There
are certain films that hold a unique place in history… and Hollywood
had better keep their grubby, remaking mitts off of them! While the
trend to “re-imagine” or “re-envision” everything around them has been
going on for some time, these films have so far managed to escape the
fate of some of their less fortunate compatriots. I speak of course
of…

SACRED COWS
The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.

These films are not just near and dear to our
hearts, they should be considered OFF-LIMITS to those jerks at the
studios. The films on this list were special when they premiered and
continue to be so today, and we’re going to explain why they shouldn’t
be remade – as well as why they can’t be. So enough jabbering, on with
the list!

DAY TWO
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)


DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg
STARRING: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Ronald Lacey, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina.

THE SACRED RUNDOWN

World
famous archeologist and swashbuckling adventurer, Henry “Indiana”
Jones, Jr. (Ford), is asked by the government to apply his expertise on
the occult and unique ability to obtain rare
antiquities in the search for the fabled Ark of the Covenant. 
It seems that Adolf Hitler was a nut on the subject of Biblical
artifacts and he had teams scouring the Earth looking for them,
including the Ark.  For, according to the Bible, an army that
possesses the container of the original 10 Commandments is
invincible…so it might be a handy thing to have before starting World
War II.  Jones’ quest takes him across the globe to an old
flame, Marion Ravenwood (Allen), who isn’t exactly happy to see him,
especially after her bar burns down during a scuffle with the
Nazis.  The quest also lands him in the crosshairs
of Der Fuehrer’s henchmen, most notably the creepy yet uber-fashionable
Maj. Arnold Toht (Lacey), and Jones’ main competitor, Rene Belloq
(Freeman).  Ancient biblical mythology and modern, hard-nosed
action, fisticuffs and political intrigue combine into nothing less than
one of, if not, the greatest action films ever made.



THE REASON IT’S SACRED

Raiders is simply a romp, a stylish homage to the old action adventure serials headed up by possibly the greatest action hero in film history.  It’s a thrilling, globe-hopping adventure with both gritty real world and fantastic elements, with a sublime sense of humor. But what’s more, Raiders is just the perfect confluence – at the perfect time – of some of the all-time greats in Hollywood at the high points of their careers.  This collaboration led to their creating the seminal adventure yarn that melds several genres into a unique mixture that can never be replicated, despite the recent efforts of all involved to try.  At the time, Steven Spielberg was an experienced, but still-developing purveyor of wonder and adventure, squarely in the earlier stages of his prime movie making stretch. 





Spielberg’s good friend George Lucas had by now probably realized that he could do some great work when he controlled things from behind the curtain and let someone else interpret his considerable cinematic vision, as was proven the previous year by The Empire Strikes Back.  He crafted an adventurer in the vein of the old 1930s movie serials, treasure hunters and pulp heroes that became one of the most quintessential film characters of all time.  Portraying that hero was Harrison Ford, in probably his greatest role, fresh off two outings as Lucas’ scoundrel, Han Solo, hints of which can be seen in Jones.  Ford was also squarely in his prime during this period, which would see him follow up this film with Blade Runner, Return of the Jedi, Witness, The Mosquito Coast, and Frantic, as well as two more timely outings as Indy in the very satisfying sequels, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade





The supporting work by Ford’s colleagues are all also top notch.  Karen Allen was simply fantastic as Marion.  Her character was what Lois Lane would be if she were a bitter, money-hungry, boozing bar owner.  Paul Freeman’s Belloq was an excellently refined bastard; Denholm Elliott a friendly father figure to Indy, John Rhys-Davies’ Sallah a regal and fun sidekick; and Pat Roach an imposing and memorable henchman (twice).  And you’re probably not going to find someone who portrayed a creepier bastard better than Ronald Lacey as Maj. Toht.





Then there’s the simply iconic score, by all-time great, John Williams, who was in the midst of a series of film scores the likes of which will simply never be seen again (Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the under-appreciated Dracula, Superman, E.T., and on and on and on).  Then you can add in the rousing and nuanced script by Lawrence Kasdan (based on Lucas’ story with input from Phillip Kaufman), who preceded this film with the script for Empire, and followed it up with Body Heat, Jedi, the frequently-overlooked Continental Divide, The Big Chill, Silverado and The Accidental Tourist.  When you get the best, or among the best, doing their best work, there’s simply little to no chance of equaling the finished product, and such an attempt would be futile…at best.




ICONIC MOMENTS
  • The entire opening sequence. 
  • The bar fight.
  • The marketplace chase sequence, highlighted by a sick-as-a-dog Ford who made the suggestion to just simply “shoot the sucker.”
  • “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?”
  • The flying wing boxing match.
  • The entire truck chase.  Based on classic stunt sequences, it became one of its own.  Ford’s grittiness in that scene is unmatched.
  • Two words: facey melty.
  • The warehouse shot.





WHY A REMAKE WOULD MAKE ME RUN OFF SCREAMING


CGI prairie dogs and monkeys come to mind…  But the truth is, there are just some things in film that are lightning in a bottle, which simply can’t be duplicated.  Raiders is a product of its time, the talents of everyone involved and a career-defining portrayal by its lead.  It’s rife with subtle nuances and humor, little moments and atmosphere.  Even Temple and Crusade, both of which I also love, couldn’t quite retrieve the formula established by this film.  Crystal Skull certainly couldn’t.  More and more, films are going digital and green screen, backdrops can be created with a computer rather than a camera, and it seems to be getting ever harder to find real, practically made, big budget epics such as Raiders, with the grit and grime to go with it.  Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably as close to the perfect action adventure film as there ever will be.

WHAT WOULD PLATINUM DUNES DO (WWPDD)?
Michael
Bay’s been producing remakes all over town, using his Platinum Dunes
company as a front. So naturally he’d be the logical choice to spearhead
any attempt at remaking this classic. How would it pan out, you ask?
  • He’d cast a gold-toothed Black guy as Belloq, make him a jive-talking illiterate, then blame the writers.
  • He’d shoot a million feet of film and use less than 2% of it.
  • The final frame of the warehouse worker taking the Ark into back aisle oblivion would be a slow-mo POV affair in front of the sun rotated 360 degrees.
  • He’d have Diane Warren write a Raiders of the Ark love song and Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift – or both – sing it.
  • Indy would threaten to blow up the Ark with a nuke instead of a bazooka.
  • He’d somehow manage to get it into the Criterion Collection.


BOVINE MISCELLANY


This guy who beat on Indy:




the giant Sherpa in Marion’s bar who beat on Indy, and this guy from Temple of Doom who beat on Indy:



were the same guy who beat on Indy: Mr. Pat Roach.

Rebuttal: None.  We agree!

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