In this launch of the new Fictionphile Podcast, the crew analyzes why Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is truly a masterpiece.
In this launch of the new Fictionphile Podcast, the crew analyzes why Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is truly a masterpiece. Topics include Harrison Ford being just perfect for the role, how awesome Marion Ravenwood is (but could have been even better), and how the film owes so much to its various homages. The crew also discuss the film’s lack of diversity and whether we should have learned more about Indiana Jones the professor.
For those experiencing hearing loss, and simply for your reference regardless, see the transcription below.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – James Bond Without the Hardware
Jason Boyd 0:22
Hello, everybody, welcome to the fiction file podcast where we explore the wide world of narrative entertainment from movies to literature and everything in between. My name is Jason Boyd. I’m the editor of fiction file. And I’m joined remotely today by managing editor Corrine Asbell.
Corrine Asbell 0:38
Jason Boyd 0:40
Also somewhere in cyberspace. We have associate editor Dalton McCay. Good day to you, Dalton.
Dalton McCay 0:46
And a good day to you, sir.
Jason Boyd 0:49
Thank you very much. Appreciate that. All right. Well, we’re all in good cheer. So today, we’ll be poring over a single work of fiction. After we introduce this single work of art, we’ll be discussing what makes it enjoyable. What makes it a work of art in the first place. What makes it universally relatable. And finally, we’ll talk about what it could have done better. So now that we have our format, what piece of narrative entertainment are we talking about today, Corrine?
Introducing the Work of Fiction
Corrine Asbell 1:19
We’re gonna be looking at Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was later marketed as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film was released on June 12, 1981 by Paramount Pictures, starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and Paul Freeman. Raiders was directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kazdin. Produced by Frank Marshall. And it all began as a story in George Lucas’s head. It’s considered one of the best action adventure movies of all time, and in 1999, it was included in the US Library of Congress National Film Registry as a cultural, historical, or aesthetically significant film.
Dalton McCay 1:56
As the Third Reich continues its Reign of Terror. Adolf Hitler is on a quest for the legendary Ark of the Covenant, resting place of the 10 commandments whose supernatural powers legend says can wipe out entire armies. The US government turns to Dr. Indiana Jones for the mission. Relentlessly pursued by Hitler’s henchmen, he infiltrates their massive digging operation in a race against time to discover the Well of Souls where the Ark has lain undisturbed for centuries.
Jason Boyd 2:31
All right, cool. Well, I’m ready to watch the movie again. I’ve already seen this before. So let’s just go over the critical consensus. So on IMDB, it’s right now sitting at 8.4 out of 10 stars. Metacritic has it at 85 as a meta score. That’s actually pretty good. Metacritic is brutal. So Rotten Tomatoes, critics have it at 95% and audiences have it at 96%. So, I think we’ve got it. If you guys haven’t seen this one at home, you might want to watch it first. Well, you know, people were born after this was made. I’m not gonna judge. There’s a Gen Z listening, hopefully. But yes, where have you been? But go watch it. Now. Pause this and come back, because we’re going to be spoiling it. So you don’t want to be spoiled.
Dalton McCay 3:34
Spoiler so much.
What Makes Raiders of the Lost Ark Enjoyable?
Jason Boyd 3:37
Exactly. Yeah–plot twist. Okay, so let’s start with what makes Raiders of the Lost Ark enjoyable.
Corrine Asbell 3:47
See, I’d say it have to be the characters. I mean, you can look at the movie–if it’s well written and beautifully filmed and stuff like that. If the characters don’t have any kind of depth, it’s going to be a lackluster movie. I mean, personally, I think Harrison Ford was the best casting choice for Indiana Jones. He truly makes the roll his own. He makes Indiana as a smart, charming rogue. He’s persistent. No matter how many times he gets beat up or captured, he still gets back up. And he heads on through the temple. Looking for the Ark, he can hold his own in a fight and look good while doing it. That’s probably the hat though. And then, honestly, I think Marion Ravenwood is probably the best female lead in any of the Indiana Jones movies. She’s kind of a badass and not just because she can drink so many people under the table. She’s ruthless, she takes advantage of any opportunities. When she gets captured. She uses every chance she can to escape and has no problem using every weapon available to her whether it’s going to be her sexuality, or an actual weapon, and she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. And to me just those two characters being the different archetypes that they are just really makes us film. They play off each other really well.
Jason Boyd 5:04
Yeah, yeah, no, I agree. And let’s get Dalton–let’s chime in on those points before we move on to yours. But yeah, I agree that really it’s a character focused story. And I think Harrison Ford honestly carries the movie as he’s kind of supposed to.
Corrine Asbell 5:26
In this one, yeah.
Jason Boyd 5:28
But you know, this definitely was of that era where the lead actor of an action movie was the only person recognizable. And it was definitely like, where, hey, you know, he’s gonna have 10 times more dialogue than everyone else. And he was great for it. So really couldn’t have done it without him.
Dalton McCay 5:52
Yeah. So yeah.
Corrine Asbell 5:54
It’s hard to believe that George Lucas didn’t even want to cast him to begin with.
Jason Boyd 5:59
Yeah, it was Tom Selleck wasn’t it?
Corrine Asbell 6:01
Hmm. And that fell through because of the Magnum PI–I think–TV show filming. George Lucas still was kind of hesitant because he had just come off Star Wars. But he got the right ground in the end.
Jason Boyd 6:15
Yeah, you know, I can’t wait to go to that Magnum PI ride at Universal Studios.
Dalton McCay 6:26
Tom Selleck, like, just imagine for a minute, Tom Selleck in this role.
Corrine Asbell 6:34
The mustache that…
Dalton McCay 6:36
Yeah. Or you know, digitally edited off.
Corrine Asbell 6:40
I don’t think ILM was quite at those levels back in the 80s. Yeah.
Jason Boyd 6:47
Yeah, I just don’t know that… I mean, it probably would not have been a horrible movie, but it probably wouldn’t have the charm because he would have taken himself way too seriously, like way more seriously than Harrison Ford does in movies.
Corrine Asbell 7:02
Jason Boyd 7:04
Okay, so what what do you think makes Raiders of the Lost Ark enjoyable?
Dalton McCay 7:09
Well, to me that this movie has charisma. I mean, it’s adventure, it’s humor, it has… it has a really kind of a unique setting. It’s sort of a timeless setting even though they’re fighting Nazis. I mean, we’re fighting Nazis today, but like, there’s really not a huge tell as to what era this movie is set in. You can watch it at any time and it’s exactly the same. Something else that is enjoyable, the musical score. Like John Williams definitely makes this movie more enjoyable. I don’t know if you guys ever watched Wishbone back in the day? The dog the Jack Russell Terrier.
Corrine Asbell 8:09
Of course, he’s adorable.
Dalton McCay 8:11
Yeah. So for those of you who don’t know who wishbone is, he’s a jack Russell Terrier that talks and he used to be on…
Jason Boyd 8:21
Oh, it was the PBS…
Corrine Asbell 8:23
Dalton McCay 8:24
Yeah. And he used to teach history through stories only in, you know, through the eyes of Wishbone, a highly intelligent Jack Russell Terrier dog. But there was one episode where they did David versus Goliath and they did a behind the scenes with the actor that plays Goliath coming out of the tent and then they… they played it again with no music. And it like changed the way that I think of things like that to this day. So music, definitely impacts this entire movie and characters, as Corinne said, but really like, everything that combines together to create the ambience behind the characters is equally important and creates that enjoyment to me.
Corrine Asbell 9:30
Yeah, that is true. I would say that the score really does help and you know, having john Williams do it, it’s automatically gonna be an amazing score. So, yeah, I couldn’t imagine the movie without the underlying music.
Jason Boyd 9:47
Yeah, and speaking of Wishbone, I’m pretty sure wishbone played Indiana Jones. In a few episodes. I’m sure at least once. It’d be too cute to see him as Indiana Jones. Yes, and I agree. So my take, you know, yeah, I do think the characters, the ambience, I think all of that plays into it. But to me, the thing that makes the film is the humor, because it’s just enough that it makes it fun. But yet, you don’t disbelieve it or take it too lightly. You do think that there’s life and death. And it’s that kind of roguish humor that it almost pioneered, really, Harrison Ford kind of as the model for that. And it’s just, you know, you can make a good action movie you can set it in a great location. You can, you know, do all this but the humor is what kind of makes it, to me, most fun to watch. Now, I also kind of just have this theory that I think people in America just really love sand
Corrine Asbell 11:12
Unless you’re Anakin Skywalker.
Jason Boyd 11:14
Right, but he’s not an America. So, again, my point is that people in America, I think, just love sand. I mean, I feel like honestly, if I was going to direct a movie today, I would just set it in a desert somewhere and go to the desert. Like, you know, Tunisia. And it would be a blockbuster. I don’t know of a movie that was set in the desert, that actually went to the desert, that wasn’t a hit.
Corrine Asbell 11:43
That’s a valid point. You just remember when you take your movie to Tunisia, be like Spielberg, eat nothing but canned food and drink bottled water. You don’t want to be sick like the entire cast was of, you know, the Indiana Jones.
Jason Boyd 11:59
Well it’s a good thing that my movie is about canned food. It’s going to be a canned food Odyssey set in the desert of Tunisia.
Corrine Asbell 12:12
I like it already. Let’s get on the filming.
What Makes Raiders of the Lost Ark a Work of Art?
Jason Boyd 12:14
Thanks. so much. Alright, so let’s get rolling with a podcast about that. But uh, alright, let’s move on. So I think we’ve all agreed that people love sand. What makes Raiders of the Lost Ark a work of art? So, let me let me start with this one. I think, honestly, the thing that really makes it a work of art, which to me means that it’s going to have a lasting cultural significance, that it’s actually something that elevates it above just a normal movie that’s just for entertainment… is intertextuality. So intertextuality is basically where different genres and different works of fiction, or narrative entertainment in general, speak to one another. So they rely on one another. They rely on the audience’s or readers’ awareness of the other. So they almost develop a shorthand because of your familiarity with other things. So we know that they were, you know, Lucas was… heavily influenced by action adventure film serials of the 1930s/1940s. Steven Spielberg wanted to do a James Bond movie. And that was actually his impetus for this because George Lucas brought it up to him as an alternative. We could do this Indiana Jones character I have, and Spielberg actually called it “James Bond without the hardware.” Which… Indy has hardware. He’s got the whip. But still, you know, I guess it’s not that hard. It’s flexible. Strangely enough, a lot of the the traps in this movie, like the boulder scene, and a lot of just the deadly traps, were lifted out of Uncle Scrooge comic books. So that’s a close group…
Dalton McCay 14:14
Like Scrooge McDuck of Duck Tales fame of duck tail staying.
Jason Boyd 14:21
Exactly, exactly. And so, that’s just a piece of trivia. You have, you just have those kind of old, you know, campy stories of elaborate traps set by ancient civilizations, and it’s such a big part of Indiana Jones. And so that, they’re elements of comedy. You know, they just use modern comedy for a film set in, you know, wartime and the 30s and 40s. And also, I mean, let’s not forget that this is a fantasy movie. At its core. This is you know, whether you believe in you know religion or not, in the power of religion and some of these artifacts like the Ark of the Covenant, it has real power in the world that you have to agree is supernatural. And it basically enters into that fantasy realm.
Dalton McCay 15:23
Jason Boyd 15:24
Where you know you have… magic basically exists. And so that’s just a lot of things in a stew, in a soup. And to me, it can kind of stand out as culturally significant because it does speak for more than just itself. So to me, that’s the thing that makes it more than just a fun movie. Yeah. So, that being said, Corrine, what do you think makes this a work of art?
Corrine Asbell 15:59
I mean, personally, it’s gotta be the opening scene. I mean, you think about it, it’s probably one of the best film sequences ever, it’s starting us off showing us the finish to another adventure that we didn’t see. Which is another call back to the earlier cliffhangers that were famous in the 30s and 40s. And then you’ve got the pacing of the shots, it’s slow and with the wider shots to show how common it is up until they get to the booby traps. and how smart Indy is you know, with I think it was a torch–the wooden thing that he uses to block the air darts. And then as he walks up toward the idol, you see him get closer, closing in and you see the better shots, showing him moving and you can see him dodging the pratfalls on the floor. Pitfalls. I forgot the word I’m sorry. And then he switches out the sand for the golden idol. The shots become short and tighter. They’re showing how things are going wrong. And it’s just an amazing visual story just in the first few minutes. And I think it’s the best way we could be introduced to Indiana Jones. And then it’s the little details that went into the filmmaking. I mean, you think about, again, back to that first scene with all the spiders crawling over Satipo. And those were actual tarantulas. And they just used male spiders, and they wouldn’t move. It’s not… no visual effects or anything like that. They just had these spiders that were just kind of sitting there on this guy, until Spielberg had them put on a female spider. And then there’s all these spiders just crawling over Alfred Molina, and he’s just freaking out while they’re filming. And then they’re dealing with stuff like the snakes and the Well of Souls. The details. He wanted to… they originally wanted… they had like 2000 snakes, which is kind of a lot. And then that’s perfect. Yeah, to begin with, but that wasn’t for Spielberg. When they went ahead and shot the scene after he demanded more snakes. It was what? 10,000 snakes?
Jason Boyd 18:04
Corrine Asbell 18:05
Yeah. And it’s just little details. Like just things like that. They really just make the movie just practically art. Yeah.
Jason Boyd 18:18
You know, 10,000 Snakes is the name of my punk band. Yeah, great. Great points. Corinne, honestly, really great points and good bit of trivia there. Yeah.
Dalton McCay 18:39
Good. A lot of my artistic reasoning was based around the practical effects utilized in the film, because that’s something that I think isn’t utilized enough. anymore. There’s such a heavy reliance on CG and whatnot. It drives me nuts. One of the greatest films of this generation I think so far has been Mad Max Fury Road, right? And that was pretty much all practical effects. There were hardly any, if any, CG shots in it. So it’s… so an argument can’t really be made that well CG just makes it better because it doesn’t, you know, there’s such a… just a weightlessness to, to those effects where things like you know, 10,000 actual snakes and real tarantulas and real sounds. That will, you know, give give gravitas to it.
Jason Boyd 20:00
Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot easier to act scared of snakes when there’s 10,000 of them.
Dalton McCay 20:09
Yeah. You don’t have to be Harrison Ford to act that way.
Corrine Asbell 20:15
Well, no, Harrison actually said, I’m calling him Harrison, because clearly… because you know…
Dalton McCay 20:19
You’re on a first name basis.
Corrine Asbell 20:20
Yeah. Harrison Ford actually said once that when asked about the snake, “It’s just acting.” So Indiana Jones is scared to death of Cobra snakes, but Harrison Ford… not so much.
Jason Boyd 20:33
Oh yeah, I’m sure he was just…
Dalton McCay 20:36
Just petting them behind the scenes.
What Makes Raiders of the Lost Ark Universally Relatable?
Jason Boyd 20:41
So let’s move on. And Dalton, I’m gonna shoot this thing to you for the first round. But what makes Raiders of the Lost Ark universally relatable?
Dalton McCay 20:53
Universally relatable… well think that it is a film that was born from a thirst for adventure. I mean, let’s see, this is the same era… This is the era of Star Wars, you know? Yeah. Let’s see, this came out, I think before Empire, right? I believe so. Is this…
Corrine Asbell 21:29
Yes, you might be right. I’ve forgotten.
Jason Boyd 21:33
Empire Strikes Back was in 1989.
Corrine Asbell 21:36
Dalton McCay 21:40
83, was I think, okay. So a year after Empire Strikes Back comes out… Um, you know, we’re left with this void of adventure. Right? And so, this comes along to fill that void and It has been filled in such a way that it elevates the the average man. So, Indiana Jones is not just, I mean, the name has been become synonymous with some sort of folk legend or God, but in actuality, you know, Indiana is a… well I wouldn’t say an average man but he’s… he’s an above average man who takes the place of the hero. He’s not… he doesn’t have superpowers or anything. He uses his wits. Certainly not Batman in the same sense, but you know, that’s why everybody likes Batman.
Jason Boyd 22:42
Like James Bond.
Dalton McCay 22:44
Yeah. So we have the above average man. We have a strong female cohort. She’s not a damsel in distress. So you could look to the future as a female viewer and be like, “Oh, this movie has something for me.” You know? Yeah. Thinking on it. Is she Disney Princess now? Can we make her a Disney Princess?
Corrine Asbell 23:20
Oh, does Disney own Indiana Jones?
Jason Boyd 23:23
No, they don’t. But you know what? I’ll allow it.
Dalton McCay 23:30
Yes, they will one day anyway, so let’s just proactively call her a Disney princess.
Jason Boyd 23:36
I think she fits in she looks like one. She certainly has that kind of classic look.
Dalton McCay 23:42
Oh, yeah, it looks kind of like…
Jason Boyd 23:45
Belle from Beauty and the Beast?
Dalton McCay 23:47
Jason Boyd 23:48
Well, yeah, great points at all. And honestly, I think you’re kind of right on with that because Return the Jedi came out in 1983.
Dalton McCay 23:58
There we go.
Jason Boyd 23:59
And so it was right after Empire Strikes Back, which spoiler alert for Empire Strikes Back… You know, Han Solo gets put in carbonite. So you kind of have an interesting play there where he’s put in Carbonite and people were left kind of thinking, well, what’s going to happen to Han Solo? With a cliffhanger. In the next year, they get to see their favorite actor, character, or whatnot burst out and have fun and be alive. So it’s almost like seeing like, Han, come out of the Carbonite early. Yeah, so…
Corrine Asbell 24:42
Interesting Carbonite dream.
Dalton McCay 24:52
Interesting thought though… What if Indiana Jones was Han Solo’s Carbonite dream?
Jason Boyd 25:01
Oh, no, you’re onto something.
Dalton McCay 25:04
Now, I think I might be onto something there. I mean, you can imagine.
Corrine Asbell 25:14
Can you imagine though how people might have been worried after Empire comes out, seeing Han Solo, his feet up in the air, you know, and then Indiana Jones comes out and they’re like, oh, man, what if this is a sign that, you know, Han Solo is not ever coming out of Carbonite, because Harrison Ford’s moved on?
Dalton McCay 25:31
Oh, yeah, sure. I could. I could imagine being someone back then and thinking, What if the rumors are true?
Jason Boyd 25:39
Yeah, so yeah, there’s a lot of layers there. And then the intertextuality again, back to my wonderful point. Yeah.
Dalton McCay 25:45
Exactly. That plays in some other things that make it sort of universal not only, you know, about the every man and the every woman, but it’s a story about good and evil. And it also is not overly sexual but it is not sexless. It has violence, but it’s not gratuitous. So I guess what I’m saying is it’s basically what Disney could choose to be better at but presently actively avoiding.
Jason Boyd 26:25
Like it. Yeah, no, that’s a good point, and yeah, it’s a little something for everyone. It’s got all the essential ingredients. Yeah. So for me, I… you know, I think that you hit upon something there with it being, you know, about humans, essentially. And I think Indiana Jones does have a lot going for him. Especially in later movies, he becomes almost invincible. Sure. He survives nuclear attacks, or nuclear bombs.
Corrine Asbell 26:59
Oh, no. The fridge.
Jason Boyd 27:03
But that’s another spoiler for a later time. But he does have faults in this first movie in particular that we see where he’s, you know, he’s maybe selfish, he’s foolhardy, you know, he’s kind of cocky. So we almost can trick ourselves into thinking we could be him just because he’s just human enough. But, you know, I think the big thing to me that makes it relatable, and this is actually, funny enough, a huge Disney thing… is nostalgia.
Dalton McCay 27:35
Jason Boyd 27:36
Yeah. So it’s funny that you mentioned Disney earlier. But it’s totally… it’s not only nostalgic now because it was such a big deal at the time, and it’s part of you know… I think… I was actually technically born after this movie came out. But somehow it’s still nostalgia from my childhood. Okay, well technically, as in actually. But I was born after this movie came out. But yet it’s still part of my childhood. I feel like I was shocked to see that it was released so early. And it’s also… it’s nostalgic for those action adventure serials that George Lucas was inspired by. And through George Lucas ripping off things, he made the Star Wars movies. So… and it works for now’s nostalgia for that era of 80s filmmaking with the action-adventure and the sweaty guy with his chest bear. So to me… it just has so many layers… Well, I didn’t mean to get you guys all hot.
Corrine Asbell 28:50
Let me just real quick…
Jason Boyd 28:53
Yes, exactly, cold showers in order. But yeah, I think I think that it has nostalgia in droves. But let’s see, Corrine, what do you think makes Raiders of the Lost Ark universally relatable?
Corrine Asbell 29:10
Well, I mean, I’m just gonna go right on beating this dead horse here we’ve been talking about and the characters in Indiana Jones. I mean, personally, I don’t feel so much as that. He’s you know that every man that you can just see that everyone has a potential they can be Indiana Jones because of his flaws. But I just think the fact that he does have the deep flaws and they do put a lot of emphasis on it. I mean, if you look at it, Indiana Jones messes up a lot. He’s arrogant, and he’s somehow naive at the same time. If you think about how many times he gets fooled by the people he works with. But overall, he’s a layered and well written character and we actively root for him to succeed, despite his humanity, the flaws and things that happen. As for the faults, we’re looking at this guy, and we’re like, we want him to succeed, we want him to win. We want him to get everything that he’s striving for. And I think it’s just, it’s an amazing story from a narrative standpoint. And it’s a great example of plot driven storytelling.
Dalton McCay 30:21
Jason Boyd 30:23
Yeah, no, I definitely agree. And I don’t think you can beat on that horse–which I love beating on dead horses–but I don’t think you can do that too much with this kind of character because it’s… it’s in the title. I mean, well, the later title that they remarketed it as, but then future films… It’s Indiana Jones. He’s the movie. It’s whatever the subtitle is, is that installment. Yeah. So absolutely.
Corrine Asbell 30:53
the only three movies period that were ever made. Yeah, because–
Dalton McCay 31:03
For those of you just joining us, we were not actually beating Dead Horses. So don’t don’t add us.
Jason Boyd 31:09
No, I don’t own a horse. And I would not beat one I didn’t own.
Dalton McCay 31:14
I won’t. I wouldn’t.
What Could Raiders of the Lost Ark Have Done Better?
Jason Boyd 31:18
That’s where I draw the line. I will not beat a horse I don’t… But all right, well, while PETA prepares their statement, let’s move on to the next topic, which would be what could Raiders of the Lost Ark have done better? So Corrine, why don’t you start us off?
Corrine Asbell 31:40
I think what they could have done better is they could have had stronger female role models. I mean, I enjoy Marian and talked about her earlier, how she is such a good character. I mean, but she’s still stuck in the archetype of a damsel in distress. Like, she can’t escape by herself, she has to be rescued. You know, she doesn’t really like… she doesn’t really have like a life plan or anything like that other than to just, you know, she’s gonna drink everyone under the table. Just touching in this movie alone, not even talking about the other movies that come up. She could be a better role model for young women and girls today. I think I mean, it would just not even take that much. Just I mean, let her rescue herself, you know. There’s a classic scene, all the time, of someone rescues themselves and then right as the rescuer comes up, no… that would have taken anything from the movie, and it would have just established her as a stronger character.
Dalton McCay 32:42
Yeah, I think I think I would have liked that. I think I would have liked to see her. It would have been a really good humorous point for back then, as well. Maybe not so humorous now. But yeah, just to see him charging up on his maybe literal white horse. She’s running out the back of the tent.
Corrine Asbell 33:05
Yeah, I mean, I think that just would have made it. I mean, it’s a great movie but just give me a little bit more girl power.
Jason Boyd 33:18
Little more Girl Power. Girl, I agree. There cannot be enough girl power. Okay, so I do agree with that. And I think that it’s kind of a double edged sword whereas of that time she was a pretty stark contrast to normal action adventure heroines. For damsels or Disney princesses. But yet, she still does… You know, she’s not quite, you know, 21st century female lead or anything. Yeah. So let’s see, Dalton. What do you think Raiders of the Lost Ark could have done better?
Dalton McCay 34:07
Honestly, this was difficult for me. It was difficult for me to do both of the movies that that we’re gonna be talking about today. I mean, not not that we’re talking about another movie right now but…
Jason Boyd 34:22
No way, we’re a one movie kind of guy here. Yeah.
Corrine Asbell 34:28
No, girl power.
Jason Boyd 34:31
Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to refer to we as a guy.
Dalton McCay 34:35
Please. All right, thank you. But most of my suggestions to improve the film probably would have destroyed the integrity of the film. I mean, it’s… it’s a singular vision that does well what many films today simply don’t. It doesn’t try to please everybody. It’s Indiana in the beginning. He is a deeply flawed character and everything, but he is the beginning of a new archetypal hero. I mean, there were explorer characters before. Alan Quartermaine springs to mind, which is probably half of the inspiration behind this character. But Indiana Jones, either because of, or in spite of his Hollywood success, became the face of adventure. I mean, when people… when people put on Explorer, quote unquote, clothes, it’s all looks like Indiana Jones. But if somebody were to say you’re making all the decisions, and we also want this film to be three hours long and we don’t care about pacing, I probably would have made higher stakes for Indy specifically for having to choose between his teaching job and his life as a a professional treasure seeker, because we get a little bit of that. And actually, I don’t remember if it’s in Raiders where the scene… where the girl closes her eyes and it says love me, do you remember that?
Jason Boyd 36:16
I don’t that know if it was that one or the next one. But yeah, there was, you did see him and get that idea that he’s universally loved by the ladies in his class. And it was short.
Dalton McCay 36:28
Yeah, and it’s really short, and it has to be short because that’s not the focus of the film. You know, we don’t really care about him as a professor, but what if we did, like, what if not only was he a professor, you know, and like his students are counting on him for their grades and he’s got a… you know, he’s facing all those problems that an actual Professor might face like, you know, he’s out there grabbing relics in international waters and then like, you know, he suddenly remembers. I have to get papers in by this Thursday and then he gets punched in the face. You know? Like, like, I want to see that I want to see his struggle. And he’s not married. He has no children. Well, until… spoilers. Yeah. Spoilers for the fourth movie, but anyway, I don’t really… I don’t really count the fourth movie. Yeah.
None of us do.
Jason Boyd 37:38
It was a Carbonite dream inside of a Carbonite dream.
Dalton McCay 37:41
There you go. And I have a story for the fourth movie. I don’t know if we’re going to do Crystal Skull for one of these.
Jason Boyd 37:49
I think we’re doing good movies.
Dalton McCay 37:52
So I’ll go into… I’ll tell my story maybe at the end. But basically, if you guys play The Uncharted series… okay so, in Uncharted, Nathan Drake starts off kind of the same way. He’s a loner, he doesn’t really have anything. Oh, spoilers for the Uncharted series if you haven’t played it stop listening now and come back in like five minutes, but he starts off as a loner he doesn’t really have anything tethering him back from becoming this, you know, treasure hunter. But, um, as we get more deeper into the story and he slowly acquires new people that he’s supposed to care about, especially in Thieves and the final Nathan Drake, question mark, chapter, we see him struggle with the fact that now he has a wife that he has to contend with. And he has a good life. He has a steady job, one that he enjoys. But then like the call of adventures is always pulling on him and it’s like it’s a demon that he… rather than a character… what’s the word I’m looking for here? It’s like rather than being something that is inherently good about his character and cool and awesome that he’s a treasure hunter, it becomes his own personal demon. And I thought that was like really interesting and to have that same thing that same treatment done to Indy I think would have… would have been something cool to explore.
Corrine Asbell 39:43
Yeah, I can definitely agree with that. I thought it was a good idea. I’d like to see him have more of a problem because it just looks like he changes when he wants to and then he jet sets off to go discover some treasure and save it from the Nazis. So yeah, I think that is a good thing. But I do want… I agree with what you said that would kind of really slow down the movie.
Dalton McCay 40:04
Yeah. It’s not what the movie’s about. The movie’s about adventure, and like I said, everything that I would suggest to make it quote unquote better would just destroy what it is.
Jason Boyd 40:18
Yeah, I think that maybe what they should do is just… especially as Indiana Jones is getting older, you know, he’s elderly, so he’s less mobile. They should do an entire movie where he’s just being a professor and they can call that Indiana Jones: Hitting the Books.
Dalton McCay 40:36
Oh my God.
Jason Boyd 40:38
He can just be facing grading challenges. Maybe there’s like a smart alec student that he’s got to like reign in you know, and they don’t really believe that he’s a rough and tumble guy because he’s so old, you know? But like I’ll teach them. And he brings out his whip, you know, and that’s a whole scene.
Corrine Asbell 40:56
And then he falls and breaks a hip.
Jason Boyd 40:59
Exactly. But, uh, yeah, because of a door hitting him on Star Wars. But, uh, but you make a good point that it is kind of like what’s this guy actually do for a living? Like what’s his actual job because he gives all of his artifacts to the museum. I mean, that he recovers.
Dalton McCay 41:22
Jason Boyd 41:22
So it’s like, you know, we don’t get a sense of him being a real person. At least not more than a snippet. But yeah, that that would kind of slow down the film. You know, to me, I think honestly, you’re right in that pretty much most changes are going to kind of derail the film from what it is. But one thing I do want to bring up is that, you know, there is kind of, and I think we’ll run into this problem a lot with movies that were made before 2000… But it’s kind of just where are the people of color?
Dalton McCay 41:31
Jason Boyd 41:34
You know, I mean you… I know that you might not want everyone to be a person of color, because it’s set in, you know, a Nazi like time. And that’s gonna make the story something that it isn’t. Now, you know, it’s going to be… Also you didn’t have, you know, say African American professors of archaeology during the time. I can understand that but then we have the character of Sala played by John Rhys Davies. So John Rhys Davies, who also played the Dwarf in the Lord of the Rings, Gimli… He’s a Welshman. And he’s playing a character named Sallah Mohammed Faisal el-Kahir.
Dalton McCay 42:56
Jason Boyd 42:58
And you know, John does have a bit of a tan, but he’s not, you know… I looked heavily into this. I couldn’t see any kind of a trace of ethnicity and him other than just being from Wells. And he actually, in 2004 made some anti muslim comments, where he called the growing population in Europe–of a Muslim population in Europe–a “demographic catastrophe” that “threatened” Western civilization.
Dalton McCay 43:34
Are you ruining Lord of the Rings for me right now? Wow. Oh, man.
Jason Boyd 43:45
It just had to be sad, because I feel like it’s you know, and there’s there’s some stereotyping and just general racism along those lines too. And I mean, to what extent do you write that off as a symptom of the times and, you know, to what extent is that still not acceptable? Because, you know, regardless of what the times were, you know, we make this… we’re making this out to be a universally relatable, memorable story, but it’s not universally relatable, and it’s not, you know, something that maybe we want to carry forward. So if I, if I had to change something that would make it more conducive to these elements that we’re looking for, It would be to handle those issues of color and ethnicity a little bit more delicately. And, you know, respectfully. Now a more diverse cast.
Corrine Asbell 44:42
Jason Boyd 44:44
Actual, you know, actual of people from the area that you’re casting for would probably be a good start.
Dalton McCay 44:52
Yeah. Yeah. I think looking. I was curious as you were talking, so I’m kind of like looking at the fourth movie because that was definitely released after 2000. And I’m like, it still has the same problem. It looks like you go to… like if you Google Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull cast, it’s like, oh, white, white, white. Like all the way down and like that’s ridiculous so yeah, you may have something there. We still run with it.
Final Thoughts About Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Jason Boyd 45:34
I mean, it’s one of those, you… I slowly find myself re-examining my childhood idols. But you know, it’s still a good movie. Otherwise, um, but let’s just, you know… that had to be said but move on. Let’s let’s talk about our final thoughts about the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Let’s just go over anything that like, you know, maybe we want to just summarize. Last thoughts before we close out the podcast. I’ll start by just saying, you know, really, I think it’s just a nostalgic film. And it’s not nostalgia for more racially divisive times, maybe. But I feel like it’s a time capsule type movie and kind of have to watch it with an eye toward that. And I think it’s already that because I mean, it’s a movie set in time. It’s a historical piece. And now it’s being seen as a historical piece of the time that it was made. So it’s, I feel like you have to view this through the lens of biographical fact, instead of just textual. So, I think that’s kind of what makes the movie… By the way, I want to add one thing because I forgot earlier. Charlton Heston and Secret of the Incas in 1954. If you Google that–Secret of the Incas 1954, the outfit he wears in that movie is exactly Indiana Jones’ outfit and they again just rip that off.
Corrine Asbell 47:22
So really the Explorer Halloween costume is actually Charlton Heston.
Jason Boyd 47:26
Exactly, exactly. That’s what Dalton said that reminded me I was like, Oh, you know what actually drove this and kind of got there first.
Dalton McCay 47:35
Did you just just like, glasses push, actually my…
Jason Boyd 47:41
Dalton McCay 47:44
Jason Boyd 47:46
But no, you’re right. It’s kind of like, you know, when a band covers a song, and now that’s their’s. That’s their song. Yeah, no one knows who originally did it, you know? And that’s pretty much what this movie is. You know? So yeah, let’s see, Corrine what kind of final thoughts do you have?
Corrine Asbell 48:06
Well, basically, I mean, we’ve touched over some of the flaws that the movie had that wouldn’t fly today. You know, the lack of diversity. We didn’t touch over this, but the fact that, you know, Marian and Indiana had a previous relationship back when she was 16. And he’s 10 years old. Stuff that wouldn’t fly today, but it’s still gotten one of my favorite action movies. And yeah, mistletoe plays a large part in that and you got to kind of watch it with those nostalgia colored glasses on to be able to enjoy it. But it’s this nostalgia that allows us to overlook the movies faults. But at its core, it’s still a really good movie. You look at the practical effects that we talked about earlier. They’re still looking good and honestly knowing that they’re practical and not CGI, which everything is like you talked about earlier, it just allows you to forgive some of the effects not being… if knowing that we made it today. Oh, well, that will practically… like there really were ghosts. But in the end, watching Raiders of Lost Ark is still just a good time.
Jason Boyd 49:19
Great, great. So Dalton, what kind of final thoughts do you have before we close out?
Dalton McCay 49:24
I have said my piece.
Jason Boyd 49:28
Well… Yeah, well said.
Dalton McCay 49:34
Period, end of story. It’s done now. I mean, what can be said, like I’ve always loved this movie. I will continue loving this movie despite its flaws. Which I mean, to be fair, there aren’t many actual flaws. The only flaws are the ones that you have to… you have to like dig for. You have to… you have to put this movie under a microscope and dissect it on like a cold slab in order to find so many faults with it if you’re… if you’re viewing it as intended which is like with with popcorn with friends and family just having a good time it’s not gonna matter this this is the quintessential adventure film. Fight me. And like, I don’t know if there has been another one quite like it. Even in spite of the other Indiana Jones movies that came out after it, I think that this one is the quintessential adventure movie, and I don’t think that we’ve had one quite like it since. So if you guys don’t agree with me, you know, put it… put it in the comments. We’ll fight about it.
Jason Boyd 51:15
Don’t @ me.
Corrine Asbell 51:17
Do you @ him on?
Jason Boyd 51:19
Yes, please, please, please @ Dalton. And actually, you know, where can… let’s go ahead and run this down? Since it’s good timing for it? Where can folks find y’all on Twitter, Instagram… what’s your socials that you might want to plug, Corrine?
Jason Boyd 52:01
Okay, in that instead of an “O.”
Corrine Asbell 52:04
Also my Facebook, my Instagram, those are all under nonlinear girl.
Jason Boyd 52:10
Okay, cool. Where can people @ you, Dalton?
Dalton McCay 52:14
Oh, let’s see, well I hang out mostly on Facebook and Instagram. My Instagram is @sword_gaijin I post all my cosplay stuff on there, including Indiana Jones if you haven’t seen it
Corrine Asbell 52:33
Pretty good. It’s a pretty good Indiana Jones. Yeah.
Dalton McCay 52:37
I’m sad that I didn’t get all the pictures back from that set because there were some really good like joke ones that I did in there but yeah, sword_gaijin. And then for Facebook, I believe you can still you can still @ me at theswordgaijin and then if you’re really more interested in any of my other projects like my novels or whatever or my writing then you can just look me up under Dalton M. McKay.
Jason Boyd 53:16
Great. And you know for these guys and gals, their socials can be found on fictionphile.com under our staff page, so feel free to check that out if you were not able to catch the names that they gave out there. But you know, Corrine, for the folks at home, who have not seen this or maybe you want to watch it tonight for the umpteenth time… Where can you find Raiders of the Lost Ark streaming?
Where Can I Find Raiders of the Lost Ark Streaming?
Corrine Asbell 53:48
Well, Raiders is included with your Netflix subscription. And that’s the only place that’s streaming it right now, you know, for all your subscription services. But it is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99 and most other places that allow you to buy movies digitally like VUDU and the Google Play Store will also have it, and it looks like it’s around $15 bucks to buy the movie digitally. Now, naturally, you should already own a Blu-ray of it, but I’m not shaming anyone here.
Dalton McCay 54:20
I almost forgot to tell my story. So okay, okay. Real quick before…
Jason Boyd 54:29
You said your piece.
Dalton McCay 54:32
I know. I lied. So my story… so basically, I went to go see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in cosplay. Because I was super excited about the movie and then sat through the movie, walked out. And like I heard this couple behind us and the guy… The girl was like, man, that wasn’t that great, and then the guy was like, yeah, I’m really disappointed. But you know who is more disappointed than I am? This guy. And then he just points at me. And I looked at him and I was like, you’re not wrong.
Corrine Asbell 55:21
Well, I mean that’s a positive that can be said for Crystal Skull, it brings people together.
Dalton McCay 55:25
Jason Boyd 55:27
You should have just said you know what? I’m actually cosplaying as Charlton Heston.
Dalton McCay 55:31
Oh, yeah. For the Incas.
Corrine Asbell 55:37
For Indiana Jones five.
Jason Boyd 55:39
Which by the way, will not be good. All right. Well, have you said your piece Dalton?
Dalton McCay 55:46
Yeah, we’re good. We’re good.
Jason Boyd 55:48
Thank you so much for that story, actually, because that was pretty funny. I love embarrassing stories about you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Corrine for all your information and details there. So, alright, everybody, I think that’s it for this installment of the Fictionphile Podcast. I want to invite you to fictionphile.com for more scintillating analysis like you heard today. And don’t forget to rate us if you liked today’s episode, and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next episode. Until then I want to thank you for spending a little storytime with us today. And for Dalton McKay and Corrine Asbell, this is Jason Boyd and the fictionphile family wishing you a happily ever after.
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