What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email email@example.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.
This Week’s Movie: 1981′s Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Let’s get this out of the way: Raiders Of The Lost Ark is literally one of the greatest movies ever made. This Friday’s IMAX Re-Release of it is my most excited movie event for the rest of the year. I actually feel jealous for those who get to witness it first at a theater rather than a VHS copy as a child. This movie is the wave that hit the beach the hardest, leaving its mark that all over waves struggle to reach. Raiders is the definitive adventure movie and no movie has ever (and possibly will ever) come close to how great this is. You can talk shit about 1977′s Star Wars, go ahead, but if you don’t like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, then you really have no idea what you’re talking about. Now that that’s out of the way, I don’t want to see people complaining in the comment section about how I hate Raiders Of The Lost Ark when I love it more than I could possibly describe.
The Indiana Jones franchise was spawned from the minds of George Lucas (of 1986′s Howard The Duck fame) and Steven Spielberg (of being the most famous director ever fame). George Lucas created the character as an homage to all his favorite action-serials from the 1930′s and 1940s. He took inspiration from serials, pulp magazines, adventure novels such as King Solomon’s Mines, and even my personal favorite, James mother-effing Bond.
While Spielberg and Lucas were on vacation together, celebrating the success of 1978′s Close Encounter’s of the Third Kind and 1977′s Star Wars, Spielberg causually mentioned his desire to direct a James Bond movie (to date, over the course of 23 movies there has never been an American director fronting a James Bond picture). Lucas informed him that he had a better character, saying that he “got that beat”, a saying that I’m still unsure of what it means. Just a few years later, cinema audiences were given the greatest adventure movie ever made: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Since then, Indiana Jones has exploded into novels, comic books, video games, and even a television show following the “Young Adventures of Indiana Jones.”
Now you could write about a lot of the errors in the Indiana Jones franchise, such as the anachronisms that arise from basing the movies in the 1930s while using present day country names (Jordan/Transjordan, Thailand/Saim, almost every single country in Africa) or even how poorly written of a character Irina Spalko was in 2008′s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (she felt like a secondary villain, I kept waiting for the real antagonist to show up. She was an Oddjob without a Goldfinger, Darth Maul without a Palpatine, she was a flying monkey without a Wicked Witch Of The West). You could even write a college thesis about how Short Round and Jar Jar Binks are the same exact character and George Lucas is responsible for the two worst characters ever made, but I’m not going to do that. I already just explained those issues and I’m sticking to Raiders for this week.
If you’ve never seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, then you’re doing a bad job at being a person. Indiana Jones is a part-time archaeology/history professor who goes on crazy awesome adventures in his free time. After going on a failed expedition into Peru where he lost a golden idol to rival archaeologist Belloq, Dr. Jones is approached by government intelligence agents who tell him that the Nazis are seeking out various occult items and are currently trying to find Dr. Jones’ old mentor. Indiana believes that the Nazis are trying to get their hands on the Ark of the Covenant under the impression that if they obtain it, the Nazi army would be invincible and able to take over the entire world. The Army enlists Dr. Jones to make sure that the Nazis do not get their hands on the Ark.
After a few scenes of fantastic action and adventure, Dr. Jones finds himself in Cairo where the Nazis are excavating an old temple with the help of Belloq. Jones breaks into the temple to look upon a massive map of ancient Cairo and discovers that the Nazis have been digging in the completely wrong place due to Belloq’s ignorance. Using the map, Indiana finds out where the real location of the Ark is buried and destroys the evidence that could lead the Nazis that way. Mission successful! The Nazis can’t get the Ark because they don’t know where it is and have no means of finding where it is! Dr. Jones, you have done it again!
But then Indiana decides to dig up the Ark himself, which is then immediately noticed by the Nazis who show up and take the Ark from him. While yes, Indiana has an intense passion behind his scientific curiosity and he felt the need to seek out the unknown, there was a freaking war going on. He stepped out of line and the whole situation could have gotten a lot worse than it did, but there wouldn’t have even been a situation if he hadn’t done anything at all. While the subplot of him rediscovering his faith wouldn’t have worked out in this story and we wouldn’t have had the greatest adventure movie ever made, but he seriously could have just gone back to college and relaxed till he needed to rescue his Dad a few years later.