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The Geek Life: 30th Anniversary Screening of Raiders
With Steven and Indy
By Robert T. Trate
September 13, 2011
The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is happening in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Video Games, Books, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life watches Raiders of the Lost Ark.
With the entire hubbub about Star Wars finally being released on Blu-ray, a little milestone is practically going unnoticed. Raiders of the Lost Ark is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Being a Geek, I find it incredibly strange that Lucasfilm and George Lucas didn’t plan a huge Raiders Blu-ray release. He had all year to do it. The summer, obviously, would have been the opportune time to re-release it in theaters, followed by a fall release to hit just before the holidays. This Geek knows he’ll cash in on the entire Star Wars Saga from this weekend to the end of time but why now? The only Star Wars related thing going on this week is that The Clone Wars season 4 premieres Friday. George is going to be George and nothing will change that. It just would have been nice to celebrate the man in the hat the right way.
Thankfully, those tried and true die hard fans of Indiana Jones aren’t going to let this anniversary pass into oblivion. Hero Complex, a site for you inner fanboy by the Los Angles Times, celebrated it the right away. Geoff Boucher hosted a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark and then conducted an interview with its director, Steven Spielberg.
Hopefully you have had the chance to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in a theater. Many people today have only seen it on the small screen. As TV sets get bigger and better, the home theater experience will probably replace the public one. Sadly, it removes the human element and thus makes the film a singular experience. To see a beloved classic such as Raiders in the theaters is to rediscover what you loved about the movie the first time you saw it. The cheers, the awe, and the excitement now run through everyone. What you might have forgotten as being funny or scary is now present in the people around you. To see a movie like this or any classic film in the theater is the last true way to enjoy it.
Making the Geek experience of seeing Raiders even better was the Q and A with Steven Spielberg. After 30 years of interviews, behind the scenes, retrospectives, and tons of books about Raiders, what could Steven and Geoff possibly talk about? After a quick chit chat, Spielberg was asked about the now iconic whip/ sword fight and Harrison Ford walked out to set the story straight. Most of the knowledge they imparted about the movie, any true die hard would know. It was seeing the two men together just talking that made this a special night.
Lots of stories and jabs were exchanged between the two, but a few things came out that made this Geek go crazy. Spielberg did his impersonation of George Lucas (all in good fun, of course) and discussed what it like is to talk to the man on the phone. Apparently, George doesn’t do emails or texts. Boucher then asked Spielberg about his opinions on the retooling of Star Wars. Spielberg replied that they are George’s movies and he can do what he wants with them. Then he reminded us that without George there would be no Indiana Jones or Star Wars.
Boucher was quick about asking Spielberg about his own experience in going back and changing one of his movies, E.T.. Spielberg commented that there were a few things that he thought he could have always improved on with E.T.. Other things were changed because Spielberg himself was overly sensitive to criticisms about the film. Such criticisms centered around why this was a kid’s movie when it had children being chased by men with guns or Eliot saying “penis breath” in the film. These and a few others promoted Spielberg to change the movie. He later regretted this choice said he felt as if he robbed the audience of their memories. This made him tell Universal Studios they would release both cuts of the film on DVD for the same price as one. Spielberg then let a little magic out and asked the audience if they would care if only the 82 cut would be on the Blu-ray? Care to guess what the reaction was?
With all the Blu-ray talk, naturally the topic of Raiders of the Lost Ark was on everyone’s mind. Spielberg informed us that the print we just saw was the one they are going to use for its eventual Blu-ray release. The negative had been removed from the salt mines and cleaned up. The time and date were unknown even to Spielberg. He promised nothing would be changed about the film; it will be Raiders from 1981. Sadly, there was no mention of the Jaws Blu-ray.
The other topic was when and if there will be an Indy 5. Ford was quick to say that maybe there would be fifth but “I ain’t going to Mars”. Spielberg said that he and George do talk about another Indy and they are hopeful. Ford commented that it is a delight to revisit this character and to work with Steven. Ford then threw another jab remarking that the role is the only thing Steven hires him for.
The Geek Verdict:
For a night that I thought would be about the release dates of Blu-rays and Indy 5 hype, it wasn’t nearly that predictable. The night was simply for celebrating one of the most beloved films of all time. Spielberg even confessed that Raiders and Last Crusade are the only two films of his that he can watch as a member of the audience; this makes both of them very special to him. It’s sad that Lucas didn’t celebrate his other great creation with a re-release or Blu-ray this year. The crowd that came to the theater that night was only a fraction of fandom that exists for Indy. Thank you, Hero Complex and the LA Times for remembering that adventure has a name and it’s Indiana Jones.
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Check out the previous The Geek Life here. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.