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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Title: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Directed by:
Steven Spielberg
Written by:
George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Lawrence Kasdan   

Even though Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark is heavily referred to in popular culture, I had only a vague idea of what to expect from this film. I knew that I had seen at least part of it earlier in my life, but so long ago that I hardly remembered anything (I had a vague notion about the ending, but apart from that, I was clueless). Anyway, the story’s main ingredients are Nazis, achaeology, a whip, snakes, a lightly dressed woman, ancient temples and traps. With this kind of setup, it is hard to fail miserably, but I argue that it is also very hard to produce something extraordinary.

The basic storyline concerns a Nazi plan to rediscover the Lost Ark of the Covenant, which allegedly will give divine powers to whomever wields it. Of course, they have to be stopped, so Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), a teacher, archaeologist and adventurer, sets out to save tho world. His way to the Lost Ark is packed with dangers of all sorts, from natives’ poisonous darts and deadly traps, to belligerent Nazis and devious companions. It is also illuminated by his love to Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), even though this is sometimes a problem, since she is not such a hard-boiled adventurer as Indiana Jones, although, admittedly, she wears nicer clothes.

As I said initially, I did not quite know what to expect from this film. I did not expect it to be great, because a film with these ingredients simply target other people than myself. Perhaps I expected it to be worse than it actually was, so my three snails feel like a pleasant surprise. I think that the story works okay, that the scenery is adequate, and so forth, but the most important thing is the feeling of mystery surrounding the archaelogical sites and ancient temples. Here, Spielberg has succeeded in creating a marvellous feeling of slightly dangerous excitement, which is very hard to come by. This makes this film worthwhile, even though I will probably not watch it again for long while. Perhaps I should watch the recently released film instead?

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