‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’: Is the Spielberg classic overrated?

Nov. 23, 2011 | 2:09 p.m.

Hero Complex readers know how we feel about “Raiders of the Lost Ark” after our 30th anniversary screening  with Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford and the memorable mash note we published from guest essayist Damon Lindelof. We thought pretty much everyone loved the 1981 adventure film but now we bring you an opposing view from Michael Phillips, the Chicago Tribune’s fine film critic, and this essay, which will appear in Thursday’s print edition of the Los Angeles Times.  

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All eyes are on the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol on the set of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” (Lucasfilm)

We hold the movies we love very closely, like a royal flush in poker, and to many people an attack on an adored, endlessly rewatched picture goes beyond fighting words into something like heresy.

Take a movie some people would legally marry if they could, so intense is their devotion. I speak of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” director Steven Spielberg’s 1981 blockbuster, back in a 30th anniversary digitally restored edition. (A shined-up Blu-ray version, according to Spielberg, should be available in 2012.) The angriest, most voluminous emails I ever got on a single review came like thunder and angry bolts of face-melting lightning from God himself after I wrote the following sentence in a review of the fourth and latest Indiana Jones picture, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

“Indiana Jones — let’s be honest — never was a memorable movie character.”

ij1 ia 278 r Raiders of the Lost Ark: Is the Spielberg classic overrated?

Steven Spielberg directs Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones on the set of "Raiders of the Lost Ark.” (Lucasfilm)

That “let’s be honest” bit made it worse, of course. Several million people do consider Indiana Jones a memorable movie character. Millions grew up with “Raiders,” so maligning it is tantamount to maligning millions of childhoods. Millions more, meanwhile, of various ages, are crazy about it, and happily give in to its relentless, overpowering action, its intense revenge-on-the-Nazis satisfactions and the climactic reminder that what happens in the Ark of the Covenant should stay in the Ark of the Covenant.

ij1 ia 217 r Raiders of the Lost Ark: Is the Spielberg classic overrated?

Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in a scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Lucasfilm)

For decades, I’ve puzzled through my own resistance to this Spielberg film in relation to the Spielberg films I love, the ones I saw multiple times as a teenager and revere still, and not simply for the enormous impact they made on the younger me. Those films are “Jaws” (1975) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), very different but complementary in their maker’s masterly ability to enrapture an audience, whether in fear or in wonder.

Audiences worldwide flipped over “Raiders” the way they flipped over the first “Star Wars” picture (released in 1977) because both Spielberg and George Lucas found a way to reprocess their own childhood Saturday morning serial moviegoing hours into tightly packed, feature-length products with up-to-date effects, which now look “period.” Quaint. Younger viewers, then and now, don’t come to “Raiders” with any sense of the modest serials that inspired it. They only know that it’s a movie that doesn’t quit, though compared with a Michael Bay “Transformers” film, “Raiders” offers the occasional pause, the odd bit of exposition, and plenty of pulse-pounding reminders of the dynamic popular entertainer behind the camera.

Until recently, I hadn’t seen “Raiders” all the way through since I was in college. Back then, the more brutal combat sequences (the fistfight, with wrenches and implied beheadings, underneath the Nazi plane; the protracted truck chase and vicious pummelings) seemed to go on an awfully long time. Second time through, they still do. The picture’s spirit strikes me as a little harsh for maximum enjoyment. This is why my favorite bit is the quickest, and cheapest, and funniest: Indy, faced with the Cairo street thug with the enormous sword, wearily pulling out his pistol and shooting the adversary dead. Heartless, perfectly timed, a sight gag that works.

indyfans Raiders of the Lost Ark: Is the Spielberg classic overrated?

Indiana Jones imitators gather in Hollywood for the opening of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in May 1984. (Los Angeles Times)

Pauline Kael’s New Yorker review struck a chord with me back in ’81. “The opening sequence, set in South America, with Indy Jones entering a forbidden temple and fending off traps, snares, poisoned darts, tarantulas, stone doors with metal teeth, and the biggest damn boulder you’ve ever seen, is so thrill-packed you don’t have time to breathe — or to enjoy yourself much, either .… Seeing ‘Raiders’ is like being put through a Cuisinart — something has been done to us, but not to our benefit.”

Dave Kehr, former Chicago Tribune film critic and regular, invaluable New York Times contributor, never liked it either. “Spielberg … knows a lot about action cutting but nothing about narrative rhythm: this 1981 film travels fast and straight down a linear plot, and the ceaseless rush quickly becomes monotonous,” Kehr wrote for the Chicago Reader. In the Tribune, meanwhile, Gene Siskel called it what many others did: “about as entertaining as a commercial movie can be.”

Those in the minority, who found “Raiders” to be too much, were saying what others said a few years earlier about “Jaws,” a film widely credited and blamed for inventing the all-encompassing mass-market summer blockbuster. The difference to me is this: “Jaws” mixes its shocks, thrills, laughs and silences in such a way as to disinvite hackneyed comparisons to things like “thrill rides” and roller coasters. It’s not a one-speed picture. It’s a shark of a film, stealthy, swift but cagey. And the people, the characters, in it really register.

Harrison Ford makes a fine, photogenic action hero. He has enormous relatability and a wry sense of humor. The “Raiders” fans feel the same way about “Raiders.” I’d love to hear from a few of them — from longtime fans, and from those on the younger side who may be seeing Spielberg’s film for the first time.

— Michael Phillips


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Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones’ future

Fedora flashback: A look back at Indy-mania

Damon Lindelof’s love letter to ‘Raiders’

Spielberg at 33: ‘I’ll always be the worker bee’

‘Raiders’ exhibit whips up Hollywood and history

Spielberg: ‘Raiders’ does not seem like 30 years ago

Spielberg: ‘Tintin’ made me more like a painter

‘Raiders’ stuntman looks back, 30 years later

Joe Johnston: ‘What would Indiana Jones do?’

‘Jaws’ took a bite out of movie history

Spielberg brings Hall H surprise: Peter Jackson


55 Responses to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’: Is the Spielberg classic overrated?

  1. Tim Pelan says:

    Raiders and Jaws are two different beasts, for sure. But "ceaseless rush" that "quickly becomes monotonous"? No way! Before the sequels dulled it's hero's impact, Raiders felt like a breath of fresh air. Indy is no superman, he takes several knocks, he's fallible, loyal, cynical: the most well rounded genre charcter for quite a while. And his interactions with Denholm Elliott's Marcus Brody in Raiders are a delight to watch. See it in black and white and it's like watching a brilliant Warner Brothers undiscovered classic. I'm with Harlan Ellison: I don't care HOW he got that Island on the submararine, I just know I've been entertained, darn it!

  2. Joe says:

    I hate when "writers" can't figure out how to fill space so they decide to dump on a great film just because it fills space and will get them clicks. Clearly it works but it is the lamest tactic a reviewer can take.

    Someone who can't thoroughly enjoy both Jaws and Raiders has issues that couldn't be solved by Freud. Two different genres that need to be appreciated on their own. Dissing Raiders because it's fast paced is like dissing Rocky because to much action takes place in the ring.

    You clearly hated the movie so much the first time that you didn't pay attention to the character of Indiana Jones, which is a shame because you missed out on a lot.

  3. Mitchell Hallock says:

    As one who is proud to be a member of the legions of Indyfans around the world, may I suggest that you might be suffering from what many of modern theatre-goers have and that is a version of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Do you need to have a car chase and explosion onscreen every 15 minutes to be entertained? Sadly, that video game mentality is ruining the art of story telling in modern films in my opinion. I wonder what you think about entries in the James Bond series, many of which are very slow in their story telling only to rev up to thrilling action sequences. Is that so wrong? I have heard many folks comment that they find "Raiders" pacing very slow, and even on par with the original 1977 "Star Wars" also from Indiana Jones' co-creator, George Lucas. I am truly amazed by this. Go back and watch the films of the 1970s and early 1980s, they took their time to tell the story and asked that you paid attention, and the box office receipts showed that folks did and came back to see them again and again. The hits like "Jaws", "Star Wars", "Rocky" and "Close Encounters" as with "Raiders" had the audience applauding, a sight and sound, which is a response I long to see modern films cause folks to do. I cannot understand how you didn't get caught up with the adventures of Indiana Jones, even if it wasn't the fantastic stunts, effects or musical score, "Raiders" has a lot of humor — it's a damn fun film that never takes itself too seriously. To his credit Mr. Ford, pulls off his characterization of the two-fisted hero with a smile and sense of vulnerability that many "action" heros tried desperately to imitate to no avail. Face it the man is a very talented actor — and successful, which leaves him open to folks taking shots at his career and considering him just "lucky".

    Beyond lacing your movie popcorn with Ritalin, I suggest you go back and just sit back and jump on the two hour ride into an imaginative universe. Don't try and compare "Raiders" to the whiz-bang, thin plot, "blow 'em-up real good" films that seem to be the mainstay of modern films and relish in "Raiders" tad slower delivery. The rate at which the tale of Indiana Jones reveals itself is not a detriment to the movie but rather one of it's best attributes. As an audience member who saw it back in 1981, I remember the collective release of the crowd who held their breathe from "Raiders" thrilling opening and was glad to sit back and collect their wits as we learned sat through the exposition of the Ark, and watched Indy trek around the globe.

    Lastly, how do I know Indiana Jones is a memorable movie hero? He has fueled theme park rides, video games, novels, merchandise, collectables and a big screen return that brought in over $700 million dollars worldwide in 2008. I don't see that happening with other 1970s and 80s screen heroes. As I am contributor to a website called TheRaider.net and a bi-weekly podcast called TheIndyCast I might be somewhat bias in my defense of "Raiders of the lost Ark". I am proud to say "Indiana Jones ROCKS" and if you or others can't see that, to quote another "hero" from the 1980s "I pity the fool". Bring on Indy 5!

    • Josephine says:

      Mitch, for writing this YOU just became a full fledged hero in my book. Best regards, and IndyCast 4-ever!

    • C Samphire says:

      He was arguing that the movie is too fast paced and needed to slow down, not suggesting it needed to speed up. He wanted to be able to enjoy the set pieces and learn to love the characters and had a hard time doing so. I never did and love the movie but it bothers me that you're not getting your facts straight.

    • I am a fish says:

      “As one who is proud to be a member of the legions of Indyfans around the world, may I suggest that you might be suffering from what many of modern theatre-goers have and that is a version of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Do you need to have a car chase and explosion onscreen every 15 minutes to be entertained?”

      Actually that is the main reason I don’t like Raiders: it has too much action in it. I love movies like The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Die Hard, Superman II, Gladiator, and plenty more movies that have lots of action in them but also have slower moments to develop the characters and give the audience time to breathe between stuff blowing up. Raiders though is basically two hours of action with some exposition thrown in here and there to make it seem like the movie actually has some semblance of a plot

  4. DBatt says:

    "Indy, faced with the Cairo street thug with the enormous sword, wearily pulling out his pistol and shooting the adversary dead. Heartless, perfectly timed, a sight gag that works."

    Funny, this is the only part of the film I did NOT like. First, it took me outta the movie because it seemed incongruent with the actions of a college professor (not to mention the events in the movie up till then). Second, the audience at my showing (in 1981) cheered when Jones shot the swordsman. I've always found it troubling when audiences hoot at acts of homicide. Third, being a minority, I squirmed in my seat upon seeing theater-goers' delight upon viewing a white guy casually snuffing out a brown guy as if swatting a bothersome insect. Michael Phillips apparently disagrees.

    • Butcherboy says:

      DBatt is absolutely right. Michael Phillips ignores all the wonder, humor and excitement of one of the best movies ever made, only to applaud its one moment of mindless racism and cruelty, for the sake of a sick joke. Tells us much more about Phillips than it does about Speilberg!

    • simon says:

      yup me too..

    • Jak says:

      Killing someone who is trying to kill you is not racism, even if they are a different race.

  5. Paula says:

    Is this dude trolling?! Blasphemy! Not only is Raiders the best action movie of all time, but it is also perhaps my favorite movie of all time! It is a perfect little package of character exploration, action excitement, comedy, and even a bit of romance! This dude is off his meds!

  6. Mom says:

    I suspect that Michael Phillips needs a good hat!!! I NEVER read film critic's essays. Rave on. I will keep on watching Raiders!!!

  7. mark says:

    It never was that good a film.

  8. Android11 says:

    Sorry, but not everyone likes the movie… it's shallow and repressive…

  9. Peter Briggs says:

    “Raiders isn’t that great. Discuss.”

    Well, that’s a bit lame, isn’t it?

    I have no love for any of the sequels; all of which largely miss the boat in some way; and infuriatingly all of which have at least one bit that’s interesting. (Contrast the laughable Wile E. Coyote mayhem in “Temple”, with Indy being brutally beaten and suffering in “Raiders”.) If you sit down and examine Kasdan’s script forensically, it’s breathtakingly minimal and efficient, with no wasted fat. In fact, “Raiders” is nigh-near perfect in just about every department. And it looks and feels authentically 70s gritty, and you can almost touch and smell it (as opposed to the sequels, all of which seem to come with a bottle of hand sanitizer attached.)

    If you don’t get it…well, you just don’t get it. Rag on the sequels all you like. I won’t defend their entireties. But “Raiders” really is a special case, and which is why it’s not been replicated.

  10. Frank says:

    I totally agree with the premise of the article …way over rated!! …and the last one was the worse …!

    Has anyone ever gotten any kind of acting award from the franchise?

  11. Robert says:

    Some people just don't like the movie. Not everyone likes everything. I LOVED Raiders and the sequels (mostly). While I disagree with him I do respect the right to say how he feels. We can explaine all we want about what makes the movie great but that doesn't mean he'll get it.
    There are movies I love but can't understand why other people don't like them.

  12. MDM says:

    "Raiders" goes down in the Hollywood pantheon as one of the greatest movies ever made. Pure cinema frame-to-frame. Flawless. A landmark which has spawned billions of wanna-be copy-cat spin-offs, none of which have lived up to this original…including the sequels. And it may very well be the one movie which sent me to Hollywood looking for work nearly 30 years ago. Thanks, Steven.

  13. Oildale Jones says:

    Indy is so unmemorable that 30 years later, Mr. Phillips feels compelled to write about him…?

  14. Scott says:

    I think it's a masterpiece and will never forget my first viewing (I'm 44 years old). Back in college, a reliable source told our film studies class that Spielberg's movie was his attempt to "prove" he could direct a James Bond film, after he was denied access to the series. Raiders, as a movie idea, was resisted by the studio heads so Lucas and Spielberg had much to prove. Looks like they won. This explains the mean-spirited nature of the sequel, their vengeance follow-up to the disbelievers of their first film. I love the third film, hate the second, and found the fourth completely unnecessary, though Ford delivered a great performance one again.

  15. matthewhyde says:

    Another slant on the whole debate – not only do the Indiana Jones films hark back to old school movie serials, they also tie in to religion, mythology and folklore and that gives them a power that goes beyond your average blockbusters (although the fact that Raiders was made by a bunch of incredibly talented people helps…). I wrote a couple of blog posts on this side of Raiders ( http://wp.me/p1tKEc-mJ ) and Last Crusade ( http://wp.me/p1tKEc-mS ), and it's one of the reasons that Crystal Skull feels a bit… well, off.

    Got to say though, if millions of filmgoers think Indy is a memorable character thirty years later, then by definition that makes him memorable!

  16. Kenny says:

    @DBatt: Did you really squirm? I don't know how old you are, but your phrasing of your "feelings" watching the Cairo scene just seem to ring hollw, wrought with 21st century PC pseudo-racial platitudes. "White guy/Brown guy?" Really? I suppose you would have been suddenly okay with the "brown" guy slashing Indy with the sword, in effect "taking it to THE MAN." Spare us all. In case you missed it, for the sake of self-defense, the FICTIONAL CHARACTER of Indiana Jones "snuffed" a bunch of white guys, too!

    Way to go, Dingbatt…keep racism alive!

    BTW-Raiders kicks ass! The effects were MUCH better than Jaws.

  17. cinephile says:

    The common denominator in 'Raiders' and Jaws was the director. Other than that the two movies are in different genres altogether. As far as entertainment goes, though, they're both TOPS! Anyway, 'Raiders' had something of everything – humor, wit, action, cliffhangers – the works! For old moviegoers like myself, an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia was even evoked. My son who was 13 in 1982, still refers to Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones no matter what movie Ford's in. his son, now 10, has been viewing all the Indy Jones DVDs more than a 'few' times. That's three generations, so far, who have found "Raiders" really entertaining and I'm sure bit's not only in my family.
    So, what's all this about "Raiders" being 'over-rated', or not?!!

  18. Mauro says:

    Michael Michael Michael, Raiders of the lost Ark is pure movie going magic. Type of film that will go down in history as a CLASIC in every sense of the word. It is one of those films very much like the Wizard of Oz / Star Wars etc… will have a long lasting effect on you. Obviously you are one of the very very very few who never liked the film, and that in itself should make you wonder why ?

  19. Brooks says:

    I saw Raiders when it first came out, and although I enjoyed it I did find it exhausting as well, like the fifth time on a roller coaster that I've been dragged to by eight screaming kids. But the thing that really felt like a letdown was the climax; after all that effort and mayhem and near-death to keep the Nazis from acquring the Ark and all of its great and mystical powers, not only does Indy finally not have anything to do with thwarting the evil plot (the Ark melts the villains while Indy's tied up), but it turns out the Nazis never could have used the Ark anyway, since it kills anyone who so much as opens it. Indy could have stayed in his classroom for all his exertion mattered.

    • Steven says:

      The story goes that whatever army "Carries the Ark before it, is invincible." The fact that the Nazis got curious and greedy and looked inside the Ark is what destroyed them. If they hadn't been so stupid, as the story goes, they "could have" ruled the world. So, going on that thought, Indy had no choice but to try to stop the Nazis from possibly using the Ark to win the war and rule the world. The fact that, at the end of the movie, the last we see of the Ark, it is being wheeled down a corridor in a really big warehouse, never to be seen again, shows that, in the story, the US had control of the Ark, and it would never be used for evil.
      That was my take on the ending. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thing it was genius.

  20. Alan Dean Foster says:

    Go watch eight hours of Godard and Antonioni and let the rest of us have fun. There's little enough of it in this world. Come to think of it, watch Sullivan's Travels instead.

  21. Marvin says:

    Is Raiders overrated? My answer would be "yes and no." No, in the sense that Raiders is huge fun and deserves its reputation on that front. Obviously not everyone will like it, but that's just par for the course.

    On the other hand, I think that the over-the-top criticism that greeted the fourth Indy movie (South Park, anyone?) proves that a lot of people take the original trilogy, especially Raiders and Last Crusade, too seriously. Unlike the Star Wars prequels, which are morally and aesthetically repellent on almost every level, Crystal Skull merely has the faults that characterize the original movie and it's genre: nostalgia, sentimentality, a tendency to trivialize the cultures through which its great white hero stalks, and an emphasis on action and spectacle at the expense of character.

    Nevertheless, the Indiana Jones movies are better at giving us good characters than most other action-adventure movies, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about it here, and Raiders remains the best of the bunch.

  22. Crabbieappleton says:

    What a strange review. Apparently, he doesn't like it for the simple reason that some other film critics didn't like it. Oh, and that it's not "Jaws."

    I'm going to start writing my own reviews like this: "I don't really like this well-received book. I dunno why. It just doesn't read well. In any case, here are three other reviewers who can explain it much better than I can."

  23. ZolarKingOfAllMoney says:

    Aliens was exhausting. Raiders was fun. Still is. Third one was fun too, but not as good. This whole article smells….

  24. Jonee says:

    Still the greatest action film ever made. Period.

  25. _Q_ says:

    Somebody is really hurting for page views… Obvious troll is obvious.

  26. Nick says:

    I'm 24 years old and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is the reason I love the art of filmmaking. It's a masterpiece from start to finish with exemplary writing, breathtaking action pieces, incredibly memorable characters and balls that very few films can duplicate today.

    I think this writer honestly had nothing else better to do than trash it just to get some attention. Piss off!

  27. sophie says:

    Wow, I didn't know Raiders had a Star Wars like following. I was 11 when it came out, and thought it was a great adrenaline packed adventure though the face melting scene scared the heck out of me (for real). Didn't see stuff like very often back then (unless you were watching the Exorcist or something). Anyway, I would never put Raiders in the same category as Star Wars. They don't even come close. I find the nostalgia for it very interesting. And yes, the racial stereotypes didn't quite jar people back then as they do now. He was depicting the 1940s in the early 1980s. I would hope we've evolved at least in our sensibilities.

  28. sophie says:

    Want to add – The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull destroyed an semblance of respect I had for all involved. I was bored and angered to tears in that one. I can't believe I paid $ to see that in the theatre.

  29. Sue says:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is not overrated. Indy is Ford's most endearing and fun character.

    I find new reasons to love this movie every time I see it. Ditto with Jaws.

  30. David says:

    The writer lays out his argument coherently, and I can see exactly why he thinks the movie is overrated, but I just don't agree with the conclusions he draws.

    I put "Raiders" in the same category as "Star Wars." Both are classics and great movies. They take the kind of exciting, adventurous stories and themes we yearn for and construct them in such a masterful way that it becomes a thing of beauty. It's like writing the best pop song. It shouldn't be any less commendable than writing a great opera. To me, Jimi Hendrix should be held in similar musical esteem to Mozart, as ridiculous as some people may find that. Blaming Spielberg for making blockbusters is like blaming Walt Whitman for being a poet. He was merely doing what was in his nature to do, and he did it better than just about anyone else. A pastry chef's creations may be less nutritious than his savory counterpart, but that doesn't that any less artistry went into his delectables.

    Furthermore, the reviewer seems to be knocking "Raiders" for paying homage to other works. Since when is that valid reason for criticism? Should we condemn Coppola for adapting Mario Puzo's novel for the big screen or for using "Heart of Darkness" as the basis of his Vietnam epic? Should we disrespect Scorsese for using Jake Lamotta's life as the basis for "Raging Bull?" Of course not. Those projects were influenced even more overtly by other works, and it's as irrelevant there as it is here.

  31. JoeA says:

    I'll play devil's advocate on this. I've seen/heard/read criticisms about the Indiana Jones films, specifically the title character's lack of a character arc in any single film or the series collectively. As a comparison, Luke and Anakin Skywalker both had character arcs (in opposite directions). Indy's lack of a character arc doesn't make the film any less fun or good. I still love the first three films.

  32. Sonner LeCloche says:

    Pauline Kael was the queen of the 70's notion of film as the medium of Freudian/Jungian catharsis. In advancing said notion, she seemed to harbor no appreciation, (in truth no tolerance) for evaluating a movie as escapist, joyous entertainment. Perhaps she felt that by elevating all things filmic to some lofty level of abstraction, she could by association justify her place and part in it all. Perhaps Michael Phillips shares such a notion. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was, and is, a great, great movie.

  33. Ed C says:

    I knew my comment wouldn't get posted…truth hurts.

  34. Ellen says:

    Kael was an amazing reviewer. She respected pop culture and reviewed it with respect. She didn't pander. She was not concerned if her views were the general public's views. It was a different era and reviewers did not drop to their knees in the face of big box office, leastways, not at the New Yorker.

    I didn't always agree with her. She adored Altman's work and his pacing always makes me long for a nap. But I always enjoyed her reviews, her insights and her writing. The best line ever in a Star Wars review?

    "Yoda looks like a wonton and he talks like a fortune cookie."

    Jaws knocked me out of my socks. Close Encounters left me with a profound and delightful sense of wonder. I enjoyed Raiders, but it was only ever an evening's diversion to me. We all have our different priorities and preferences.

    I lost a friend for several years because I dared to say that I thought that Star Wars was overrated and that, further, I was getting really tired of the fuss around it. I said it once. He was furious with me. It's a movie, well a franchise. But it isn't even about any earth (or galaxy) shaking issues. Good is good, bad is bad, that's as profound as it gets.

    And that is fine. None of these films are meant to be anything but entertainment: Raiders, Jaws, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Star Trek. But people freak out if you dare suggest they are trite. This is tribalism and then some. Good grief, and we wonder why there are wars fought over religion.

  35. Ralph says:

    You really took Gene Siskel out of context. Although I can't find the original review right now, I did find this link which clearly shows his love of Raiders: He lists it as #3 in his top ten list of films for that year, so I doubt he was as apathetic about the movie as you suggest: http://www.cmgww.com/stars/siskel/screening_room/….

    So there, you dirty Raider-hater! :)

  36. Mark says:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time! I couldn't disagree with you more…

  37. John Rat says:

    We are all different and have differing views on what makes a good say fantastic movie, for example I hated No Country for Old Men were nearly everyone else I know loved it.

    Raiders for me is one of the best Movies of all time, it has everything I could want and it gets a regular screening here.

    Im just waiting for the Blu Ray release..woo hoo


  38. Mako says:

    I think it's pretty clear – Michael Phillips thinks too much of himself and not why the movie clicks with people. He's in the minority and therefor is not a very good person to take advice from.

  39. anonymous says:

    The thing about Raiders is that there is relatively little character development. That is to say, all the characters are straight-forward, with minimal background information. That being said, it just might be the best adventure film ever made.

  40. Fabio Fantone says:

    To compare the experience of watching Raiders of the Lost Ark to being put through a Cuisinart and not in a good way is preposterous. Hopefully Ms. Kael went on to focus on reviews of other genre movies because obviously action movies are (were?) too fast paced for her. For the author of this article to say the beginning temple scene in South America is sensory overload is absolutely ridiculous. It is so perfectly executed–its not like they are running through the temple and all this stuff is flying out from the walls while spiders fall from the ceiling. Everything happens in deliberate stages up to when Indy grabs the idol.

    Wow, seriously, how do these people become movie critics in the first place?? It makes you wonder if they were even watching the movie intently in the first place.

  41. taime says:

    Eh. The pacing of this movie is bad. Too quick at times and then it drags on at others. It doesn't hold my attention. It often gets compared to "Star Wars" but "Star Wars" is by far the better film.

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