‘Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in review

Part-time archeology professor, full-time hero



In this still from the film Indiana Jones faces his biggest fear, literally.

It’s not often a professor of archeology saves the day anymore. Superheroes don’t go trading in their cape and tights for a bullwhip, well-worn fedora and satchel.

But heroes come in all shapes and sizes and Indiana Jones is truly the original action-hero.

There’s a saying that the original is always the greatest, and that rings true with the first film of the “Indiana Jones” saga, “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Directed by Steven Spielberg, this Hollywood action adventure saga has remained a classic ever since its release in 1981.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) escapes death not once, but twice in the opening scenes of the film, setting the stage for the epic adventure that is about to unfold.

Jones makes his escape from a cave filled with tarantulas and booby traps as any action star would: swinging from a vine into the river, where his plane awaits him.

This is merely the beginning of this not-so-average archeologist’s adventures.

The film takes place in 1936 during the rise of Adolf Hitler in which Jones battles snakes, bad guys wielding scimitars and of course, Nazis.

Jones is a clever, but not pompous, part-time archeologist professor who plays the role of hero in his spare time. He is bold, adventurous, and nearly fearless. His character is not only daring but quick witted; each line leads to a laugh, or the makings of an epic catch phrase.

Jones is hired by the United States government to find the long lost Ark of the Covenant, which once contained the Ten Commandments as handed down to Moses, on their originally inscribed tablets.The only problem is, the Nazis are already after it. Hitler has hopes to use the Ark in order to make his troops invincible and take over the world, as any villain does.

Along his journey, Jones nicknamed “Indy” must first find a medallion which happens to be in the possession of his old fling, Marion (Karen Allen). Despite initial differences, the two become a dynamic power couple, working together to get their hands on the Ark.

Marion is a refreshing heroine for her time. First introduced to viewers holding her weight in a drinking contest, viewers see Marion is a woman who can take care of herself. However, she isn’t afraid to be the damsel in distress every once and awhile, as long as she gave it her all.

Jones never leads you to believe he is infallible either. Like Marion, he sometimes could use a little help.

Throughout the film, he faces a frustrating number of ups and downs, which keep viewers wondering if he is really going to make it. The fact he often admits “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go,” reminds us he is still human, despite his ridiculous upper body strength and problem-solving skills.

This film’s nostalgic delight alone may be enough to please viewers, but Indy himself is ultimately key to the cinematic success of the film. His charming personality matched with his “never give up” attitude entices the adventurer in all of us.

The movie will play at 7 p.m. Friday, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in Woodland Theater.