Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★

For many years I've been aware of all the critical cliches regarding Raiders of the Lost Ark - that it's a perfect synthesis and re-evocation of pulp fiction, cliffhanger serials, and adventure comics - without having enough firsthand knowledge on the subject to do anything but just accept them at face value (kind of like people do when the claim is made that Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy is "just like" the original comic strip - not true, incidentally). But now, after a year or two of ensconcing myself in those worlds (with a lot more ensconcing left to do, trust me), I can say that those cliches about this movie are 100% accurate - painted pulp fiction covers come to unbelievable life thanks to top-notch stunt work and special effects, and the best part is that there's no attempt to replicate, say, shoddy acting or subpar visuals as in a lot of genre pastiches. These are believable people who happen to live in a world where spikes shoot out of walls and God kills Nazis.

I've seen this movie probably half a dozen times but seeing a print on the big screen took me back to the first. Some of the best action sequences ever buoyed by strangely subtle humor and Harrison Ford - the legends are true, this stuff can melt faces.

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