Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
The film ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ previously known as ‘Raider of the Lost Ark’ was written in 1981 by Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Steven Spielberg. Frank Marshall filmed it for the Lucas movie company with the desire to develop a modern kind of serial cinema in the 1940s. More so, the movie accrued about $389 million in revenue globally, becoming the most famous and highest-paid movie of 1981 (Tomasulo, p. 331). The movie received eight academy awards in filming best pictures, editing, visual effects, art direction, and sound the following year. The film remains the most popular and greatest showcase ever since its production, and in 1999, the American National Film Registry included it in its library as a culturally aesthetical film. The movie belongs to the action-adventure genre, which entails looking for treasure while facing opposition.
The film is about a character named Indiana Jones who struggles to walk through the jungle with two men while looking for the golden idol. Later, he finds it and leaves the sanctuary, but a group of locals waits for him outside with several traps. Rene Belloq leads them as Indiana is forced to surrender the idol and escapes. When he gets back to San Francisco, two intelligence agents with information that the Nazis are seeking for his mentor, Abner Ravenwood, a professional archaeologist who acquired a Staff of Ra artifact, visit him (Tomasulo 335). Immediately Indiana undertakes that the Nazis are after the Ark of the Covenant, which is the most valuable piece of art globally (Smith 130). Moreover, people believe that the artifact has God’s power, and the person in its possession will be invincible.
Consequently, Indiana commences the journey to Egypt with the help of his past lover, Marion, who helps him to locate the correct location of the Ark. However, the Nazis, in collaboration with Rene Belloq, caught up with them and forcefully took the Ark, leaving Indiana to die in the shrine full of snakes. Determined to survive, he successfully finds a route out of the temple and catches up with the vehicle carrying the Ark, but the Nazis see him on board and hide the Ark (Tomasulo 337). At that moment, Rene Belloq convinces the Nazi leader to open the Ark and retrieve the tables, but instead, they find souls of the dead who take every person in it (Tomasulo 339). Luckily, Indiana and Marion remain alive because they chose to close their eyes. Ultimately, Indiana retrieves the Ark and takes it to the intelligence agent, who informs him that it is safe.
Analysis using Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions of Religion
The film ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ seeks to describe the location and influence of a mythical Ark. As such, the religious piece demonstrates controversy, particularly to whether its existence is real or unreal, as well as its present resting location. In the Bible, the scriptwriters first mentioned the Ark during its construction in the book of Exodus and later depicted the artifact being moved to Canaan during the Israelite’s conquest and later taken by the priesthood during the fall of Jericho (Deacy 2). Lastly, the Bible mentions the Ark during Josiah’s reign when priests permanently placed it in the sanctuary. Scholars hypothesize about the whereabouts of the Ark and mostly presume that it was demolished during the Babylonian war or buried in an undisclosed place in Jerusalem before its destruction. The film uses the religious theory that the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak carried the Ark to Egypt after the 925 BC invasion to demonstrate Indiana Jones’s discovery of the artefact in the primaeval Egyptian region.
Besides the interesting story, the movie demonstrates an intriguing course of action and adventure that aided in making it among the most popular films in the history of cinema. Due to its popularity, the film became the global representation of archaeology and showed the epitome of the archaeological character. Furthermore, Indiana Jones’s influence across the world and in the entertainment world has created awareness of biblical archaeology (Ganzevoort 135). However, biblical archaeology has recently been criticized for its commercialization of treasure hunts and not basing it on proper scholarship. One of the reasons for this is the commonness of amateur archaeologists who focus on finding certain biblical artifacts in the confidence that they are supporting the biblical text.
The film reflects the religious development of humankind as Jones grows positively as a person. He comprehends himself on a deeper level and decides to undertake a quest to understand and feel profound theological truths. Jones pursues the Ark, although he is a pagan, and engages in a moral fight against the evil Nazis. More growth is seen when the archaeologist encounters one of his ex-lovers with whom he had parted ways and protects her throughout the adventure. Reflecting on the Old Testament in the Bible, Jones embarks on a journey to Egypt, fights worldly power, and experiences the power of the dead. Ultimately, the movie takes its narrative into Christian theology, where the main character grew from being a selfish robber to a savior of the world by seeking the Ark.
Deacy, Christopher. “Is Film the New Religion?.” Sociology Review 20.4 (2011): 2-5.
Ganzevoort, R. “Silence Speaks. Theological Musings On Silence In Religion And Film.” Blessed Are The Eyes That Catch Divine Whispering. Silence And Religion In The Film (2015): 123-137.
Smith, Jeffery A. “Hollywood Theology: The Commodification Of Religion In Twentieth-Century Films.” Religion and American Culture 11.2 (2001): 191-231.
Tomasulo, Frank P. “Mr. Jones Goes To Washington Myth And Religion In Raiders Of The Lost Ark.” Quarterly Review of Film & Video 7.4 (1982): 331-340.
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Throughout the course of the semester you have learned about the basic dimensions of religion, and how they manifest in various world traditions.
We have explored and enhanced this knowledge through the use of film. For your capstone essay, you will write a film analysis that emphasizes the Religious Studies theory that we focused on in class. You will choose your own film with religious content, and then analyze it using the theories and ideas covered in class and present it in a traditional film review. You may also add additional methods of film criticism if you desire. Before writing, you should familiarize yourself with the suggested resources on how to write a film review, but remember our analysis will emphasize the seven dimensions of religion.
This essay ought to thoughtfully reflect your learning throughout the semester. Remember to use examples from the film and citations to support your ideas.
If you have questions regarding how to cite or what to cite, ask me BEFORE you submit your essay. If you turn in your paper and you “accidentally” plagiarize parts of your essay, you will fail the assignment & be reported to the dept. It is better to be safe than sorry! To reiterate, ask me before the due date if you are unsure about how to cite your sources.
For your capstone essay, you will write a film analysis that emphasizes the Religious Studies theory that we focused on in class. You will choose your own film with religious content, and then analyze it using the theories and ideas covered in class and present it in a traditional film review. You may also add additional methods of film criticism if you desire. Before writing, you should familiarize yourself with the suggested resources on how to write a film review, but remember our analysis will emphasize Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions of Religion.
Cover the basic background and information about the film, and should be at least 750 words. Questions to answer in background information: When was the film made, who was the director, how much money did the film make, what genre is the film, popularity in the box office, ect. Include all of the technical details in a film review. What is the story? Review the story. You have to assume that your reader has not seen the film so need to know what the plot is. Just write the basic background and information about the film. Reminder writing will later analysis Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions of Religion.
- Use Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
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