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Published on September 13th, 2012 | by Albert


My Popcorn is Stale #5: Raiders of a Lost Art

I first saw the Indiana Jones films when I was about 12 or 13. The second one scared the crap out of me, and to this day I refuse to rewatch it. The third was okay, but the one that stuck with me was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pretty much every frame in the film is extremely iconic, from the opening shot of the Paramount logo fading into a real mountain, to the old man pushing the Ark crate through the giant labyrinthine warehouse. In the 31 years since its release, every scene has been parodied, referenced, “borrowed” from, etc.

Weird Al actually makes a good Harrison Ford.

I am proud to say on Saturday I went to see Raiders in IMAX for its one week release.  I also got a fancy poster to take home with me.

Don’t worry, the Blu Ray ad peels off.

Whenever I have the rare opportunity to see a beloved movie in theater, a couple thoughts run through my head. First, all the parodies I’ve seen through the years pop straight to mind. Second, and this runs concurrent with the parodies and references, I’m in utter awe of the fact that what I’m seeing is the original content, unsullied, from whence those parodies came. Seeing it on a big screen also has the advantage of letting you catch all the details that a television screen won’t let you see. For instance, every crevice in creepy guy’s burnt hand…

“Oh, this? Birthmark. Yup.”

…and the true frightening impact of witnessing so many snakes in one place.

“Oh look, my greatest fear. How convenient.”

In this way, seeing it on the big screen after years of watching it on a small TV affords you the chance to feel like you’re seeing it for the first time.

The funny part is, besides American Graffiti, Raiders and its sequels are the only George Lucas movies to remain untouched. The fear of this happening is at least enough that Steven Spielberg felt the need to point out that they didn’t change the visual effects. And really with a movie like this it is not needed, especially given its 30s serial adventure roots. Plus, I find there is a great charm in 80’s special effects that the invention of modern CG has snuffed out.

Before I went to see it today, I was talking with my friend. He mentioned the fact that Kevin Murphy (the puppeteer/voice of Servo on Mystery Science Theater) mentioned in his book A Year at the Movies (which I highly recommend) that he got to go into Raiders cold. Meaning, he attended a screening before the movie came out, armed with only the knowledge that it was a Steven Spielberg/George Lucas collaboration. I consider him very lucky.

It’s a good book about the theatergoing experience. I highly recommend.

Sad thing is, seeing as I was born five years after the movie came out, by the time I saw it every iconic moment had already permeated its way into popular culture. I have never, and will never, get that fresh viewing.  The absolute closest I can come is seeing it on a very big screen. So I urge everyone who can to go see it before it goes out tomorrow. That means you. Go! NOW!!



….still here? Okay, here’s a bonus clip of Belloq eating a fly.

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