I don’t know why I wanted to rewatch it for the billionth time; it just felt right. I needed to start off this decade with a killer bang.
Remember back in the day when numerous characters in most blockbuster extravaganzas had special, distinct makes? Back when adventure films could have subtle, little moments that told you all you needed to know about certain individuals in order to conserve time? Back when even fun, action flicks had at least a creative, alert construction surrounding its foundation.
There’s a specific scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark that I always refer back to as the type of moment in blockbuster cinema that you rarely see today; this being when the perverted Belloq makes Marion put on a dress. It’s an ingenious sequence that takes its time to casually show Marion upping Belloq in a masculine tournament of drinking while she cleverly attempts to pick up a knife half-intoxicated. For the time being, we don’t know whether or not she’ll be able to escape using it—and ultimately, she doesn’t. But in the end, it didn’t matter, and sometimes it doesn’t need to matter; sometimes the events we see on screen only need to keep us invested, on-edge, and informed of the type of characters we’re dealing with regardless of its dismaying conclusions.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those films I guess you could coin with the term “timeless.” It’s a movie that has—for the most part—aged like fine wine. It was established during a period when Spielberg, Lucas, Kaufman, and Kasdan where at the peak of their careers and their abilities seemed to be unstoppable. The first of the Indiana Jones flicks always stood as the metaphorical epitome of an adventure; the top-tier personification of one’s life at its most daring and most animated. This is another one of those early cinematic pieces that identified the paramount concept of an unforgettable journey and for the search of one of existence’s biggest mysteries.
And it can’t go without mentioning, again, but Marion Ravenwood is perhaps the most underrated side-kick character of all-time. She’s sassy, authoritative, sexy, caring, intelligent, a “productive” killer, and someone who’ll pridefully take on a dangerous crusade despite an unpleasant circumstance involving a haunted past of adolescence. I hate how David Koepp made her such a bland act in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s such a disservice to arguably the greatest performer of this entire franchise.
I still think (more than ever) that there are some distasteful technical and script-oriented flaws in a little more than the entire first half of Raiders, but yeah, everything after it: perfection—and duh.
Verdict Change: A+ —> A
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is now available to stream on Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes.