The iconic brown fedora. The bullwhip. The Raiders March. The instant those three elements combine, only one thing comes to mind: Indiana Jones.
In 1980, Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and George Lucas set out to make an updated version of the classic adventure serials of the '30s and '40s. Impressed by his work as the scoundrel Han Solo in the Star Wars series, the producers chose Harrison Ford to play archeologist and adventurer, Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones.
The film that started it all, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is getting a one-week limited release in IMAX theaters from September 7 to 13.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) stands as one of the greatest action-adventure films ever made. Film geeks fawn over how its combination of action, suspense, humor and supernatural elements are expertly pulled together by Spielberg’s directing, Lucas’ and Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay and Ford’s grizzly charisma.
The film’s success led to Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). The latter film teams Indy with his father, Professor Henry Jones, played perfectly by Sean Connery. We won’t bring up 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ever.
The Indiana Jones films are what movie theaters are built for: spectacle on the biggest canvas available. And yet, you find people — your significant other, child, mother-in-law or that odd co-worker — that hasn’t seen Indy on the big screen, if ever. With two special screenings of these classic films hitting Austin, fans need to treat their friends and family to a proper introduction to Dr. Jones.
As part of its 70MM At The Ritz series, The Alamo Drafthouse is showing Last Crusade through Wednesday, September 5. The 70mm format projects a sharp, rich and breathtaking picture when compared to the standard 35mm or digital projection. What this means is, the story of Indy and his dad taking on the Nazi’s is going to look spectacular.
The film that started it all, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is getting a one-week limited release in IMAX theaters from September 7 to 13. Thankfully, Steven Spielberg learned from the debacle that swirled around his decision to digitally remove guns in a recent “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” theatrical re-release. The only touch-ups in “Raiders” are a digitally re-mastered picture and an enhanced surround-sound audio that’s sure to make that rolling ball feel like it’s rolling down the theater aisle.
The Indy films are a throwback to the times when we got human heroes in our films.
First timers need to see Indiana Jones in an a theatrical setting to get the full effect. The breakneck pacing of many scenes lose luster when interrupted every 15 minutes for commercial breaks. Even the 42” flatscreen experience falls flat when competing with household distractions and the pause button. Raiders is 115 minutes of action. Bring newbies, and buckle them in.
Part of what makes these films timeless is that the central character, while being a world-traveling adventurer, is human. Younger generations are used to having heroes that have super powers. Translated to film, there’s simply no joy cheering for a candy-coated CGI Spider Man not leaping across the New York City skyline. Indy relies on his wits and fists. The Indy films are a throwback to the times when we got human heroes in our films.
For most film junkies, it's hard to imagine a life without Indiana Jones. So, it’s always fascinating to meet someone like Cee Angi, who puts her loves of writing and baseball to good use on her blog Baseball-Prose.com. She hasn’t seen any of the Indy films, but (get ready guys..) any of the Star Wars or Back To The Future films either. When I asked if it was a conscious choice not to see any of the those iconic films, she said:
Perhaps. It's interesting, though, given how much these movies are part of culture, I feel like I've seen them before. The story lines and characters have become such common place, I know the premise of the films, parts of the plot and I certainly recognize the characters.
That said, I've really had no interest in seeing the movies. Perhaps it's a conscious hold out, but I guess it's a lack of interest. Seems like a poor excuse for something that has such popularity, and I certainly don't pride myself on being a contrarian.
While she won’t be venturing off to see Raiders in IMAX, she does understand why the re-release of this film is a big deal. "I do like the fact that people in my age-bracket have the opportunity to experience a childhood favorite on the big screen as an adult, especially if it's something they can share with their children."
These are films for fans of all ages. They pack every frame with exciting stunts and memorable moments. They remind us why we make the effort to get the babysitter, pre-order the tickets, spring for the jumbo popcorn and simply soak in the magic.
We’ll never be able to relive the first time we saw these films on the big screen, but being there for someone's first adventure with Indiana Jones just might be the next best thing.