Friday, 10 July 2015

July Blindspot: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
Directed by Steve Spielberg

I'm not exactly sure how I've gotten this far in life and have never fully seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I feel like I've said this about a lot of movies that I should've seen. But Raiders is definitely one that I'm not sure of. It's like hearing someone has never seen Jurassic Park or the original Star Wars. But Raiders is old enough that it wasn't popular anymore when I was a child, and my parents never showed it to me. But anyway, time to finally share how I felt about this classic and popular film!

If you don't know already, Indiana Jones is an archeologist and gets to go on crazy dangerous adventures to retrieve items to be sold to a museum that he works for? Just always donates to? I wasn't exactly sure. But I believe they fund his trips. Anyway, the Nazis are obsessed with recovering ancient artefacts and apparently the latest thing they're after is The Ark of The Covenant, which is what carried around the Ten Commandments in the Bible. So Indy is off to get this before the Nazis can.

I'm not exactly sure how I felt about Raiders of the Lost Ark. Part of me disliked it, but part of me wonders if it just didn't age well. Indiana Jones was very much the cliche of cool, hot explorer guy. And when we first meet Marion (daughter of Abner Ravenwood, a fellow archaeologist), she's drinking poisoned shots with Nepalese men, and being a total boss. She owns the bar they're drinking in, and punches Indy in the face because he broke her heart 10 years ago and now she hates him. This Marion seems to be very different than the Marion we see later, who can't seem to muster up those same punches for guys who are actually attacking her (those she does manage to kill 1 man with a frying pan, though after running away from him), resorts to simply hiding in baskets and then being dressed up in froofy white dresses when she's a hostage (and when she's not). I guess I shouldn't be surprised at this treatment of Marion, but when we first met her, she seemed like a strong, independent woman, but Spielberg later has her shrieking for Indy to save her (even though she proved capable at the opening bar fight in Nepal), and he has her trussed up in fancy dressed for literally no good reason at all. She just turns into a damsel in distress for the rest of the movie. Also, that scene at the beginning where Indy is teaching a college class, which is apparently 99% made up of women, who aren't t here to learn, but to marvel at how hot and sexy Indy is. It seems a ridiculous situation and scene, and I'm not sure what the point was.

Anyway, I'll finish my rant about this movies treatment of the literally only woman in this movie. Raiders of the Lost Ark is an action movie through and through. We get action piece after action piece. Though I wouldn't call this a complaint as all these action scenes were actually quite well done and fun to watch. Other than the sexism (can I blame that on the time this film was made?), this movie was generally well-written, and fun. The movie didn't take itself all too seriously, and was a little more explicit than I was expecting for a PG rated film (those faces melting was gross!).

Honestly, I somewhat understand why this movie was a big deal. It was fun, action-packed, and not unlike the Marvel movies that are getting made today. Indiana Jones is not altogether different from those superheroes we see dominating our screen today. A mix of wit, action, romance, and "saving the day!" is fun. Sure, Harrison Ford is handsome and was on that line of not being too young, but not being too old that he probably he pretty universal appeal with women, and the men knew and loved him as Han Solo in Star Wars. But overall, as fun as the movie was, it's something I probably wouldn't bother to revisit. Fun, but somewhat forgettable.


  1. I can totally understand your concerns about the lack of women (or treatment of women) as characters in this movie. At the same time, it is not only 35 years old but a throwback to the adventure serials of Spielberg's childhood (and even earlier). Strong women did not exist much in that sort of thing. Either way, I am old enough that the Indiana Jones movies were all over the place when I was a kid. The second two were released when I was a kid. I LOVE THEM. So very much, especially this one. Hate that you didn't love it, but that's what movie blogs are for. Great post!

    Also, I nominated you and your blog for a Liebster Award. Check out my post:

    1. Yeah, I know strong women didn't exist, so I don't overly blame the film, it was just the nature of the times back in the 80s. It was definitely still a fun movie, but I don't have the nostalgia for it like other people do, so I'm definitely less attached. I'm still glad I finally got to see it!

      Thanks for the nomination! I'll definitely be sure to check that out!