Sunday, July 24, 2016

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) #reviews

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

The first time I encountered anything about this film was via my then best friend Evan, when we were both six. There were collectible sticker books and he had one for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was very envious of him because he came from the US and had all the Star Wars figurines.

So, yes, my viewing of this film is very much mired in nostalgia for my childhood, and it formed part of my mission to watch all the Indiana Jones films in a set.

Raiders is the first of the Indiana Jones films and shows Indy going up against the best movie villains ever – the Nazis. The film draws on the Nazi fascination with the occult, and in this scenario the McGuffin is the fabled Ark of the Covenant that has been lost for millennia. That is, until the Nazis cotton on to the fact that it may have been buried in Egypt.

Indy does what Indy does best, and embarks on a treasure hunt that leads him to the rather fabulous Marion Ravenwood (the daughter of one his archaeologist buddies) and the two set off to Egypt to hunt for the treasure. Of course the ominous Nazi colonel is hot on their heels and Indy and co. enjoy a series of narrow squeaks in typical Indy fashion, aided and abetted by his somewhat eclectic friends.

There aren't many strong female characters in this film. There is Marion. But she's hardly the Damsel, which makes up for it. (But I can already hear the SJWs winding themselves up into a frothy.) But I like Marion. She punches hard. She's clever. She's tough. She's capable. From time to time she *does* need rescuing but then again, Indy's constantly getting into scrapes himself.

Everyone gets their just deserts, and typically, those who are greedy and overly ambitious in a selfish fashion come off second best. In the end. Cultural representations remain simplistic as per Hollywood but then again, don't forget the era within which this film was made, when being PC wasn't exactly high up on producers' agendas. We had quite a lively discussion about the problematic elements in the film – and whether shoehorning representation now would be forced or not – but in the end I agree to leave the film be for what it is. This is a swashbuckling, tongue-in-cheek action film and it's fun. (And it's most certainly inspired video games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted.) I watch films like this because I want to be entertained. Overthinking it ruins the enjoyment, and the devil alone knows there's enough BS in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment