The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained.
The Film: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Plot: When the Nazis threaten to find and unleash the power within the Ark of the Covenant, the US Government turns to the only place that can save them: Academia. Back in the 1930s, Professors and Archaeologists were made of a lot tougher stuff, and were far more attractive to co-eds than they are today. The manliest among them, Indiana Jones, fresh off a disastrous trip to a South American jungle, embarks on a global quest to find the Ark first.
The Review: I mean, come on people, it’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Our first introduction to Indiana Jones! The only man in our galaxy with enough swagger to go toe to toe with Han Solo and come out the other side. The mid-1970s to early 1980s represented a true shift in cinema – the blockbuster was born. Action was redefined. A whole new class of hero emerged.
Sadly, as the years move away from this film, it seems there are more and more people who have never seen it. They know who Indiana Jones is and they’ve probably seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on USA or maybe they’ve had the misfortune of seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which case they’ve probably never bothered to see another Jones movie. Tragedy.
Raiders is the effective birthplace of the fun adventurer. It’s never too silly, but never too dark, even when dealing with death, Nazis, and face melting. It has been the role model for films like The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as much closer clones like Sahara and other adventuring movies, with good reason. You can argue all day over which Harrison Ford character is better – Han Solo or Indiana Jones – and you’ll stick with your answer for more than 30 minutes.
With epic, fun action, tremendous set design, a razor sharp, quotable script, and Spielberg directing at the top of his game, Raiders of the Lost Ark is pure entertainment joy. It manages to be a roller coaster ride of fun without relying on an actual roller coaster gimmick.
The film was written by Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) based on a story from George Lucas (Star Wars) and is directed by Steven Spielberg (Jaws). These are big names even now, but this is back when they were still making great movies! It’s breath taking, comforting, and contains one of the coolest and most iconic outfits in history. Who doesn’t want to wear a fedora and a leather jacket still to this day? Has a whip ever been cooler?
Few films truly stand the test of time and subpar sequels, but Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of them. No matter how many times you’ve already seen it, there’s always time for one more visit.
But why spend 115 minutes watching this film when you only have 473,640 minutes left to live?
No one wants to be sad before they die. Well, maybe some weirdos do, but not me. I plan on going out with a smile on my face and Raiders of the Lost Ark is the right prescription. It also serves the purpose of wiping a lot of unpleasant memories from your mind before you leave this mortal coil. Want to forget about the new Star Wars trilogy and remember George Lucas fondly? Need to wipe Spielberg’s poor performance over the last decade out of your mind? Begging for death after watching The Crystal Skull? Greet death with a grin and forget that terrible movie by watching this one!