I love movies from the 80s there is something about them that just feels so pure and entertaining! One if these movies is Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) starring Harrison Ford and directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. After finding out that the Nazis are after The Ark of the Covenant Indiana Jones heads to Egypt to try and stop them.
Not going to lie, I never had an interest in Indiana Jones, I knew his theme song, I knew of the famous sword vs gun scene, but I honestly only sat down to watch this movie because this is one of Spielberg’s most popular films.
One thing that I liked in the beginning of the movie was how the characters were utilized and introduced. What I mean by this is the first scene when Indiana Jones steals the idol from the temple. His character introduction was great. When I think about it, the only reason why it was so good was because he had a partner. Indi was going through traps and finding things without breaking a sweat. But his partner was having a hard time maneuvering. I think this was on purpose. Indiana Jones’ partner, in the beginning, was supposed to be the audience reaction to Indi. That is why everything Indi did was so cool. I like how there was a little bit of irony played into the movie with India Jones and the snakes in the ground. I wish they played around with that more the same way that Spielberg played around with the irony of Grant being stuck with the kids in Jurassic Park (1993).
As a supporting character, I liked the way that Marion was introduced. It was cool to see that Indiana Jones and Marion had a background. It was also smart to give her a piece of the staff of Ra that way there is a little bit of motivation behind why Marion was on the adventure with Indi. This is something that is important because it is so easy to lose character motivation and just have people tag along for the hell of it. For example in Man of Steel (2013) Directed by Zack Snyder, Fauora just randomly points to Louis and tells us that General Zod needs her aboard the ship. But why is that important? It was a lazy way to get Clark’s love interest in danger.
Back to Indiana Jones, when it came to characters in this movie, it was weak when it came down to the antagonist. Yes, I understood that the Nazis wanted the Ark so that they could have ultimate power. But I just didn’t feel it, and part of it was because of how the action was portrayed. There were 3 main leaders. None of them I could remember their names. They were corny to me and that was just the thing, they were not memorable. Although the character Introduction for the guy with the tiny glasses and the hat was cool. The way the shadow was cast over Marion almost representing danger was cool. I feel like it was all over the place. One of them wanted Marion, the other wanted the ark, and then the other one was just always upset and ready to kill Indi. I think that the antagonist would have been more effective if it was just one person with all three of these things motivating him but most importantly wanting the power. Towards the middle, I didn’t like how they were tossing Marion around. After Indi finds out that Marion is not really dead. I felt like there was no more pressure. That no matter what happened everything would be ok.
The way that the movie jumped from setting to setting was also very creative. Its use of montage and world maps kept you interested and gave you an understanding of where the characters were. It didn’t just go from Nepal to smack cut to Egypt. What I noticed was how the camera established everything within the settings. Everything stuck to a wide angle and the takes were rather very long. That meant that there were a lot of interesting motivated movement between objects and characters. One of the most recognizable ones is when Indi is being hunted by the Germans in Cairo. One of the men in a suit stands at a window then walks inside a house revealing a handful of men ready to kill.
I cannot picture a movie like this in theaters, the movie all around felt different. It felt like the director took his time to make the movie. I think this mainly has to do with the long takes and wide shots because in doing so you have to make sure that everything is on point from costume to where a flower pot is sitting in a scene so the characters have space to move. But this kind of took a toll on the action scenes. The action felt very slow and when it came to fist fights felt very constructed like on a stage. I didn’t like this because I couldn’t feel the danger (part of the reasons why the antagonists were not so scary for me). Now keep in mind I am not talking about the scene where Indi had to climb under the truck to get over it. I’m talking about fist fights. Like at the bar and at the field with the Nazi plane. The wide shots would have looked better if they were better fighters.
In all, I think the movie was good. Maybe at the time it was a lot better and I could understand why a little bit. The character introductions were amazing But my biggest concerns with this movie was that the action could have been portrayed a little bit better, the motivation for the antagonist should have been more apparent, I also didn’t feel like anything really bad was going to happen to Indiana and I think that the main reason for this was because he didn’t suffer enough.
For me, I give the movie a solid 7.5/10. I was able to sit through it and it had my attention. The adventure was fun. Maybe if I was a bit younger it would have been a higher rating. But I still didn’t feel like I could get sucked into the world of Indiana Jones when it came to the action. And I also like it when movies have a little bit of a deeper more philosophical meaning to it. What I loved so much about the movie was its attention to detail and you can tell that this movie was not being rushed. That is one aspect of the movie that made it stand out from movies of today. I feel like they don’t take their time. Maybe it has to do with all the fast cuts to mask the lack of story. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark was good!