Raiders of the Lost Ark Movie Review
In the movie, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg artfully blends action and adventure with the classic witty banter that seems to follow the globe-trotting Indiana Jones(Harrison Ford) wherever he goes. Spielberg creates an adventurous wonderland for his audience to explore and constantly finds ways to include amusing dialog and biting comebacks from Jones. There is never a dull moment in this masterpiece that Spielberg has skillfully crafted to accomplish his childhood dreams of showing the Nazis who’s boss and exploring a world full of significant archeological finds.
This movie is chock full of action right from the very beginning, as Indiana Jones is exploring a booby-trapped cave in hopes of finding an ape-like idol and procuring it for his friend Brody(Denholm Elliot) back in the states. Jones keeps his cool as fatal obstacles are thrust in his direction left and right. He deftly evades all of the traps until the very end when he releases a humongous boulder and begins a death-defying run back into the jungle where he is met with yet another obstacle as Belloq(Paul Freeman) takes the idol from him with the help of a native tribe. This scene is filled to the brim with action and excitement, and nearly overwhelms the reader with its constant metamorphosis of events. We then follow Jones to Nepal in search of a pendant that holds the key to finding the Ark. There we meet Marion(Karen Allen)who decides to tag along with Indiana in hopes of adventure. Here we also have our first run-in with Toht(Ronald Lacey), a nazi henchman working with Belloq, where he unsuccessfully tries to pilfer the pendant from Marion and is branded with the hot metal pendant. This constant turning of events keeps the audience enthralled as they wait at the edge of their seats for the final outcome of Indiana and Marion’s fight with Toht. Spielberg also weaves in many small bits of symbolism and humor into Indiana's dialog as well as with the way he shoots each scene, this allows the audience to experience a better understanding of Indiana’s attitude surrounding each situation he is placed into.
While the bulk of this movie is filled with fight scenes and other deadly predicaments, Spielberg still finds a way to include multiple instances of foreshadowing and other meaningful bits of information. When Jones first enters the idol’s cave in the jungle the scene is shot at a downward angle implying that the main character is in danger and possibly a bit overwhelmed, which he certainly is as he narrowly escapes certain death at the hands of numerous booby-traps, a giant boulder, and the betrayal of his partner. Once Jones escapes we learn that he has a mild fear of snakes as he is met with his pilot's pet python, this small piece of information foreshadows his harrowing experience in the well of souls where he and Marion’s are faced with hundreds of dangerous snakes. During this scene, the track Escape From the Temple plays as Jones is fleeing from the boulder and adds to the suspense as he brushes with death. This forces the audience to feel the same fear that Indiana Jones is showing in the temple. After he travels back to Washington, government officials task Jone’s with procuring the Ark of the Covenant and he rushes home to pack in anticipation of the adventure that is sure to follow in his quest. In the scene where Indiana Jones is exuberantly packing for his next expedition with his friend and colleague Brody, he says, “Besides you know what a cautious fellow I am”, as he carelessly tosses a gun into his partially packed bag. This instance adds to the character development of Jones as it shows his fearless demeanor as well as his deft situational humor. There is an abundance of symbolism in this movie, such as when the nazi emblem is supernaturally burned off of the Ark’s shipping container, this event also precedes the supernatural burning of the Nazis at the opening of the Ark. The burning of the emblem can be seen as foreshadowing the events of the Ark opening ceremony. At the end of the movie Spielberg uses a bird’s eye view to portray the insignificance of the Ark in relation to the thousands of other Top Secret artifacts the government is hoarding in their storage facilities. Clearly, Spielberg's cinematography and witty dialog allows us to better understand the story and the characters within it.
In the end, I would rate this movie a 9/10, while it is a fantastic movie filled with action and adventure. I thought that Marion’s character was slightly underdeveloped and the submarine scene was rushed, but other than that the cinematography and storyline kept me on the edge of my seat. The story was wonderfully illustrated through the soundtrack, special effects as well as excellent casting. As you can see, this movie is worth watching and is worthy of the praise and fame it receives.