RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
Article 4488 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Featuring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
What it is: High adventure
In 1936, an archaeologist is recruited by the US government to find out what the Nazis are looking for in an archaeological dig near Cairo. It turns out to be the Ark of the Covenant, and the archaeologist is sent on a mission to lay his hands on it before they do.
This is an excellent adventure tale, exciting and well made, it has definite elements of the fantastic, and it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen in the last few months. Yet, I have to admit that I’ve been dreading the time when this movie would come up on my hunt list. This is largely because it’s one of those movies that has been somewhat spoiled for me by the extreme hype that I’ve been subjected to about the film over the years. It’s not just that a lot of people were telling me that it was really good; it’s more that so many of them were carrying on as if this movie was the single finest accomplishment by all humanity since time immemorial. Yes, I’m exaggerating a bit, but not by much. I have to admit that I’m a bit of a contrarian; if a lot of people keep insisting to me that I’m absolutely going to love something, I feel very inclined to hate it for that reason alone. When I finally saw it years ago, I didn’t expect it to live up to the hype (nothing could have done that), and I was really curious what I would end up feeling about it. In the end, it turned out to just what I expected it would be – a very good and well made action/adventure film. But in order for it to even get close to the hype I encountered, it would have to have been something very special above and beyond that, and, sadly, for me, it wasn’t. Part of it is that I’m not a big action fan to begin with. Nor am I a big fan of Harrison Ford. Still, I do have to admire one aspect of this movie’s history that makes it a fairly rare animal; it’s one of those big-budget blockbusters with a huge fandom that appears to have avoided generating a backlash of those who hate it. That’s something that certainly doesn’t happen very often.