Raiders of the Lost Ark

Movie Information

Sponsored by the merchants of the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville, Walk-In Theater will present Raiders of the Lost Ark on Friday, April 11, at dusk in the parking lot behind the building. Admission is free, and as usual, patrons are asked to leave pets and coolers at home, but to bring lawn chairs.
Genre: Action-Adventure
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies
Rated: PG

The Indiana Jones movies are so completely entrenched in pop culture that they’re quite immune from criticism. There’s no point in me detailing my own lack of enthusiasm for the series, which first saw light of day in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark. By way of revving up for the May 22 release of the fourth entry, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Walk-In Theater is bringing back Raiders for its opening act of the season. And while it strikes me as the sort of movie that will be owned by anyone who’s keen on it (then again, there are people who call in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to radio-request programs), it certainly presents a terrific opportunity for Indy-philes to get together and see the film in a body—as it was meant to be seen. And truth to tell, I have nothing against the film for what it is. I’m just not wild about what it is.

As an attempt to duplicate the feel of a 1940s serial, Raiders is hard to fault, except that its budget and postmodern clever screenplay bears little relation to the cardboard-and-cheese world of the actual serial film. For me, the cleverness and the slick effects completely miss the charm of the real thing, but that’s also the shrewdness of the concept. Raiders took a quaint concept and gussied it up so that it had massive appeal to a modern audience. (Try showing a real serial to an audience now and see how fast you empty the theater.) And it’s an approach that’s proved to have staying power, offering something close to nonstop, cleverly engineered action and the best melting Nazis money could buy. I’m not at all sure you could reasonably ask for anything more given the aims of the movie.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

4 thoughts on “Raiders of the Lost Ark

  1. DM

    The original Raiders of the Lost Ark is playing outside behind the Bledsoe Building this Saturday night. Bring a lawn chair and a cooler.

    Orbit DVD
    783 1/2 Haywood Rd. West Asheville, (828) 251-1337 US

  2. For those that don’t know, this is the first Walk in Theater movie of the season. It is FREE and shown behind our store this Friday night at dusk (Haywood Road location). Beer and food are provided by the Westville Pub (no outside alcohol please) and there is no rain date. See ya there!

    We are now in our fifth season of Walk in Theater and hope for many many more.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.