Thursday, September 15, 2011

Movie Rant: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

It's hard to believe Raiders of the Lost Ark is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year. Nevermind the fact that I was still three years away from even being born -- the film is so classic and so timeless that it feels like it very easily could have been made today. With limited use of special effects, it's an action-adventure with a dash of the supernatural.

My parents first showed me this film when I was about six or seven years old. It was pretty much love at first sight -- I even watched the Young Indiana Jones television series just to get my daily Indy fix. I basically wanted to be Indiana Jones (I still do).

At an early age it instilled in me both a love for film and a passion for history (which I wound up majoring in while in university). I continue to watch this film annually with my younger sister -- I can't even venture a guess as to how many millions of times we've watched Raiders over and over again through the years. And each and every time I'm amazed how well it has stood the test of time.

Most film fans have lists and lists of artsy movies they credit as their "all time favourite film." I usually say mine is The Godfather when I'm asked, but if I'm being completely honest, it's probably actually Raiders of the Lost Ark -- or the third film in the original trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

A few years back I had the opportunity to see Raiders at a screening at a really, really old theatre near Hamilton. It was such a treat to see it on the big screen. You know how people can quote movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show word for word? Well, I can do that with Raiders.

A video has been circulating the Twitterverse of a recent Q&A session Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg held in Los Angeles to celebrate the anniversary. Unfortunately, the videos can't be embedded, but you can listen to some of the audio from the YouTube video below.

I wish I could have been there!

Question: What is your favourite scene from all four of the Indiana Jones films?


  1. Urgh... this is so tough to choose...

    Raiders: For sheer stuntwork, I have to say the Truck Chase. But for memorability's sake I'd also have to say the scene where Indy shoots the swordsman.

    Temple of Doom: The whole bridge scene. "Mola Ram... prepare to meet Kali! In HELL!"

    Last Crusade: The grail cave. Just shows how much of a seasoned treasure hunter yet respectable thinker Indiana Jones is.

    Crystal Skull: This arguably had the least memorable moments (good ones anyhow), though as a whole I feel the movie was at least decent. I have to say I loved the dialogue in this one though; the stuff between Indy and Marion was especially great. Now if only they used less CGI... (despite that, I actually LIKED the alien concept.)

  2. Raiders: As much as I love that truck chase, the swordsman and the giant ball ...I have to go with the finale. It was such an eerie thing to watch as a kid. All those Nazis and ghosty things. Blah. lol.

    Temple: I don't think I have a favourite scene. I don't watch this film. I've only seen it a grand total of three times, which is nothing. I've seen Crystal Skull more often!

    Last Crusade: Yes! The Grail cave! "Choose wisely." But I also love when he rescues his dad from the Nazis the first time. "Junior?! It is you, Junior!"

    Crystal Skulls: Yeah, definitely too much CGI. I knew they would have aliens simply because of the Mayan connection and, surprisingly, it didn't bother me too much (although it reeked of Lucas' influence). I loved the motorcycle/car chase involving Indy and Mutt near the beginning. Very old-school.

  3. Temple of Doom's probably my least favourite Indy film as well. It's really the characters that bug me; the only one I like in it is Indy himself!

  4. I also have to agree on the end of Raiders- nowadays I can watch it just fine, but back in the day that scene was only second to Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit in terms of scary scenes from when I was a kid.

  5. Exactly. I still don't understand how Kate Capshaw got that role (unless she was already sleeping with Spielberg before filming). And that kid from The Goonies was super irritating. Back to Capshaw, though. That role is so jarring considering it came after the rough-and-tough Marian in the first film!

    As for Roger Rabbit ...I don't think I've ever seen that! lol

  6. I was 11 when I saw this on it's release on the big screen! For me it is still by far the best of the 4 and one of those films that plays repeatedly on telly. Suffice to say I watch it everytime.
    Favorite scene? I have always liked the Eygptian dig scene where Indy finds the chamber he uses the staff in. The whole 'history' resonance of that scene is right up my alley as a history lover.

  7. You are so right!!!! How could I have forgotten that scene! I take back my original answer. haha.

  8. I highly recommend Roger Rabbit.

    As weird as this is going to sound... it's a REALLY good film noir. A twisted and often funny film noir, but a film noir nonetheless. It's dark and full of adult humour, which is surprising for a film featuring cartoon characters.