Raiders of the Lost Ark
The man with the hat looks for a radio to God... huh?
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 4th September, 2015
Another classic from the eighties that if you believe the rumours is just waiting to be ruined by a remake. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a perfect family rollercoaster of an adventure which is throw back to classic adventure serials. But how well does it hold up after over thirty years? Let's find out.
Indiana Jones after failing to recover an ancient idol, the government task him with recovering the lost Ark of Covenant. This leads him to an old girlfriend, Marion Ravenwood, to retrieve an old artifact that her father owned. Unfortunately Nazi spies have been following him and are also after the same piece. Indy and Marion escape, but only after her bar gets burnt to the ground, and one of the Nazi spies got an imprint of the artifact burnt into his hand.
Indy and Marion travel to Cairo where they meet with an old friend called Sallah, who has been paid to dig for the Nazis. Whilst in one of marketplaces, Marion appears to be killed by the Nazis, however this was just a ruse and was in fact kidnapped. Sallah helps Indy find someone to translate the markings of Marion's artifact. This allows them to locate a map room, which in conjuction with the artifact shows Indy where the Ark is. Sallah and his friends help Indy dig at night at the location is and break into a chamber called the Well of Souls. Covered in snakes, Indy and Sallah find then retrieve the Ark. However Indy is trapped in the Well of Souls by the Nazis along with Marion.
After breaking out, Indy recovers the Ark from the Nazis and takes it along with Marion on a ship back to America. On the way they are stopped by a German submarine and again Marion and the Ark are taken to a nearby island base. The Nazis travel to a point where they can open the Ark, where Indy is captured after bluffing to destroy the Ark. Indy and Marion are tied up as the Nazis open the Ark letting loose spirits that at first seems very magical, but turn deadly. Indy tells Marion shut her eyes as the spirits are set loose. Everyone dies (except for Indy & Marion) in a pretty gruesome death.
Indy ends up delivering the Ark back to the US government, being informed that the Ark is being studied by 'top men'.
What a film! This is the eighties at it's very best where films were just fun and weren't looking to be anything more than just good entertainment rather than a money making machine. The scenes are perfectly acted, there isn't a bad performance at all. Everyone seems to be working at there very best. Everything but the thin plot which is nothing more than an old fashioned adventure, but what it does do is entertain. It was made before a lot of cliches were established (the shooting of the swordman, has been done to death after this film), and so has a charm that you don't find in films these days. However as anyone that really examines the plot, and some of its sequels, it does have problems.
Now before I point out these plot issues I love this movie, I love it more than Star Wars (and I'm a huge Star Wars fan). But even I can admit that this film has problems (and don't get me started with plot issues with the original Star Wars!).
One major plot hole is that Indiana Jones actually didn't do anything in the film. If he had just stayed home and did nothing the outcome wouldn't have been any different, apart from Marion being in the USA in the end. He failed at every turn. If he hadn't got involved, the Nazis would have found the Ark and then taken it to the island where all the Nazis would have been killed. The only difference would have been the US government wouldn't have it stored in a big warehouse.
Another plot hole is that when Indy and Marion are trapped in the well of the souls, which was meant to be a city buried by the desert. Yet Indy finds a way out that convinently has a loose brick and is right next to a Nazi airfield. So the Nazis have spent all this time digging up the desert and didn't notice that there was a big brick wall next to the place where their planes are landing? A bit of plot convience if you ask me.
One other famous point is how did Indy get from the ship to the German submarine? How did Indy even stay with the submarine and get to the dock before the submarine did? There is no way anyone could survive if the submarine was fully submerged. Yet Indy manages it. Bit of a plot hole there!
One other thing, is how did Indy know to keep his eyes shut when the Nazis opened the Ark? This is something that I noticed when I was a kid, at first I thought there was a line of dialogue that told him this. But there isn't any reference at all to it! So how did he know and why didn't anyone else know to keep their eyes shut? And how did their ropes get untied as well? Are they saying that God decided that as Indy and Marion didn't have their eyes open that he will do them a favour and untie them? The ending just makes no sense!
Now I love this movie and will to the day I die. I find it funny and entertaining, but is it perfect? Hell no. There are plot holes galore (of which I understand mostly are explained by deleted scenes). And it even being voted number 2 in Empire magazine's greatest movie list just doesn't sit right, there are so many better films than this (the Godfather for example, but that was voted number 1 in the same list). But this is the film that also made Harrison Ford. Sure Star Wars made him well known, but Raiders of the Lost Ark made him a true film star. Everyone knew him outside of the Han Solo character, and so he didn't become typecast, unlike Mark Hamill unfortunately.
My main gripe is that they should never have made anymore Indiana Jones films. None of them ever got better. Temple of Doom was just too weird and dark, something that even Spielberg has admitted. The Last Crusade although was very entertaining and enjoyable, it felt more like a comedy rather than adventure. And Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... the less said about it the better, well it had a few good moments but paled in comparison to the any of the originals. The lesson to be learnt from the Indiana Jones franchise is don't make sequels or prequels (yes everyone forgets that Temple of Doom is in fact a prequel) unless the story has planned them in.
All in all this is a prime example of entertainment of the Eighties. A film that everyone should watch and experience.