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Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors & Actresses: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies
Producers: George Lucas, Frank Marshall, Howard Kazanjian, and Robert Watts. Paramount Pictures and Lucas Films
Release date: June 12, 1981
Awards: Nominated for 8 Academy Awards; won 4
Character names: Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood, Dr. René Belloq, Major Arnold Toht, Sallah
Summary: Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), an adventurous archeologist and college professor, is confronted by the United States government to hunt down an ancient relic: the Ark of the Covenant. Supposedly containing the original Ten Commandments, this holy artifact has untold powers. But there’s a catch-the Nazis are after the Ark, too. Jones must beat the Nazis, led by his arch nemesis Dr. Belloq (Paul Freeman), to the Ark, traveling Europe and the Middle East and reuniting with his former lover Marion (Karen Allen) in this action packed adventure.
Review:
Raiders of the Lost Ark places an intense, adventurous story into a historical timeline, mixing factual data with adrenaline-pumping thrills. The adventure begins from the very start of the movie, with Jones embarking on an archeological journey. Though the action scenes aren’t necessarily realistic, the early action helps reel in the viewer, keeping them hooked even through the quieter dialogue that follows. The story isn’t very intricate, but the relative simplicity of the mystery surrounding the Ark means that the viewer doesn’t need to be a history major to follow along. The brief twists and turns that Raiders does provide captivates the viewer and the non-stop action is perfect for anyone interested in the genre.
The culmination of the movie is an interesting interpretation of the power of the Ark- it’s a revolutionary scene, and it makes viewers question their own belief about the power of such artifacts. In the scene, the Ark is opened, and its holy power is released. Jones and Marion (Karen Allen) look away as the Ark melts off Major Arnold Toht’s (Ronald Lacey) face, while Dr. Belloq (Paul Freeman) explodes. Supposedly representing the power of God, this vicious scene with the Ark provides an exclamation point on the action and mystery of the movie. The technology involved in the scene is not very advanced, which actually makes the scene relatively funny, but it still has a sense of mystery and excitement that is present throughout the film. The movie’s dialogue is artificial and corny, and this probably wouldn’t be a good date movie if a couple isn’t both interested in adventure movies. The “emotional” exchanges between Jones and Marion seem very scripted; Marion’s lines like, “I was young and in love!” are a deep contrast to the mood of the rest of the movie, making them seem awkward and out of place.
Marion is an atypical female sidekick who provides little addition to the story but will intrigue the male viewers for her looks and her role as a female version of Jones. She isn’t a damsel in distress, which differs from the norm, but she’s very stereotypical in that she plays a secondary role to Jones and sexually flaunted in numerous scenes. Belloq is played well by Freeman, who gives a more comical and less serious counter-part to the evil of Toht, who also does a fair job in his role. Belloq is supposed to be the equivalent to Jones, a “shadow” of him. He’s not involved in the action scenes as much as Jones, but he has the same sly sense of humor and is also attracted to Marion. He is the villain viewers will love to hate; along with Toht, his appearances blend feelings of suspense and fear with some comic dialogue that lightens the mood.
Final Thoughts: Raiders doesn’t have much depth, but the excitement makes the movie worth watching.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars



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