was released to talk about all of them.  Yes, even that one that proved that if a refrigerator is lead-lined you can survive an atomic blast while inside it.  Welcome to my reviews of...The Indiana Jones franchise!  First on the list:  Raiders of the Lost Ark!

  Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is about an Archaeologist/Doctor named Henry Jones Jr. ('Indiana' is more of an alias), who goes on expeditions in order to retrieve ancient historical artifacts and put them in museums.  The artifact he is searching for in this film is from Jewish religious history called , "The Ark of the Covenant," which the film explains as the chest the Hebrew used to carry around the Ten Commandments with.  However, in order to keep the film from becoming a religious documentary, Spielberg added some extra-fantasy elements to the realism of it.  The film explains further, that whoever carries the ark is invincible because they will have with them, "the destructive power of god."  So, the films revolves around the conflict between Indiana Jones finding the artifact before the villains do.  Who are the villains you might ask?  Why only the worst of the worst, Nazi's!

   It's kind of a match made in heaven.  A keeper of the past to preserve power is threatened by the very people that want to harness it for world domination!  I suppose that this way they thought that, instead of wasting time trying to get the viewer to hate the villain, they'd just make em' Natzi's!  Well, alrighty then.  There's really not much left to say about the villain in this film, only because they don't waste time on it.  These films never really were about character development (if you don't count the third and fourth film) and I think it should have stayed that way.  The villain is the villain because he's a Natzi.  The hero is the hero because he carry's a whip, and wears a fedora and leather jacket.  The damsel is the damsel because she is young, gets captured or is stuck in a dangerous situation.  Its massive appeal to most action/adventure going audiences.  It was simple, so it worked.

   Now I'm not going to spend an entire paragraph talking about Indiana Jones himself.  Instead lets start with our female lead, Marian.  Out of the two female leads in the three films, I think Marian is the best.  She's smart, pretty, gambles, strong, and can hold her liquor.  It really seems like a good match for her to be next to our hero, because they're very much the same.  You might be asking, "what about the whole, 'opposites attract' deal?"  Well, they did try doing something like that in the second film...and... I'll save that for the next review.

  The action sequences are the highlights of the Indiana Jones films.  It goes to show that Spielberg is the master of the action adventure genre.  In this Paragraph I'm going to count all of the action sequences.

1.  The South American Temple to retrieve an idol, and being chased by the giant boulder

The 'Indiana Jones' moves into, "Predator Stance"

   "Who put that boulder there?!"

2. Escaping from the Natives.

"Maybe if I'm real quiet, no one will notice the huge ripple of water giving me away."

3.  The fight inside Marian's tavern

 "I should get insurance on this place...y' case anything happens to it"

4.  The fight outside of the town where Salah lives

"Maybe if I do that thing I saw in, 'The Matrix," I could dodge the bullet..."

5.  Marian and Jones in the snake pit

"Snakes...Why'd it have to be snakes...?"

6.  The fight around the plane with the turret

Indiana Jones Vs. German Muscle...Fight!

If you give a girl a turret, then she will go insane

7.  Jones on horseback hijacking the truck with the Ark in it

"It's surprising how many other action films rip this scene off" 

8.  The Ark unleashes its powers

"That's the biggest math problem I've ever seen in my life..."

   Anyway, that concludes my review of the first Indiana Jones film.  It really is a masterpiece of film making, and you wonder how such a simple premise could be so involving.  This is probably the best of the three films, and it really does show.  The quality of the sets are amazing, and there is as much care put into them as a Star Wars set.  I even think that George Lucas had some influence on the architecture, instead of simply the witting.  Well, that about does it, and I intend to go through all of these films, analyzing and evaluating as I go.  I'm looking forward to my next review of, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!"

Watch the Trailer
Next Review:  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  1984


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