In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
This movie opens with Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) wandering through a jungle. Somehow they stumble upon a cave. A cave of wonders I suppose. How did these ancient people build a boobytrap that is activated by someone blocking the sunlight? How does that work at night? Who comes along and makes sure all these pressure plate arrows haven’t gone bad?
Moving on, there is a golden head which Indy thinks he is going to trade with a bag of sand. I’m pretty sure he’d need something like 8 times as much sand as the volume of that head. Regardless that doesn’t explain why the trap sinks down for lighter sand. Indy then attends the school of Prometheus in ‘How to Run Away From Things’ as he flees a boulder.
Outside Indy is caught, and a Frenchman (Paul Freeman) takes the idol from him and then sends all the natives to kill him. Indy runs towards the river and asks his pilot Jock to start the plane. Except, at the beginning of this movie Indy had two other people with him, and this plane clearly holds a maximum of two people. So where did the other two sit? Indy narrowly escapes.
Back in the states Professor Jones is teaching a class which seems to be 95% women. As class is dismissed Brody (Denholm Elliott) asks him how he failed. Indy has no excuses. They meet with some U.S. Government men who want Indy to look for the lost Ark of the Covenant. I don’t know why they bother, given his track record, but whatever. They decide to travel by map ala the Muppets. The first place he goes is a seedy bar in Nepal.
Is there anything more attractive than an alcoholic woman? Probably a lot of things. Marion (Karen Allen) accuses Indy of taking advantage of her when she was underage. I guess now we know why he has so many women in his 1930s archeology class. He is a despicable man who preys on young women. He wants something from Marion what he calls a “worthless copper trinket.” Has he ever not lied to women?
Indy leaves and some Nazis show up, They also want the amulet. A fight breaks out between them and Marion and Indy. You know they are taking the fight seriously when in the middle of it Marion the Alcoholic stops to drink something spilling out of a keg before continuing. Marion’s bar burns to the ground and they travel by map to Cairo, Egypt.
In Cairo we are introduced to Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) who is helping the Nazis with their search for the Ark, but also sees an opportunity to double deal them and work with Indy. They just sort of wander around Cairo for awhile and then a monkey gets Marion kidnapped. That is really how it went down.
So Gimli and Indy then break into an underground vault whose sole purpose is to lead them to another underground vault. In the meantime the Frenchman is trying to seduce Marion. And we are treated to Marion’s alcoholism again. She probably has to drink from all the damage Indy did to her as a teenager.
Indy finds the Ark. They have it hoisted out of the tomb. The Ark is now in the possession of Indy. This tomb is full of asps and they periodically seem to spray them with gasoline and burn them. And yet an unlimited supply keeps pouring into this chamber. From where? For what purpose? None of this makes sense.
Just as Indy is about to leave the tomb the Frenchman shows up and tosses Marion into the pit. The Ark is now in the possession of the Nazis. Indy then destroys a historical tomb to selfishly save himself (so much for preserving stuff that belongs in a museum) and they escape. The Ark is to be flown out of Egypt. Indy has a fisticuffs match with a couple of men. Marion (still drunk) kills a bunch of people, and the plane explodes.
The next day the Germans decide instead to move the Ark by truck. Despite his betrayal to the Nazis several times, somehow Gimli is still alive and gives Indy a horse. Indy boards the truck like a train robber and then has a lengthy fight against a truck full of men and is able to kill them all and escape pursuit. The Ark is now in the possession of Indy.
Indy and Marion book passage with a man that might be a pirate. Things are winding up on the boat for Marion and Indy to have the sexy times, but fortunately Indy passes out. He won’t be allowed to take advantage of a vulnerable Marion this time. The next morning the ship is stopped. The Nazis have found them using a submarine. They search the ship and kidnap Marion, yet again, and take the cargo, yet again. The Ark is now in the possession of the Nazis.
Indy somehow swims over and hides on a pre-World War 2 submarine. A quick Google search says those things held a crew of around 30 people. And they have the Frenchman and Marion. So where exactly did Indy stow away on this tiny vessel? And somehow they also loaded the Ark onto it. Submarines aren’t known for their huge cargo doors or holding areas.
The submarine arrives at a secret Nazi base. Indy once again defies logic and our suspension of disbelief and gets off the submarine. He promptly knocks out not one but two German guards to steal their uniforms. He then has the absurd idea of pointing a rocket-propelled grenade at the convoy, somehow believing he would come out ahead. He is of course captured.
Now the Frenchman performs the Jewish rites on the Ark in preparation of opening it. Indy and Marion are tied to a stake a little ways off. The Nazis open it and find only sand. At this point a fake electronic light show that would make the Ghostbuster frauds proud reveals a bunch of ghosts. The ghosts get angry and all the Nazis and the Frenchman are killed. The Ark is now in possession of Indy.
Back in the United States of America. Indy and Brody are complaining to the government agents who apparently have taken the Ark from them. The Ark is then stored in a comically huge warehouse. I don’t think the U.S. has enough secrets to fill even half of the space in that place. The Ark is now in the possession of the U.S. government. At least now Indy can get back to his sexual predatory ways at the college.
The Big Bang Theory summed this movie up best. Indy is inconsequential to the outcome of the film.
One thought on “Jack’s Bad Movies: Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)”
I love Indiana Jones.