Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★

Opening with a bang on what’s probably the greatest studio logo transition of any film ever, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a rip-roaring foray into unbridled archaeological adventure, treating the usually restrictive PG rating as if it was capable of sustaining any R-rated gore imaginable. Seriously, this is the adult film for kids. Heads explode, snakes slither through the orifices of mangled skeletons, screaming faces melt in raging flames and people get violently impaled by boobytraps. Granted it’s all a bit too gooey and sentimental, at times the dated special effects proving a little outlandish for its own good, but that doesn’t hold back the go-broke sense of creativity on this one. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen are obviously the highlights, other performances showing promise but ultimately stumbling under terrible accents and outdated racial appropriation. Even then the balletic fight sequences and genre-crazed charm are enough to keep it all going, leaving me absolutely certain that Nazis have never died so well. Also, in what other film do you see a monkey Nazi-salute? This is Spielberg working at his most joyfully unrestrained, and I’m here for every crack of the whip.

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