Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Although Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most well-known films of the 1980's, I've actually never seen the entire film until now (I tended to get bored before). But after watching it in its entirety, it is easy to see why this film, the beginning of the trilogy, became the definitive action-adventure film for the next twenty-five years, and many films that came after it are obviously heavily influenced by it.
Steven Spielberg's film offers everything you would expect from this type of movie: intrigue, exotic locales, numerous obstacles for the hero to overcome. The famous opening sequence alone is enough to draw the viewers in with the numerous difficulties that Jones has to face and humbly overcomes. The film also offers a likable female heroine and love interest for Jones in Marian, who is strong-willed but still attractive and relies on Jones. Spielberg's direction is smooth and clear in the way it travels from one location or adventure to another, and the famous music is an important part of the film.
Harrison Ford's portrayal of Jones makes him a likable, human character. Other aspects of his character emphasize his humanity, rather than his heroism, like his fear of snakes. The film also makes sure to establish that Jones is first and foremost a professor, as shown early in the film, and the viewers never forget this as we watch Jones in his various adventures. This makes him easier to relate to and also a more endearing and interesting character, since the two aspects of his personality, his professor side and his adventurous side, are stark contrasts.
The fact that this film takes place in the 1930's and that its main villains are Nazis makes the villains easily loathsome by the audience, since the audience already views them in a negative light. I think that this setup is almost too easy with the stock Nazi villains. Also, the stereotype portrayal of the Middle Eastern characters seems somewhat dated and strange compared to recent events.
However, Spielberg makes this a mostly entertaining and engaging film as we watch Jones in his adventures and the creative ways in which he gets himself out of trouble (though the fact that he was able to crawl out from under a moving vehicle unscathed was pretty unbelievable). Watching this film shows the huge impact that it had on the action-adventure films that followed, none of which have been able to live up to the pure adventure and unlikely heroism of this film.
Watch the trailer (and more) at these sites:
Posted by April at 2:58 PM