Justifiably one of the most indelible adventure films in cinematic history, Raiders of the Lost Ark boasts a myriad of positive attributes that effectively compensate for the relatively uneventful and overly talky opening hour. While one would have to be flat-out insane to refer to any aspect of the movie as dull, it's ultimately impossible to deny that the pacing within the first half just seems off somehow - as screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan initially places a far more prominent emphasis on expository conversations and sequences than entirely necessary. Still, the storyline - which follows archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he attempts to track down the fabled Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis - has been peppered with a number of appreciatively engaging elements that ensure there's more going on here than just a series of brilliantly conceived and executed action set-pieces (with the undercurrent of humor nicely breaking up the tension at certain intervals). At the film's heart, however, lies Ford's virtually flawless turn as the central character; outfitted with Jones' iconic whip and fedora, Ford effortlessly transforms Indy into a figure that's often as cool as he is relatable - a vibe that's undoubtedly heightened by the actor's palpable chemistry with costar and love interest Karen Allen (as Jones' former flame Marion Ravenwood). It's also worth noting that the aforementioned pacing issues inevitably become irrelevant, as there reaches a point at which the increasingly propulsive narrative essentially carries the movie through to its appropriately memorable conclusion. Steven Spielberg's refreshingly (and expectedly) old-school visual sensibilities cement Raiders of the Lost Ark's place as a modern classic, and it does go without saying that none of the sequels have quite managed to successfully duplicate the film's seamless blend of action and comedy (ie the second possesses too much of the former, while the third is almost overflowing with the latter).


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