Featured: You Haven’t Seen… Raiders Of The Lost Ark?!?
Well, here we are again. It’s taken way too long but now I’m back. From outer space. Okay, obviously not but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say that.
So, it’s probably a given by now but I had not seen ROTLA until the day I wrote this article. I’d seen both of the sequels and had the misfortune of watching Crystal Skull for my podcast (BlokeBusters), but until today I’d never seen the film which sparked the franchise. I’ve seen parody after parody, visited the stunt spectacular at Disney World and even made references to it. But today I finally watched the source material. Today I got to see Indy on his first cinematic adventure. What did I think? Well, you’re about to find out….
…after a little more set-up. My opinion of Indy before watching this film was that the character was fun and well played by Harrison Ford. Just the right amount of smugness and yet never the best *insert-skill-here* in the room. The side characters could get annoying (DR JONES!!!!!!!) and the films were full of cliches (the Stormtrooper Training School graduates were everywhere!), but all-in-all they were a fun ride and always entertaining. And then I watched Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
I was not disappointed! The camp acting from the Nazis was sublime. The damsel-indistress was a force to be reckoned with (most of the time)! The side characters were actually fun! I’ll say that again. They were genuinely fun! The last time I actually enjoyed ALL of the side characters was in The Fifth Element. I felt invested in what Indy was doing, I wanted to see how he got out of the situations he got into. Obviously I knew he had to get out, but it was never an issue to me that I knew that. And I promise you that me saying that is a big deal.
It’s odd to come at this the way I have. I’ve seen the choices that they made going forward. I knew which aspects of his character changed down the line, which ones stayed the same. Imagine coming to The Matrix having seen both the sequels and The Animatrix first. You’re looking at the man who became God before he opens his eyes for the first time. I knew that the man I was watching was nick-named after his father’s dog. I knew about his alien encounter. I knew all about the magical fedora. And yet it wasn’t diminished at all for me. I enjoyed seeing the man before his adventures (though chronologically not true, in terms of filming I’m still right!) and his very rough fighting style. In many ways, I’m glad I saw this last. Wait, what?
Well, had I seen this first I probably wouldn’t have been overly interested in watching the sequels. True, I just said how much I enjoyed it but that’s because I was watching the origin of a franchise I’ve enjoyed. As a story, and especially the way it ends, I couldn’t get behind it. Without giving it away, the ending is VERY Deus-Ex-Machina and I have a real issue with it. It looks cool but felt as if the writers went “Wait, they’ve got to get away! Bugger. Ok, how about this…”, and that’s never good. In fact, I would have been far more interested had the Ark turned out to be a fake in the end and the ‘real’ Ark actually still out there.
But hey, that’s by-the-by. I’ve now finally seen the film that most people are shocked to hear I haven’t seen and probably enjoyed it a lot more than I would have had I watched it first. I hope you enjoyed my take on it, and I’m not going to be rating these watches due to… well…. I feel like I’d be lining myself up for a firing squad if I didn’t score “correctly”.
So everybody pop on your leather jacket, worn fedora and whip and let’s get out there and find us some history. Oh yeah, watch out for those snakes!