Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Duh-duh-DUH-duh! Duh-duh-duuuuuuh! Duh-duh-duh-DUH! Duh-duh-DUH! DUH! DUH! Duh-duh-DUH-duh! Duh-duh-duuuuuuh! Duh-duh-DEE-dah-duh-DEE-dah-duh-DEE-dah-duh-DEE-duh-duh-duh (dee-duh-duh-duh).

You can totally sing the theme reading that. Don’t lie.

'cause it's a really drab font.
I bet you don’t remember THIS font from the title. I bet you remember the one from the poster.

Rather famously (infamously), I went from enjoying this movie when it first came out to just totally losing my suspension of disbelief in one scene: Indy’s sub ride. He gets on top of the sub to go somewhere (he doesn’t know where). And on DDGing (my new verb for web searching) it, I discover that the topic was apparently broached on “The Big Bang Theory”. (They ripped me off!)

See, if the sub dives, you’re dead. And why wouldn’t the sub dive? (They’re actually yelling “Dive! Dive!” in German.) In the original script, they put the periscope up and he ties his whip to that. Still. All they’d have to do is go deeper for a few minutes and he’d be toast.

It’s the sort of thing you do if you know you’re the hero and can’t die.

I was impressed, on seeing this again, at how short that sub ride is. Doesn’t negate my point, but it loomed so prominently in my mind—I thought that they crossed the Atlantic—that it was funny to see that they were in the Mediterranean the whole time. It didn’t offend me so much this time.

Wait, what?
It’s okay! It turns out the water only goes up to your knee anyway!

On the other hand, I’m at a loss (and the kids were, too) to distinguish this so strongly from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I asked them afterwards which they preferred and they couldn’t really answer. I still think ToD edges it out for me, because—eh, I’m not sure. They both have a nice comic-book “Weird Tales” vibe.

The idea that either needed a new rating is a little silly, in my opinion. The violence is so comic booky.

Karen Allen and Harrison Ford have a nice chemistry. And Allen is less screamy than Mrs. Spielberg. I guess the second one is both broader in humor and in “drama”.

Sometimes I think, for all his inability to act, Harrison Ford basically made Spielberg and Lucas. (He got a lot better as an actor, too, which is always nice to see.) He definitely has charisma, and is probably the only guy in 40 years who could pull off the “lovable rogue” bit so iconically. I mean, hell, he is the only guy who’s pulled it off and become an icon. (Bruce Willis, maybe?)

In an action film!
A great love scene.

I mean, seriously, Hollywood seemed to churn these guys out at some point. And there are still actors doing the parts serviceably well. But…could you tell them apart?

Anyway. It’s a decent flick. Good acting in the bit parts from relative unknowns like John Rhys-Davies, Alfred Molina and Paul Freeman. Some good suspense. A lot of silliness. A lot of things that seemed positively gripping at the time that are mostly impressive now for their competence. Climbing under the truck, I noticed this time that they had dug the road out so that Indy could fit under there. But still, someone had to keep that truck out of that trench.

We find the practical effects more impressive now than we did at the time, which may be a kind of irony.

Sort of amusingly, between these kinds of movies and stuff like The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde, the kids are really getting an appreciation for Spielberg and Lucas’ effect on the movie biz.

We're all coyotes now.
It’s like life: Full of hard choices that you’ll think you’ve made correctly only to have a giant boulder squash you.

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