Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
-Indiana Jones

Even before anything actually happens in the film, or even before we've seen Indiana's face, you feel like you're watching something special just by the font of the opening credits. As ridiculous as that sounds I think it's true. As the letters appear superimposed over three characters we haven't met yet traipsing through a unidentified jungle, you can feel it in your gut that you're about to experience something fantastic. It's one of the rare films that made going to the movies a truly special experience.

The film is simply iconic. It's filled with iconic characters, iconic moments and even an iconic musical score. We've all heard the stories about the various actors considered not only for Indiana Jones but most of the supporting cast. The circumstances of most of the actors that were chosen seems so random that the film could have ended up with an entirely different cast if the wind would have blown South instead of North on a given day. With that said, the planets must of aligned because Raiders ended up with the perfect actor in each role.

Don't really have to say much about Harrison Ford's performance. He IS Indiana Jones. Picturing anyone else in the role completely changes the character. Karen Allen is fantastic playing an unconventional love interest for Jones. Her character wouldn't be half as memorable if it was played as a typical damsel in distress. Paul Freeman and John Rhys-Davies also give great character performances with Ron Lacey entering the ranks for creepiest cinema Nazis.

The action set pieces and stunt work of Raiders of the Lost Ark are stuff of legend now. I said in another review that good action movies don't just do the impossible, but they make the impossible seem possible and that's exactly what Raiders does. There isn't much Indiana Jones can't do, and if you think too much about it you realize some of the stuff is in fact impossible. During the film however, it comes off as totally plausible. It helps that when Indy goes through hell, it looks like he did when the dust settles.

It's basically why the genre "action/adventure" exists.

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