Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★

I blame The Mummy.

I never had a great affection for this film, and it remains as distant to me as ever. It was Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade that made me Indy fans. I mean, this is a well executed popcorn flick that doesn't really do anything wrong, and I grew up wondering about the Ark and adoring similar serials (Sunday School and Tintin were big components of my childhood), but that element of Raiders which has won the hearts of so many has always eluded me. I'd put this in the same basket as North by Northwest, a pure entertainment that never particularly grabbed me. As far as blockbuster cinema goes, this is an undeniable classic and worthy of acclaim. J. J. Abrams will never make a film anywhere near this good. But, whilst I can understand what people gravitate to in this, I can't help but feel lost in the face of its intense and all pervasive fan adoration.

Part of me wants to blame The Mummy (1999), which was an instant favourite for me on release when I was 10yo. That film (which is clearly inspired by Raiders in many respects) may have taken the dear place in my childhood that was meant for Raiders all along. Not that The Mummy is a better film at all, nor has aged any better, but it arrived at the time in my life when Raiders is best situated to sear your soul, and so whilst I moved on from The Mummy fairly quickly, it nevertheless will always hold a place in my heart which Raiders never will. I only caught up with Raiders around the time I turned 17, and whilst Temple of Doom bypassed this late start to become an instant hit with my siblings and I, whenever I have seen Raiders I'm often left reeling by my inability to be swept up by it. Then again, I've always been unorthodox when it comes to Spielberg (I seriously think that War of the Worlds is his best film to date), so this should come as no real surprise to anyone. Raiders obviously deserves props for establishing the Indy brand so well and with a minimum of fuss, but subjectively I've never fallen for its charms (outside of a few sequences).

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