Knee-jerk review: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in IMAX

1. "Snakes.  Why did it have to be snakes?"
2. Remember when Paramount was a Gulf +Western company?
3. We don't recall the pacing and editing being this fast and this lean.  There's no time wasted anywhere.  It's one set piece and one sequence after another, bang bang bang.  Maybe we have a different memory because of so many airings on television, which slices and dices everything for the commercials and stalls the momentum.
4. People (including us) had big problems with the silly alien element of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  But look at this ending.  Angels and demons and melting faces and laser beams of holy wrath.  That's pretty out there, too.  Ditto the guy who gets his beating heart ripped out in Temple of Doom and the 1000-year-old knight guarding a magic cup in The Last Crusade.
5. Whatever happened to Paul Freeman?
6. It may be one of the best lines ever.  "It's not the years, honey.  It's the mileage."  Gold.
7. The story may hold up, but this is still an old movie.  The special effects and the process shots all look surprisingly grainy and shaky.  But we appreciate that Spielberg hasn't pulled a Lucas and gone back to polish it all up.
8. When we were younger, the dialogue scenes between the action scenes were the boring parts.  But as we get older, it's clear that this is where the real story lies.  Most notable are the lines dropped throughout that fill in Indiana and Marion's troubled backstory.  Just how young was Marion when Indiana fooled around with her?  Eek.
9. We also never really appreciated until now how much of a skeptic Indiana is when we first meet him. He doesn't believe in the supernatural.  Even as he's telling the Army intelligence officers about the Ark's Biblical power, he's barely able to keep from rolling his eyes.  He's Dana Scully.  And then at the end of the movie, he gets it.  It's all real.  These aren't just objects for a museum.  These things have power.  "Close your eyes, Marion!"
10. We're older now than Harrison Ford was when he made this movie.
11. "Throw me the whip!"
12. Raiders of the Lost Ark is 31 years old.  That's as old as Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve (both released in 1950) was in 1981 when Raiders was released.  Something to think about.
13. "We are... we are not thirsty."
14. Somehow we saw a behind-the-scenes featurette on how they painstakingly choreographed and filmed the Nepal bar fight, shot by shot, set-up by set-up.  This was a huge influence on sharpening our obsession with movies and Hollywood.
15. We may finally understand the appeal of Karen Allen.  She's not conventionally attractive, but there's a zesty, sexy spunk to her.  Marion really is Indiana's equal.  A hard drinker and a hard fighter.
16. "They're digging in the wrong place."
17. Can you really fling a grown man through a truck windshield with one hand?
18. This movie wouldn't work as well as it does without John Williams' score.  Yes, we bought the soundtrack.  On LP.
19. Check out the way Spielberg shoots Ford when the workers are opening the lid to the Well of Souls.  Lightning behind him, eyes wild, sweaty face.  Indiana looks like a crazy person, presumably to underscore his obsession.
20. "Bad dates."
21. How many bullwhips were sold in the 1980s because of this movie?  Just curious.
22. They also hit pretty hard that film-school cliche of the villain being a mirror image of the hero.  First Belloq says it explicity in the cafe.  "I am a shadowy reflection of you."  And then later, in case you didn't get it, in that bazooka scene (even though Indiana initially says he only wants Marion) Indiana realizes he's just as interested in opening the Ark as Belloq.  
23. If you're a film buff, you better know the difference between real IMAX and fake IMAX.  We saw Raiders in fake IMAX because believe it or not, in all of Los Angeles there are only two real IMAX theaters and neither was showing it.
24. We'll never think of this movie as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Sorry, George Lucas.
25. We noticed for the first time that Dr. Jones' female students are all making dreamy goo-goo eyes at him. It's not just the girl with "love you" written on her eyelids. 
26. One of Hollywood's most memorable film deaths is surely the bald Nazi who gets shredded by the plane propellor.  Sprrratt.
27. Speaking of which, as epic and memorable as the truck chase is, the better sequence is probably the one that precedes it with the flying wing.  Everything that can go wrong does go wrong as the danger and the violence escalate.
28. We still probably could have done without the monkey.
29. Applause moments during our screening: the Paramount logo, Indiana first stepping into the sunlight when he bullwhips the double-crosser in the jungle, Indiana smirking at Marion in the bar and saying "Trust me," and the end credits.
30. "Top.  Men."
31. At this point is there anyone who hasn't heard the story behind the scene when Indiana just pulls a gun and shoots the big Arab dude with the scimitar?
32. Dear Raiders of the Lost Ark, thank you for existing.  Sincerely, the Cheese Fry.

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