It’s difficult to review Indiana Jones with fresh eyes. It’s one of those iconic movies that almost everyone grew up watching over and over again. Once being the freshest movie of it’s time, it now has that classic cinema feel. When that transition happened is unclear, but watching it now it’s obvious that the iconic scenes seem to make us all forget that the movie is not exactly perfect.
While it gets more and more dated as time goes on, its faults also stand out more. For one, it drags a lot, continuing on longer than it probably needs to.
Perhaps its biggest issue is that the rest of the film is just trying to live up to that amazing first scene. In one of the most iconic openings in movie history, Indiana Jones is going through some booby-trapped temple in Peru to retrieve a golden idol. It’s exciting, it keeps us on the edge of our seats, and is still one of the most exhilarating sequences in any action film ever. Plot-wise, it has little-to-nothing to do with the rest of the story. It merely sets up who Indiana Jones is. Yet, throughout the film we never get anything really close to this type of scene again.
Luckily, it’s carried by a cool story and concept. As a society, we’re fascinated with the occult, so that aspect still holds up.
Set in 1936, Raiders of the Lost Ark follows Jones, played by Harrison Ford, as he’s hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get to it and utilize its suspected powers.
As much as we try, we just can’t ever imagine anyone else playing Indiana Jones. His dry humor and make-it-up-as-he-goes demeanor have always been able to make any dialogue sound cool, but give him a good script and he’s simply one-of-a-kind.
John Williams’ epic score matches the grandeur of what director Steven Spielberg had in mind. So even when things are a little slow, we’re able to forget it a little.
There’s no denying that Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most important movies of the New Hollywood era as its impact is still very much seen all over today’s cinema. Maybe it’s a good thing we only remember the good parts. Most of us have seen it so many times, we can just fast forward to them anyway.