Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★

"Asps. Very dangerous. ... You go first."

The whole trilogy is on Netflix! Why aren't you watching it too? Like, every person ever? Crazy kids.

And here I was about to break out my old DVD set -- full screen! -- as I was just feeling a hankering to watch what's probably my favorite trilogy of movies ever. Just felt like another nostalgia trip this weekend, like recently when I dove into the Back to the Future franchise again. Today we'll journey back with Indiana Jones, of course beginning with what's unquestionably one of the best action/adventure films ever made.

I don't feel the need to write a proper review. God knows how many times I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark but I'll point out what I've come to observe and believe over the years is quite possibly a literally perfect movie:

~The opening scene is the greatest of any action/adventure and it's not even close. Frankly I can't name a better opening scene in any movie I've ever watched. Can you think of one? Write in the comments and I'll refute you, nicely of course.
~Yes there's a love interest as most films of this type have, but the entire team of filmmakers and storywriters -- Spielberg, Lucas, Kaufman, Kasdan -- elevates Marion above any cliché or stereotype by giving her other agency and purpose, and a fierce independence that I even recognized and admired as a little boy. "I'm your goddamn partner!" A hard drinking, straight shooting, no nonsense badass woman. Marion fucking rules. "Because I said so, that's why."
~Every chase/action sequence is perfectly timed, shot, and staged. Some reviewers disparage movies like this where you know there's no real reason to fear for the hero/protagonist. And though of course we know Dr. Jones will be okay, the tension is real.
~Just enough historical twists and mythology/legend to make one wonder what little things might be true. Oh I know I know, none of it obviously, but it all works.
~Maps! I love cartography and I've always been a very visual learner -- 1996 school Geography Bee champion, thankyouverymuch -- and as silly as it sounds, movies like this from my childhood are part of the reason why.
~Memorable supporting characters from the baddies to the buddies. Every one of them has at least one iconic line or moment, and several are as notable as the leads. How many movies can you say that about?
~Harrison goddamn Ford at his most handsome, most suave, most alluring. And yet he's never too cocky or too unrealistic as he has fears and limits and boundaries.
~Violence! Even when it was shown on TV very little of the blood was edited and I love that. It's just a movie. But man what a thrill for kids getting to watch a PG film with this many headshots and deaths. Love it.
~This scene. Kills me every time.
~Impeccable sound design. Sure the gunshots and explosions are ten times louder than in real life but there is no more iconic gun blast than Indy's .45 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. Pow pow! Blam!
~Hilarious and laugh out loud funny without ever being silly or close to parody. The quick shifts in tone from tense to romantic to dramatic to comedic never feel uneven in what's a brilliantly written story.

And a million more things. It's perfect. Raiders of the Lost Ark is also one of my friend Albie's very favorite films. He's right! As usual.

It's gonna be so fun to watch all these again today.

Part of My Subjective List of the Best Narrative Films.
Added to My Subjective List of the Best Films from Every Year I've Seen Them.
Part of Steven Spielberg ranked.

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