Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★½

I deeply regret not showing this to my oldest daughter (now 16) earlier. For some reason, we never got around to it until last night. She was . . . underwhelmed. "It's too bad," she said, sticking a knife in my heart, "that it all seems so cliched now," an acknowledgement that, at one point, the film must have seemed fresh, but, to her, it didn't. She's seen it all before, in other films, or video games, or, garishly, at Disneyland.

Surprisingly to me, too, she was incredibly frustrated with Marion - at least, not with Marion herself, but with what the film did with her. In my own youth, I loved Marion - she was not a classically sexy or beautiful movie star; she was a woman who had a mind of her own and didn't mind saying so; a woman who could out-drink the biggest drinker at her bar (her bar!); a woman who ran, all out, just as fast as Indiana across the tarmac to escape a gas explosion; a woman who seemed to be the opposite of all those swooning college girls. She seemed to me, then, an equal to Indiana Jones.
But for my daughter, no; these things weren't enough. She didn't see equality. "Why is she in a skimpy dress and then a nightgown for half the movie?" she wanted to know. "And why does she constantly need to be rescued?" She has a point. And I have to love that this younger generation sees things I was somehow blind to, in spite of my own feminism.

Still, there were things she loved about it: 1) The shooting of the knife-wielder, 2) The opening scene, 3) The truck chase scene, and, most especially, 4) The music. So. There's some magic there at least.

I do love Raiders - I always will - but this experience has tempered my love for it some, and I'm feeling somewhat forlorn. Perhaps a big screen repertory screening will recapture me at some point. (We streamed it last night - and it looked pretty bad. Another mistake, not to find a good print to watch.) For now though, in what has been that unspoken battle for "Favorite Spielberg" in my mind, Raiders or Jaws?, Jaws is it. And that one, for the record, has my daughter's - as well as my post-millennial students (when I showed it to them last year) - complete adoration.

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