The Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews
The first of the Indiana Jones movies: it’s 1938, and our eponymous hero goes looking for the Ark of the Covenant and finds danger and romance…
I have to admit, when I first heard the name of this movie, I thought, what a stupid name for a movie, nobody will ever remember it and it’ll be gone in a week…was I ever wrong about that one!
What can one say about a movie that is, I believe, one of my generation’s cinematic turning points? Sure, there are great action movies, but this one truly transcends the adventure genre; as Star Wars is to science fiction films, and The Princess Bride to swashbuckling fantasy, so this is to classic exotic adventure films.
And what a film! Action, adventure, romance, not too bad in the history department (Historian-on-a-Stick loves this one) dozens of excellent tag lines, exotic locales, wonderful special effects, some oogies at the end (not too bad, but the first time I saw it it was pretty scary); a wonderful cast, including Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott and Alfred Molina…wow.
I truly can’t praise this too highly…I’ve seen it so many times that I can quote the dialog right along with the actors, and it’s still wonderful, especially now that it’s arrived on DVD in a fresh and lovely print, widescreen so you can see all the action, yippee!
I would find it hard to believe that anyone over the age of 15 hasn’t seen this, but even if you have, get it. Yes, you have to get all 4 dvds in a boxed set for now, including the sucky second one, but it’s worth it. Trust the Otter.
*No, the name of the movie is NOT Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I refuse to change it just because they renamed it to make the DVD set look better.
One of my real flash points happens when the Powers that Be go back and change a work to get more people to buy it…the title, the thing itself, adding stuff back in…for example, modifying the original name of a movie to make it easier for stupid people to find (oh, we better put Indiana Jones on the front of the first movie or nobody will be able to figure out that Raiders of the Lost Ark has him in it…sorry, folks, he is ONE OF THEM. Adding “Indiana Jones and…” to the title is redundant, meaningless and idiotic.) Or putting back edited material into a movie or book to sell even more copies (Stephen King’s The Stand, for instance…the stuff that was cut from the original version doesn’t add a thing to it, and in fact bogs it down considerably…but that’s Stephen King for you…) And don’t even get me started on what George Lucas did to the Star Wars trilogy…
Anyway. Usually, editing is A GOOD THING. It’s hard to edit too much, especially with books…and the only example I’ve seen so far of extra movie footage that was an improvement is the inclusion on the DVD Special Features of the 15 minutes of footage that they cut from the original Italian version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to make it shorter for American audiences, that contains major plot points that always puzzled me, it was wonderful to have this added to the dvd…but with very few exceptions (ok, 1776, I’ll give you that) the version that was released in the theatre IS THE MOVIE.
I can see a day where nobody will be able to discuss any movie without half an hour of blather about which version, which cut, etc. before they can agree on what they’re talking about…and I’m really really tired of people saying, well, if you haven’t seen the added material on the dvd you haven’t REALLY seen it. Yes, I have really seen it, and if the director put his name on it, he or she should be prepared to stand by it, not bleat sadly about how he had to make choices and cut stuff to make it right for the theatergoing public.
That’s the name of the game, everyone, the dollar is the bottom line…but I continually see filmmakers who are talented enough to make the movie for release in the theatres, make it the right length, and make it GOOD.
So stop all this crap, agree on a standard, and let’s go watch some movies.
And of course I have had to eat my words now that Peter Jackson has released the Director’s Cut of the Lord of the Rings movies, Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King…because he actually cut the footage back into them that they needed, that he was forced to take out so the moviegoing audience wouldn’t have to sit through four hour movies…and you know, he recut them himself for the dvd release, and they’re BRILLIANT. Even when I don’t agree with his choices for changes, they’re brilliant.
But these are an exception, the curmudgeonly rant above stays as written.