As soon as I found out that Raiders of the Lost Ark was being re-released, and in IMAX too, I knew I was going. It was simple. Raiders and JAWS, are my favourite films of all time, and having seen JAWS on the big screen earlier this year, there was no question that I was going to see Raiders the way it was meant to be seen. Although I have seen this film hundreds of times, it has been my favourite film since before I can remember, I have never seen it like this before, and it was so worth it. First released in 1981, the year I was born, Raiders of the Lost Ark is simply the greatest action movie ever made. There is no need for any other words on the matter… but indulge me anyway.
The IMAX, is in many ways, the perfect way to watch a movie. The sound is amazingly crisp and booming, the picture unparalleled and the overall experience in quite simply breathtaking. When you add one of the best movies ever made to the mix, you really have something very special indeed. As I said above, it was very much like seeing Raiders for the first time, and as such, it left a very great impression on me. I’m sure you have all seen the film, if you haven’t, what the hell are you doing reading this website? You know Harrison Ford is the coolest guy around when he’s Indy, I can think of very few castings that are this perfect, but Indy is Ford, Ford is Indy, he was never Han Solo when I was growing up, he was always Dr Jones, Han Solo didn’t sit quite right with me. What was Indy doing in space? Now I know Star Wars came before Indy, but not for me, I saw Indy first, that’s just the way it went. Raiders is the perfect melding of genius idea (thanks George Lucas), perfect casting, and a director who at the time could do no wrong. The film is a monument to the magic of the movies, and is in my opinion the finest 2 hours of escapism ever committed to celluloid.
The film never lets up. From a barnstorming opening, and lets face it, probably the best opening scene in any film ever, the film simply never slows down. The opening scene alone ramps up the danger, excitement and tension to 11, and then turns it to 12 just for the hell of it. Ford plays Indy as a cocky asshole at times, but whenever he gets a bit to cocksure, a huge boulder or a tribe of Indians bring him right back to earth. The whole opening is a work of art, and should be studied at film schools, and normal schools, by everyone everywhere, because it is just that perfect. It made archaeology the coolest profession on earth, and is mostly responsible, along with Jason and the Argonauts, for my love and degree in Ancient History. I was soon to learn however that studying archaeology was not quite as sexy and exciting as the adventures of Dr. Henry Jones Jnr. and you were far more likely to discover an old bit of pottery than you were to dodge traps, escape Nazi’s and cop off with Marion Ravenwood.
Lets talk about Marion Ravenwood for a bit shall we? Now in my opinion, she is not the most attractive Indy girl, that honour goes to the nefarious Dr. Elsa Schneider from Last Crusade. However, Marion is clearly the sexiest Indy girl, what can I say, I’m a sucker for a woman with a strong personality who can kick ass and take care of herself. Marion is a perfect foil for Indy, and I must say that even though The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull was shit, it was cool to see these guys finally get it together at the end. There are so many things that are great about Raiders, the little things can get easily forgotten. The monkey doing a Nazi Salute, the improvised shooting, the wonderful score by John Williams, the perfect McGuffin, the most evil of baddies, the whip, the hat, the truck chase.
Oh the truck chase. An ode to the stunt work done in Stagecoach, the truck chase is a peerless stunt spectacle, it is truly the best stunt work I have ever seen, and it was all done for real. I love Ford playing Indy in an almost spiteful way, his punishing the nazi soldier by doing to him, what the soldier did to Indy, just perfect. It shows Indy as a rough and tumble adventurer, very much ‘making it up’ as he goes along.
Have I made it clear how much I love this film yet? Good. I’m glad. If you haven’t seen it. GO SEE IT IN IMAX. If you have seen it. GO SEE IT IN IMAX. You will not regret it. Promise. See you next week.