Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Review
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Back in the late ‘70s, when Steven Spielberg agreed to create a low-budget action movie with his friend, George Lucas, he had no idea that the fast-talking, hat-wearing, snake-hating Indiana Jones would soon become an icon. But now, more than a quarter-century later, as fans of all ages eagerly anticipate the release of the fourth Indiana Jones movie, Indy is just as iconic as ever.

It all started with Raiders of the Lost Ark (now known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark). Harrison Ford stars as the famed professor and archaeologist Jones who, in 1936, is sent to Cairo to find the long-lost Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on it and use its power to conquer the world. In order to find the Ark, however, Indy needs the help of his old mentor—so he travels to Nepal to try to find him. There, Indy discovers that his mentor has died—leaving Indy at the mercy of his mentor’s daughter, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), who also happens to be his bitter ex-girlfriend.

  
 
Marion decides to join Indy on his quest, and the two head to Cairo, where they’ll have to face Nazis, swordsmen, venomous snakes, and Indy’s arch nemesis, Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), in order to recover the Ark.

From its famous opening scene in South America to its gruesome Ark-opening ceremony, Raiders of the Lost Ark is nearly non-stop action—and as soon as Indy wriggles his way out of one ugly situation, he finds himself knee-deep in the next. Whether he’s escaping a burning airplane or wading through a pit full of snakes, he does it with flair—and a cheeky one-liner.

But while any Indy fan can give you a long list of the things that make Raiders of the Lost Ark such a great movie—the action, the adventure, the humor—it all comes down the man. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford playing Indy—and if Tom Selleck hadn’t backed out in order to shoot his TV series, Magnum, P. I., Raiders may not have been the success that it was (and still is). Because Ford’s Indy is a real guy. He loves adventure. He loves excitement. He loves to get his hands dirty. He loves the ladies (and they love him right back). But, at the same time, he’s human. He has his fears and his foibles, and things don’t always go his way. Not only that, but Ford is a brilliant improviser—which led to some of the best lines (and most entertaining moments) in the movie.

To add to the film’s charm, Allen’s Marion makes the perfect companion for the easy-going Indy. She’s tough and smart, and she won’t put up with his crap. And, unlike most action-movie leading ladies, Marion is more than just a pretty face and a strong, shrieking pair of lungs.

Together, the two give Raiders of the Lost Ark that extra something. Together—with a little help from Spielberg, Lucas, and writer Lawrence Kasdan—they turned just another action B-movie into a beloved classic—one that deserves a spot in any DVD collection.


DVD Review:
In anticipation of the theatrical release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Paramount has released Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection, a three-disc set that includes the first three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade) plus a pile of extras. On the Raiders disc, for instance, there are storyboards and galleries, as well as an all-new introduction by director Spielberg and producer Lucas. There’s also a feature about the movie’s effects (especially the infamous melting-face scene) and another feature, called Indiana Jones: An Appreciation, in which the cast and crew of the fourth Indy movie look back on the first three.

When it comes to the Indy trilogy, you’ve got plenty of DVD options—including the newly-released individual DVDs and the four-disc set that was released a few years ago. And, of course, after the fourth movie is released on DVD, there are sure to be four-movie sets hitting stores, too. So if you’ve already got copies of the original trilogy on DVD, you probably don’t need to go out of your way to pick up another one. But if you don’t already have copies of these classic adventures in your collection, The Adventure Collection is worth picking up.

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