THE LATE LATE REVIEW: INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Tom Tilzey has missed out on A LOT of motion pictures and music albums. Now, he’s playing catch up.

We’ve all got that friend who hasn’t seen *anything*. The classics. The movie masterpieces that are the reason for The Academy Awards existence. The films that provided the quotes and references that are now part of humanity. They just passed them by. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they haven’t heard anything either. Those albums that inspired every album made since? Nope. The studio albums that are so packed with quality they’re like a Best Of in their own right? They have not been in their ears.

Well our friend is now yours – meet Tom:

“I’m making an attempt to crawl out from under the rock which I’ve been living beneath my entire life, and I’m taking you along with me for the journey. I’ll be catching up on all of the popular culture mammoths I’ve missed in favour of superhero movies, and the same albums I’ve been listening to since I was a teenager.

I’m always interested to see whether other people agree with me, so chuck your opinions on how wrong I am in the comments.”

And for Tom’s first late late review, it’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. (I know, I know, how has he not..? Every single bank holiday… Yep. Well not him, clearly.) Over to Tom.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Release Date: 1981 — long enough ago that I really should have seen it by now.

Awards: Nominated for a pretty impressive 9 Academy Awards, and took home the Oscar on 5 of them, including Best Art Direction, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects (more on that later…).

Rating: This is a popular film. It has an 8.5/10 from IMDb, 85% from Metacritic and a whopping 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. No pressure.

I refuse to believe that I’m the only one who hasn’t seen this film, so if like me this one has passed you by, here’s the premise: a dashing archaeologist has to race the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant, a powerful weapon which could make the difference and turn the tides of WWII (and if somehow news of that has passed you by, even this article won’t help you…). Our hero has to face impossible odds, men with guns and his main phobia – snakes. 

I would like to preface this by noting that while I haven’t seen the movie before, I have been to Disney World, and I’ve seen the show so I have technically seen some of the scenes — but I couldn’t have told you the plot… With that said, I got excited when I realised that this is the one with the massive ball! Honestly though, if the show at Disney World did anything, it was to make me believe the ball had a MUCH bigger part. That was a pretty early anti-climax for me.

Before this goes any further, can we talk about how you could easily believe that the set designers on The Crystal Maze could totally have been the same people who designed this movie? Seriously, throw Harrison Ford into the Aztec Zone and tell me he doesn’t get traumatic flashbacks. I also can’t help but be fascinated by the leaps and bounds that visual effects have taken. The fact that this won the Oscar for Visual Effects is astounding, although I’m sure they were a technical marvel at the time. That said, the melting face was cool, even if a little disturbing.

Indy is quite the suave character, isn’t he? I can barely walk up the stairs and get a sentence out; he can fight 18.6 people at once and manage a witty retort. Impressive. You’re lying to yourself if you think you aren’t one of the girls in his archaeology class by the way – I don’t believe that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, isn’t into Harrison Ford in this movie.

I will say that I’m not sure I liked Indy’s Clark Kent vibe when he was teaching at the university. For all of about three minutes, Indy is a bookish nerd who doesn’t seem capable of saying boo to a goose. Having just seen him swinging across a ravine using his whip, evading booby traps like a pro and even managing some sarcastic dialogue with the corpse of a backstabbing assistant, it pulled me out of the story for a bit. If we all had a different personality for our day jobs, the office Christmas party would be an even weirder experience. Based on the number of adventures Indy has, there also seems to be a market for his unique skills – maybe he could find a way to monetise this and quit his (slightly hard to believe) day job.

I didn’t cope well when Indy first meets Love Interest (I’ve forgotten her name). They both became pretty wooden – and she sobers up insanely quickly. I wonder if she writes down tips or a recipe for a magical smoothie anywhere? People would pay for things like that… I will say that I’ve been spoiled by movies where the woman is just a little bit more than a damsel in distress, so seeing her get into all kinds of sticky situations and needing him to rescue her is more than a little frustrating, especially when she’s badass with a gun and seems to be able to hold her own in a fight in other parts of the movie.

It has to be said though, this movie is bloody good fun. You can see why the movie was followed up with so many sequels (which it goes without saying that I haven’t seen — my boyfriend, who said I had to watch this film, has informed me that Raiders was followed by two more films, and a third that should be ignored… I’ll take his word for it), and why Indiana Jones is still a pop-culture figure. The film was bonkers, but actually followed a fairly easy story line and had enough moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It has to be said, Indy adventuring over sand dunes with that tune brought a proper smile to my face.

Overall, I’d absolutely recommend this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it. Yes, there are bits which don’t read as well these days, but the movie is almost 40 – and I challenge you to show me a film of a similar age which has aged perfectly. This gets a solid 7.5/10 for me.

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

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