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Arbogast1960's Movie Reviews (50)

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Raiders of the Lost Ark 
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
4/4 stars

Spielberg's original homage to 1930s/40s-era serials is one of the finest action films ever made. Despite providing the template for so many misbegotten mindless action extravaganzas since its release, none has managed to improve upon Spielberg's remarkable blend of wit, cleverness, and visual ingenuity. The opening sequence is still one of the most thrilling in the history of cinema, no matter how many times it has been mimicked--one look at that huge boulder hurtling toward Indy and the pulse races. Spielberg also wisely uses Harrison Ford to his strengths--never a particularly gifted actor, Ford here is allowed to use his innate charm, rugged good looks, and rough humor to make Indy an endearing hero, simultaneously believable and larger than life. Karen Allen provides the finest heroine of the series, fiery and self-sufficient. The film is endlessly rewatchable, and these additional viewings reveal how remarkable a bit of craftsmanship Spielberg turned out. Like so many of the films that have followed, Raiders is really just a string of set pieces strung together on plot and characterization no sturdier than a clothesline. In this sense, it closely resembles Hitchcock's great North by Northwest. And like Hitchcock's triumph of affable action, this run of entertaining sequences--so easily turned into rubbish in the hands of a lesser crew--rides the insouciance of its stars and the masterful skill of its director to greatness.


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