Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Ronald Lacey and Wolf Kahler.
The archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by the US government to track down the Ark of the Covenant in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Nazis.
Before he was dealing with aliens, before he was drinking from the cup of Christ and before he was saving kids for angry heart ripper-outers, he was looking for the Ark of the Covenant in what many claim to still be his best adventure.
Often thought to be Steven Spielberg’s biggest blockbuster hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark is heading into IMAX for a one week run with a beautiful new shiny look, improved sound and bigger experience. And let me tell you, it’s an experience alright.
Let’s get the slight negatives out of the way first. Despite what IMAX and Paramount will tell you, this is not a perfect transfer and re-mastering. At times (especially in establishing shots) the film looks VHS quality and at others it looks like you’re watching a 3D movie without the glasses. But for a good 85% of the movie, it looks great. I’m sure the Blu-Rays will look better after not being stretched over the monster screen, but at times the poor quality in IMAX mode can be off putting. Having said that, this film is over 30 years old, so we shouldn’t really have been expecting miracles. While it may sound like I’m being negative, they have done a good job.
The sound is a different matter. Aside from being incredibly loud, it’s beautifully re-mastered and sounds superb. That iconic Indy theme sounds amazing over the huge speakers and genuinely makes the whole cinema shake. When Indy is running away from the giant boulder it really took me back into my seat. Don’t think it’s all hype, this is a very immersive format to watch films on.
As for the film itself, what else is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Raiders of the Lost Ark is an absolute masterpiece in action and adventure filmmaking. With stunning settings, great action and wonderfully likeable characters, this film will always stay high on the list of greatest movies of the genre as well as Spielberg’s resume. The wonderfully told story wraps you in from the opening moments and never lets go of its tight grip. Just as one thrilling action scene ends, another one begins in an awesome roller coaster ride. Even if you think that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is better, you can’t deny the genius of Raiders.
And that’s where the brilliance of the film lies. Despite my slight negativity about the quality at times, it doesn’t really matter. This is a great story well told and with superb acting to boot. This is probably the best of all the iconic Harrison Ford roles and you can just see from the expression on his well chiselled face that he is loving every second of being Indiana Jones. Marion Ravenwood is one of the most likeable female leads to grace the genre and Belloq is the perfect antagonist. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie that ticks every box with gusto and is simply one of the most exciting films ever made.
But the big question is – should you go out of your way to see it? After all, the movie is on TV all the time, you can pick it up on DVD quite cheaply and the Blu-Ray will be out next month. The short answer is ‘yes’. The longer answer is ‘yes, you really, really should’. If you’ve seen the film a hundred times before, I guarantee you’ve never seen it like this and if it’s your first time, then strap yourselves in because this is a film that has had top men working on it. Top men.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.