Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dues Ex Machina: A Review of Raiders of the Lost Ark

How do you write a review about a movie that's the first ever you remember seeing? It was on your sixth birthday and you still remember that day fondly because your parents rented a VCR for you and your friends, and basically turned that day into the highlight of your school year? How can this be done with even a modicum of objectivity?

Well, in short, it can’t. So expect a gushing, ‘awesome first date’ review coming up...

This past Saturday I went and saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was showing a great little cinema here in Islington called Screen on the Green, which itself is part of a family of independent movie houses around London called Everyman Cinemas. If you’re ever in London and looking for something to do, consider checking out an Everyman Cinema. It’s a great old fashioned place that, unlike what I’m used to back in Canada, serves alcohol! Obviously, you can’t keep running up to the bar once the curtains go up, but it was very nice to enjoy a Guinness with my popcorn.

Here are a couple thoughts about Raiders I’d like to share with the readers of WGTB. Firstly, Raiders, like its cousin (and my all-time favourite film) Empire Strikes Back, really goes to show that good movies stand the test of time. It is still is a GREAT story. The villains are nasty; Indy and his friends are loyal, strong and true; and the McGuffin is both awe-inspiring and something to get excited about. How could you not? I mean, it's probably the most literal case of Dues Ex Machina you can find in modern film!

It also goes to show that old fashioned special effects still work when combined with great writing. I still get a chill when the Ark is opened and the Nazi’s look inside. The harrowing screams and melting faces, sound and look a little more dated each time I watch, but that’s not important. They make the point that those sorry souls did something B-A-D. And, well, the music. What can be said? Of my favourite John Williams’ themes -- Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Superman – Indy’s still has the best theme and gives me a chill each and every time I hear it.

So all in all, it was a great night for entertainment. If you have a favourite old fashioned movie-house you like to visit please share it with WGTB below. Be sure to pass on an internet link too.


  1. Great movies all, but the one I remember fondly (and recently saw it again) is "Top Gun". I know, hokey for an average airline pilot to like a pilot movie but it had everything; lots of fast airplanes, a fast motorcycle and a hot woman, and I saw it the first time with my three sons, the oldest enjoying the movie and the youngest squirming like a three old would.

  2. Funny you should mention Empire with Raiders. I have always felt that these two movies were Mr. Ford's best, partially because of the strength of the scripts and partially because George Lucas didn't direct either of these movies.

    Another movie from that time that stands up well today is Robert Zemeckis' jewel "Back to the Future". If you haven't seen it recently I suggest you do as you may be surprised at how well this story endures the test of time.

    My second pick is the 80's B-Movie that could... Terminator.

    Good blog btw! I'm a fan of CanadaManDan.

  3. Thanks for the comments Owen and Mr. Steevo!

    Mr. Steevo: 'CanadaManDan' was a direct inspiration for this blog. And you're absolutely right. Both films see Harrison Ford at his best. Empire and Raiders are both masterpieces and, in their original form, are just as good today as they were in early 80s. I haven't seen BTTF in a while, but I think I'll get it and maybe even review it for the blog. It's always been a favourite too.

    Oh, and one more thing. I'll be back...