Classic Film Kid: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Classic Film Kid: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Hello, yet again, from the Classic Film Kid! After my step into TV last time, we’re getting into some classic films again, and today it’s none other than Harrison Ford’s action lead, Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In this, professor and archaeologist Indiana Jones is hired by the government to find what is believed to hold the 10 commandments: the ancient religious treasure, the Ark of the Covenant. However, the adventure quickly turns grisly, as Hitler’s dangerous Nazis are in on the game, and it becomes a globe trotting escapade of survival and desperation.

Now this is probably going to be becoming a bit repetitive, and believe me, it is for me, but man, these classics are just so bloomin’ good I have to talk praise about them. And Raiders of the Lost Ark is yet another riveting action-adventure movie that I had a blast watching. What I really loved about this movie is that the storyline lends to action. The Nazis want the Ark of the Covenant, and so does Indy, and he will do anything to get it. This plot lends to action, as our hero is pretty much on a race against time, with hardly a second to stop, so there is always adrenaline pumping through your veins and you want the hero to succeed.

This leads me to talk about the action scenes. They are pitch-perfect. Combining well-timed stunt work, booby traps, vehicles, and great comic timing, the action scenes are great and entertaining to watch. It’s especially entertaining when we have the, what I like to call, ‘the comeback moment’ where the hero is getting punched and kicked to a pulp, and then he gets back up and kills his enemy, set to some awesome music by the ever-great John Williams. Very cool to watch, them moments.

Anyway, let’s move on to the characters. The main guy, adventurer, archaeologist and professor Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford.
His character is interesting to watch by the fact he’s just a regular guy. He is sent to retrieve valuable artefact’s due to his profession as an archaeologist, but these other people are making it difficult for him, so he must defend himself and get out of any situations he needs just to get the job done, so you sympathise with him and you want him to retrieve it.

Then there’s the main sidekick and Indy’s ex-lover, Marion. At first, she comes across as a bit of an idiot. She’s constantly complaining to Indy in their first scene, saying ‘Oh, you left me, you owed me this, blah blah blah’, and then it doesn’t get any better when she turns into a damsel in distress, but in the second half, she does become a likeable and reliable companion to our hero. She does remind me of a Bond girl in a lot of ways, she does have them exaggerated feminine Bond characteristics, and since I am a James Bond fan, I do like her character considerably.

However, the main highlight of this film for me is the master that is John Williams, and his flawless music. I touched upon this briefly when I talked about the action scenes, but the music fits the film so well you almost forget you’re watching a film. The way the music perfectly punctuates the mood of every scene to a T is just masterful, I can’t put my finger on it, it just does it. The swirling violins, booming drums, orchestral stabs and accents, is great music on its own. Put it to this movie and you get an experience like no other.

I also really enjoy the villainous characters in this movie. They’re not the best villains in history, but their very over-dramatic and enthusiastic performances do suit their characters (what does that say about the Nazis then), they have a good deal of menace and terror, and their overly gory ending is just refreshing to watch.

Speaking of the ending, this is where my biggest flaw with the movie comes in. I’ve heard a lot of people say this and I can’t help but agree: Indy does nothing in the climax. He does try, but the Nazis get the Ark, they open it, and then God makes all hell break loose on the Nazis. He shoots out energy from the Ark, which burns the Nazis through, the main villains get their heads and bodies melted in a brief bloodbath, and then the Ark closes of its own accord, all while Indy and Marion are tied to a pole helpless. And let’s not forget the infamous word of advice, ‘GO WITH ME AND KEEP YOUR EYES SHUT!’.

Raiders of the Lost Ark does have a couple of flaws. Our main sidekick takes a while to be likeable and our hero fails to do his main objective leaving a revenge-filled Ark to do it for him. But with iconic and unforgettable action scenes, a compelling story, and one of John Williams’s most masterful compositions, these flaws are pretty much forgiven as you go along with an extremely fun and nail-biting ride that deservedly went down in movie history.

So for this, Raiders of the Lost Ark gets a 9/10. I know it may seem weird that I’m not giving these classic films 10/10, but I’m just being really critical. Maybe that 10/10 will come, one day.

Once again, I thank you all for reading this latest blog, but for the next couple of reviews, we won’t be talking about films that became classics. I’ll be talking about films that will become them in the future, as I review the British unique zombie movie, The Girl With All The Gifts, and the Swiss-French Claymation, My Life as a Courgette (or Zucchini, depending on where you’re from). I’m not sure which one I’ll do first though, I’ll probably toss a coin on that. But enough blabbing from me, see you all next time!

Alex Paine

Alex Paine started reviewing films on the site IntoFilm when he was 9, but now his forte is classic films and TV on the wonderful site The Geek Show. He puts his opinions into detailed reviews with plenty of geeky banter on the side. And in terms of classic films, he has seen some of the greats. Although he still hasn't watched Citizen Kane. Or any of the Godfather films. Or The Shawshank Redemption. Or Apocalypse Now. Or - Let's just say he has a lot more work to do.

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