‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’ in IMAX still a thrill
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 23:09
Every few years or so, a monumental film comes along. A film so groundbreaking, well executed and (generally lacking these days) original, that it enters the pop culture lexicon and is adored for generations to come by filmgoers all around the world.
In 1981, one such film was called “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (also known as “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”). Produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film starred Hollywood icon Harrison Ford as the archeology professor/adventurer Henry “Indiana” Jones. “Raiders” was the first film in the “Indiana Jones” franchise. In recognition of the imminent release of the Indiana Jones Blu-ray collection later this month, the film was re-released into IMAX theaters for a limited engagement this past weekend.
A period piece set in 1936, the film chronicles the adventurers’ journey to find the fabled Hebrew artifact, the “Ark of the Covenant,” before Nazi Germany can obtain it. Along the way, Indy runs into a colorful cast of allies including the feisty Marion Ravenwood and the jolly Sallah, as they aid him in his quest to beat the Nazis and rival French archeologist René Belloq to the Ark.
But you know this story, or at least you should. With a perfect blend of well-rehearsed action, humor, thrills and awe-inspiring wonder, “Raiders” has stood for the past three decades as the epitome of the great American adventure film. Its iconic scenes, from the introductory temple idol sequence all the way to the climactic Nazi face melting, stand the test of time as some of the most thrilling in cinema history, as does Ford’s impeccable performance.
The stunts and action scenes hold up incredibly well today. In an age where Hollywood films rely increasingly less and less on traditional stunt work and practical special effects, eschewing them for cheaper computer-generated imagery (the latest “Indiana Jones” film included), it is absolutely refreshing to see a film that uses next to none of those effects. Almost everything you see was accomplished live with real stuntmen or with the use of models.
To say Lucasfilm did a fantastic job with the film’s HD restoration is a gross understatement. Following up on their work with the “Star Wars” Blu-ray release last year, the studio has outdone itself. Keep in mind that the screening was presented in IMAX, the largest wide-commercial format screen in the world, with state of the art resolution. So, when I tell you that I saw no more than two quick specs of film grain throughout the entire presentation, I truly mean it. The detail is so extensive that I found myself noticing even the most minute of details, such as a fan blowing in the background during a close up of Indy, to the sweat on the brows of numerous characters.
The sound was also remastered for this movie and for the forthcoming Blu-ray release. Everything from John William’s iconic score to Ben Burtt’s sound design were absolutely unbelievable in full HD surround sound.
The new remastering of the film’s audio and video were so well done that the film almost looks like it could have been shot yesterday.
It was a true thrill to see Indy on the big screen, and the HD presentation remastered for IMAX was absolutely technically flawless. The timeless tale has been complimented with modern technical HD prowess. One of cinema’s greatest heroes is just as much fun to watch today as he most certainly was 31 years ago, and with the imminent release of the Blu-ray set, you can be assured that he’ll be here for a long, long time.