Indiana Jones gets a visual upgrade and new Steelbook package
It’s been over 40 years since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. In all that time, few films have come close to matching it’s sense of adventure. An iconic character, daring set pieces, and a wry sense of humor, largely thanks to a star making turn (his second after Star Wars) from Harrison Ford. The collaboration between director Steven Spielberg, and creator George Lucas was propelled by the former’s love for (and inability to helm) a James Bond film. Moreso, it came from Lucas’s childhood, one informed by action adventures like The Adventures of Robin Hood, and serial entertainment like Flash Gordon.
Indiana Jones. An academic, whose archeological interests plunges him into swashbuckling, and often sticky situations. Criss-crossing the globe, with ancient tombs, mythical artifacts, booby traps, and a series of opportunities to punch Nazis. The film, like the others in the series is propelled by a MacGuffin, in this case the Ark of the Covenant, a chest holding the remnants of the stone tablets that took down the Ten Commandments. A relic the Third Reich believed could to guarantee victory in their war efforts. Certainly a plot to get behind, Nazis need putting in their place whatever era they crop up in. Raiders distills that action adventure movie into perhaps its more refined form. Deftly blending thrilling action with comedy, and wrapping it all around memorable characters, from the whip-cracking, sardonic charms of Harrison Ford in the lead, to Karen Allen as the firecracker Marion Ravenwood. What truly makes it special, is the magic of Spielberg. Exquisitely shot and paced, moving beyond a simple action film, but never losing a second of entertainment. The film crackles with an unreal sense of energy and life from start to finish, feeling as vital today as it did when it hit the screens 40 years ago.
The allure here is of course the 4K presentation of the film. Restored from a 4K scan of the original film negatives, overseen by Steven Spielberg himself. A rich image, with vibrant colors, and deep inky blacks. The depth of image impresses, not just in the palette, but the details and texture of the film. The film crucially looks natural, lacking any signs of over-processing, and retaining a filmic appearance and natural grain. There’s a few places where the image goes a little soft, this is likely from the source material for the scan. Overall, you’re not going to find a better visual representation of the film for home viewing.
This release comes in a fancy new Steelbook format. The front, depicts the classic artwork for the film, by artist Richard Amsel, while another of the images used for original promotion, comes on a folded mini-poster inside the case.
The release includes access to a digital copy of the corresponding movie, beyond this, there are no extra features included beyond three separate trailers (teaser, theatrical, re-release). A shame if you wanted supporting material, and a decision likely taken to drive some to purchase to full set of these films, no doubt looming on the horizon.
The Bottom Line
While lacking in any supporting extras, the release is delivered in the sturdy housing of a steelbook, one adorned with the original Richard Amsel poster art. The key sell here is the 4K presentation, which is resplendent. Raiders of the Lost Ark is simply an iconic work, one that continues to entertain and impress even after 40 years. “So good, it belongs in a museum”.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is available on 4K-UHD Steelbook from June 14th
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