Finally, after years of catching bits of odd scenes and studying the opening and a central chase scene in a film music seminar at university, I have watched Raiders of the Lost Ark all the way through. So here are some errant observations and an overall assessment from someone who has always been vaguely reluctant to watch this action classic.
Firstly, Indiana Jones definitely should have left Alfred Molina at the door of that first temple. Seriously, he’s just a hindrance. He helps in absolutely no way, eventually tries to make off with the prize and then dies anyway. What’s the point of him, again?
Next, how does Indiana Jones’ evil rival win over the hearts of the uninviting indigenous people? Maybe I missed that bit, but he must have threatened them to get them to comply, which doesn’t explain why they are so intent on getting Indy for him. Regardless, I seethed with anger at this rival man throughout for his swooping in and stealing all the credit. Though that behaviour is not acceptable in any corner of society, even as an archaeologist.
The woman, the damsel in distress, the love interest, the pretty freckled one in a dress. (Does she get defined in any other way? Not really, no). To start with I thought she was pretty cool – winning a drinking contest, running her own bar and making her own decisions. Even when she got mad with Indy for leaving her or whatever. But then, once she started following our hero on his quest, her lines became 60% “Indy!” and 40% flirtatiousness; to be fair, this was filmed in the ’80s and set in the ’30s, and she probably helped out more than many female characters of this era.
The big plus of the film: Indy is badass. I’m sure everyone else in the English-speaking world knows that by now but never mind. I’ve got there. Whether as a fedora-wearing, whip-slinging adventurer or a clean-shaven, straight-talking academic, Harrison Ford is working it.
Also, the music is epic. I have never heard anyone deny that in my life. All in all, I get the love and fascination for Indiana Jones, as long as no-one describes it as a perfect movie. It is fun Spielberg entertainment, which relies on an ounce of cleverness in its story.