All four Indiana Jones films are being released on Blu-Ray in October and to celebrate, Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic Raiders Of The Lost Ark is receiving a limited, IMAX re-release. For anyone who doesn’t know, Raiders Of The Lost Ark is the first and arguably the best Indiana Jones film. The story is set in 1931 and archaeologist Dr Jones/Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is trying to find the Ark of the Covenant. But also on the trail are the Nazi’s who want to find the treasure and bring it back to the Führer. So begins an epic, action packed adventure that is a modern version of the 1930′s movie serials that both Spielberg and producer George Lucas loved.
I’m sure almost everyone has seen the film already so I won’t go into too much detail about the plot but be rest assured that key scenes like the exhilarating opener where Indy has to run away from the rolling boulder look awesome on the giant IMAX screen. But like most films that are up-scaled to fit the IMAX format, Raiders Of The Lost Ark does have a couple of minor issues. You have some obvious graininess but it’s not too distracting and (thankfully) none of the special effects have been redone, so some may find that they look a bit dated, especially the blue screen effect when Indy is opening the Well of Souls. But I’m glad that Spielberg didn’t go back and tidy up the effects in the same way he did for E.T’s re-release, Raiders Of The Lost Ark retains its old school charm and the imperfections give you a warm nostalgic feeling as you watch it. I can’t imagine Major Toht’s face melting looking half as horrific and effective if it was CGI.
Another reason to go watch the film on the IMAX screen is that little details like the ”love you” written on the eyes of the student as she blinks at Dr Jones are crystal clear, as is Belloq (Paul Freeman) accidentally eating a fly while he delivers his lines. You will also find yourself examining all the sets, looking for things you may have missed watching the film on a normal TV. And thanks to the IMAX DMR process, the sound is spectacular with John Williams score sounding fresh and every arrow and gunshot flying over your head.
Considering the film is over 30 years old, it still has all the qualities that made it so popular in the first place. Spielberg is on top form and re-watching this, it’s a clear reminder of how good he is at putting together a heart pounding action romp and why he is one of the best directors ever to work in Hollywood. Harrison Ford keeps the balance between lovable rouge and charming a-hole perfectly and Karen Allen is excellent as the feisty Marion Ravenwood, she also looks twice as hot on the giant screen.
Funny, exciting, action packed and fun, Raiders Of The Lost Ark is everything that a Hollywood blockbuster should be and it well worth experiencing on the IMAX Screen.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark is showing at the BFI IMAX in London from 21st to 27th September 2012.
This article was first posted on September 22, 2012