“Raiders” a timeless treasure

%22Raiders%22+a+timeless+treasure

Matthew Johnson

To say that the classic Action/Adventure film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” directed by Stephen
Spielberg still holds up nearly 40 years later would be an understatement.
For those that haven’t seen the hit film from 1981, the plot centers around Dr. Indiana
Jones (Harrison Ford), who is an archaeologist that is sent to Egypt in search of The Ark of The
Covenant, which is a wooden chest that is rumored to have the original stone tablets that
contain the Ten Commandments. However, Dr. Jones’ search for the religious artifact won’t be
all smooth sailing, with Jones having to be reunited with a former lover, Marion Ravenwood
(Karen Allen), and even having encounters with Nazis, who are searching for the ark in hopes
that it’ll make their armies invincible.
The film, and those that work on it, are a who’s who of the 1980’s film scene. With
Spielberg and Ford having already been mentioned, but the film also features the writing of
George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame, and the composing of John Williams. The best way to
describe the production of this film is to compare it to an all-star game, where everyone is doing
whatever they can to elevate the project to a higher level.
The writing, on the most basic level, is very enjoyable. Lucas’ biggest strength as a
writer is in his ability to create a world and get the viewer immersed in it, and that is abundant
here. From the opening scene of the movie, where Dr. Jones is inside a temple in the middle of
the jungle in Peru, all the way to the deserts of Cairo, Egypt, the viewer will feel the desire to
explore those areas. However, the writing ends up having a major plothole that has been
noticed by many people, that being that the outcome of the film would end up the exact same
regardless of if Dr. Jones and Marion were a part of it or not. It’s something that can potentially
ruin any replays, since the viewer is likely to notice this and wonder how things would’ve played
out a little differently.
The cinematography really shines, and helps immerse the viewer in the world as well.
Shots going through the Peru Jungle, the very famous “boulder chase” scene, and a
thunderstorm in the distance as the ark is opened all stand out as shots that are either beautiful,
suspenseful, or help influence the world building.
John Williams absolutely knocks his composition out of the park, creating many
memorable tunes that help heighten the emotions in the scene, and stay in the minds of viewers
even after the end credits. The main theme is an extremely catchy tune that makes the viewer
feel like they’re about to embark on an epic journey, and when small segments of it are played
after Dr. Jones triumphs over the Nazis, it makes his victory feel even more meaningful. Another
very memorable track is the one that plays when Dr. Jones uses a staff to find the location of
the ark. The orchestra makes this achievement feel even more impactful, not only on the plot of
the film, but also on the fictional career of Dr. Jones.
The acting ranges anywhere from decent to great. The two leads, Dr. Jones and Marion
Ravenwood both had great portrayals from their actors, with the two of them having on-screen
chemistry that is arguably the best of any two characters in a film that Harrison Ford stars in.
The two main antagonists, Arnold Ernst Toht (Ronald Lacy) and Dr. René Emile Belloq (Paul
Freeman) ranges in their portrayal of their characters. Both of the actors are of English descent,
but they are tasked with playing a German Gestapo Agent and a French Archaeologist
respectively. Paul Freeman pulls off a pretty convincing Frenchman, but Lacy’s German accent
definitely sounds off, like the viewer can tell that the actor isn’t German. However, on a positive
note, Lacy’s appearances are very intimidating, even making way for a joke that most viewers
might not see coming. Freeman pulls off the role of a rival for Dr. Jones very well, making the
viewer hate how the character acts in the story, that just helps the audience root for Dr. Jones
even more.
Raiders of the Lost Ark definitely still holds up as an entertaining, action-packed film
that’ll keep the audience on the edge of their seat through each and every of the 115 minutes.
The film can be found on Netflix, along with the other films in its series,
The Temple of Doom
(1984),
The Last Crusade
(1989), and
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(2008).