Monday, July 25, 2011

Me & Raiders of the Lost Ark

I was one of the few people who never saw Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) in theaters.
Scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark
Of course I saw all of the famous clips, Indy running from the huge boulder and Indy duel the guy with the scimitar (sword) and such (pictured above), but I didn’t see the film until at least a decade later (on videotape. Remember those?) and frankly I didn’t see what the hubbub was about. It was ok.

Recently on Facebook during a discussion about Indiana Jones an actor friend of mine Ryan Thomas went on and on about how great this film was. Never one to back away from an argu…er debate. I told him I didn’t think it was all that great. He was aghast and told me I should really see it again something about better than Citizen Kane and The Godfather combined or something like that. Not really what he said, but that’s how adamant he was in my opinion. Since I’m a fair guy I decided maybe I’ll give this film another try. In the past when I have given movies another try, turns out I was right the first time, they sucked!

Several weeks ago I re-watched the movie and guess what…it didn’t suck. I said guess what because I’M SURPRISED since I’m never wrong. I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong, which I never am…didn’t I say that?

But with all seriousness the movie was VERY GOOD. It deserves all the accolades it got, especially from Ryan. I liked everything about it, it was adventurous and fun and everything the filmmakers set out to make. I guess maybe I was expecting more the last time or maybe my tastes have changed.

This leads me to why I’m writing this. It seems as though my liking of this film was more than likely a shift in my thinking towards movies. Since studying film I think I look at movies a whole different way.

Let me be clear the FIRST time I see a movie I can “turn off the director” in me and just enjoy the film. The second time I can (and will) analyze the film’s aspects. Now when I watch films (the 2nd & subsequent times) I recognize the technical skill it took to make such a film. Sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad.

I’ve seen some films that everyone is calling a classic and thought “eh”. I’ve seen Midnight Cowboy and recently Serpico and wasn’t impressed. Concurrently within the last 5 years, I’ve seen Cool Hand Luke, Citizen Kane and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly for the first time and realize why everyone says they are great as they say they were. It also works in the reverse. I’ve re-watched some movies that I liked in the past and I think WOW the acting sucked or the direction sucked etc. Maybe some films just outlive their resonance.

When I watch a movie now I can appreciate all of the hard work it took to achieve some of the themes, the acting, the cinematography and of course the direction. In the end a great film is a great film and will stand the test of time whenever you see them and yes Ryan that means Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In some rebranding, repackaging nonsense Raiders of the Lost Ark for its 1999 VHS re-issue, the outer package was retitled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to correlate with the film's prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The subsequent DVD release in 2003 features this title as well. THAT 2003 DVD was the one I got from Netflix (Pictured below) setting off my ire!
I just hate when “marketing execs” rebrand an established brand with the intention of developing a differentiated (new) position in the mind of consumers. Just seems like trickery and I for one will not be fooled by their folly! I SHANT! Okay I’ll calm down now.

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