Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.
Let me start by saying that I love this film. So the criticisms that are about to follow are out of love, I promise.
All in all, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a fun film. It’s got action, adventure, romance,
mystery, and WWII Nazis that get their faces melted off (See Exhibit A). Ultimately, the problems that I have with this film boil down to, I think, my irritation of George Lucas as a person/filmmaker. Yes, I know, he did not direct this film. He’s merely story by, but still.
The most problematic thing in this whole film is the relationship between Indiana Jones and Marion. And, that is only because of the exchange that happens when they first see each other. Let me refresh your memory:
Indiana: Hello, Marion.
Marion: Indiana Jones. I always knew some day you’d come walking back through my door. I never doubted that. Something made it inevitable. So, what are you doing here in Nepal?
Indiana: I need one of the pieces your father collected
(MARION PUNCHES HIM RIGHT IN THE JAW)
Marion: I’ve learned to hate you in the last ten years!
Indiana: I never meant to hurt you.
Marion: I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it!
Indiana: You knew what you were doing.
Marion: Now I do. This is my place. Get out!
So many problematic things within this one exchange. I don’t want to dive too deep into it, but using context clues, we can all kind of figure out what might have happened between these two. Either way, Indiana Jones comes off looking hella creepy.
Sure, now they’re both adults and can have a relationship, but whatever it’s stemming from is not healthy.
Okay. I’ve gotten that out of the way. Now, on to my even bigger issue. Indiana Jones’ job is to find the Ark of the Covenant and stop the Nazi’s from getting it. THAT IS HIS ONLY JOB. Sure, it’s not really an easy job, but it’s still his only job. And he screws it up royally. First, he’s not as secret about the whole thing as he should be. Especially when he’s at the location he needs to be to use the pendant and he’s right across from where all the Nazi’s are currently digging. Also, back track, before that even happens, we discover that his aim with a gun may not actually be that great, considering most of the deaths that occur within Marion’s bar seem to be a result of the fire that is burning around them. At one point, he shoots logs off a fire, which ends up catching the guy who he was trying to shoot on fire. It’s like he’s a goddamn Stormtrooper. ANYWAY, the Nazi’s still manage to get the Ark, and literally everything that would have happened without Indiana Jones being there, STILL HAPPENED. They still got the Ark, they still opened it, and the Ark still killed everybody around once it was opened. Indiana Jones literally did nothing but help to speed up the process, as the Nazi’s were digging around in the wrong spot anyway. He ultimately helped them to kill themselves faster which, if you look at it that way, isn’t actually that horrible, I guess.
On another note, not story related, John Williams score definitely attributed to the success of this film. Or, at least the cultural impact of it. I mean, that shit is iconic. And, if you play the theme song when you’re doing really boring things, it makes them slightly less boring. Pro-tip. You’re welcome.
Spielberg’s directing is solid, as is the acting in the film. Absolutely no complaints there. Again, this all comes from love. The first time I saw Raiders, I was a kid and it was on one of my family’s Friday Family Movie Nights. Those were the Friday nights where my father would pick a movie to watch, and we’d set up blankets and pillows on the floor and bring in a bunch of snacks and watch the movie all together. Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the movies that was shown, and I loved it. I’ve loved it ever since. I think it’s because I’ve seen it so many times, that I feel okay criticizing it and pointing out its flaws.
One of these days, I plan on writing a post discussing all of the Indiana Jones films. Yes, that includes the lightly racist Temple of Doom and the ever horrible Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Hopefully, I’ll get around to sooner rather than later.
Have you seen Raiders of the Lost Ark? Are you an Indiana Jones fan? What’s your favorite out of the four? Let me know!