Monday, December 10, 2007

Raiders of the Lost Ark

It won four Oscars and was nominated for four more, one of Steven Spielberg’s most memorable movies, it is Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this movie audiences are first introduced to the character of Indiana Jones, an archeology professor who happens to have a more interesting night life than most. He typically spends his free time chasing down ancient artifacts from heavily guarded ancient structures, and usually barely making it out with his life. Everyone knows who Indiana Jones is, he is one of the most memorable fictional characters in film and he also has his own show at Disney. In this film Indiana Jones heads off to Egypt to find the lost ark (which supposedly contains the power of God) and also to prevent the Nazis from finding this treasure. Along the way he meets up with an ex-girlfriend, the daughter of his mentor – Marion, and an old friend from Egypt, Sallah; while Marion was mostly there to provide a clue and to be saved, Sallah was Indy’s guide around Egypt. The plot was outlined in the beginning of the movie when Indiana is talking to army officials about what the Nazi’s could want with the archeological site in Egypt, he explains that they want to find the headpiece of staff of Ra because they want to use it to open the Well of Souls, located in the lost city of Tanis, which supposedly contains the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Of course in order to get into the Well of Souls one would have to figure out exactly how high the staff would need to be, attach the headpiece to it, figure out exactly what time of day the light would shine on the headpiece so that it would show one where the well of souls would be (it shines conveniently on a map that is on the ground in the “Map Room”).

All together Raiders of the Lost Ark has all the trappings of a great American film, it has a larger than life main character who is as strong as he is intelligent, a complex plot that leaves plenty of room for outrageous stunts, and a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. Although it should be said that Indiana Jones is humanized a bit when it is revealed that he is afraid of snakes (so of course the Well of Souls is covered with them) and the movie isn’t pure mindless action, there are some snide comments made about the current culture. Most notably bureaucracy – when the Lost Ark is placed in a wooden crate, marked top secret, and placed in a giant warehouse full of identical crates. Raiders is a fun watch and perfect for a rainy Friday night in.

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