The Spielberg Blogathon: Reminiscing about Raiders of the Lost Ark & Jurassic Park

SpielbergBlogathon

This post is part of the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON hosted by Outspoken & Freckled, It Rains… You Get Wet, and Once Upon A Screen taking place August 23-24. Please visit these host blogs for a full list of participating blogs

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When Ruth asked me to participate in the Steven Spielberg blogathon, I wasn’t sure what to write about so I figured I should do a write up about two films of his that I’ve watched many times. These two films also made me into a film fanatic and home theater enthusiast that I am today.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

I was born in the Far East and the martial arts films was the only genre I’d watch, but after seeing this film I became a fan of American action films. I think I was about 8 or 9 years old when I first saw this film, my family and I were living in the Philippines Islands at the time and I saw it at some old movie theater. I was too young to really understood what the film was about but the visual and of course the action pulled me in. I still remember that the film’s climatic scene gave me nightmares, I freaked out when I saw the villains’ faces melt off and they were burned alive.

But I still thought the film was magic and when my family and I arrived to the States a year later, I begged my parents to buy me a VHS copy of the film. What’s so funny was that I didn’t know there were sequels until I saw a TV spot of The Last Crusade the year we arrived in the States. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the third film on the big screen but watched it several times on VHS. Then a couple of years later I watched Temple of Doom on the old Sci-Fi Channel. I enjoyed the two sequels but to me Raiders is still the best in the series.

RaidersOftheLostArk

I’ve owned this film on many formats, first I had the VHS copy then later when I was able to afford a LaserDisc player, I bought a LD version of the film. When DVD became popular, I of course bought the DVD set then just a couple of years ago I got the Bluray set, unfortunately I had to buy the dreadful fourth film too.

Since Spielberg is a big fan of David Lean and Lawrence of Arabia is one of his favorite films, he even stated that the film’s script is the best ever written, so Raiders of the Lost Ark was his ultimate tribute to Lean’s classic film.

 

Jurassic Park

The summer of 1993 was dubbed Arnold vs. Sly since both of those action stars had two big films opening in the same summer and the so-called industry “experts” predicted that Sly’s Cliffhanger and Arnold’s Last Action Hero would dominate the box office. Of course Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was also one of the hyped up films but no one expected it would stomped both Sly’s and Arnold’s films. Sure I was excited to see new action films from Sly and Arnold but I super excited to see this film about dinosaurs. It’s one of the first films to have included full CGI effects in many scenes and it’s about dinosaurs!

Yes, like many kids back in those days, I was obsessed with dinosaurs and I’ve just finished Michael Crichton’s novel that it’s based on. I still remember to this day which theater I saw the film at on opening weekend and still remember how at awe I was after the film was over. The first time I saw the CGI dinosaurs, my jaw dropped and throughout the film, I had a smile on my face. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at the cinemas. I actually went to see the film twice on the opening weekend, around this time digital surround sound was pretty new in movie theaters so I wanted to hear the T-Rex’s roar in full digital sound over and over again. I was bummed that I couldn’t make it to the re-release on IMAX last year. With an opening weekend of over $50mil, it’s a record opening at that time. I think the summer of 1993 should’ve been called, T-Rex stomped Sly and Arnold.

JurassicParkStills

Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, I’ve owned this film on many formats. First VHS then LaserDisc and years later on DVD. Recently I bought it on Bluray but I have yet to watch it. Apparently Universal didn’t give the film a proper HD transfer so I was hesitant to buy it. Since I haven’t watched the film in a couple of years, I need to see and hear it in HD soon. This film also turned me into a home theater enthusiast, as mentioned earlier, I saw the film at a theater that has the new digital surround sound and after experiencing that, I wanted to have a home theater. Of course being a high school kid, I didn’t have the money to buy home theater products yet. But as I’ve gotten older and can earn bigger pay checks, I’ve invested some good amount of cash on home entertainment. In a way, I can thank and blame this Spielberg’s film for making me obsess with home theater.

Spielberg is one of the best filmmakers ever and these two films proved that he can make films that can please both the critics and audiences.

TedS_post


What do you think of these two films, were you lucky enough to have seen them on the big screen? Do share your memories on the comments section.

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24 thoughts on “The Spielberg Blogathon: Reminiscing about Raiders of the Lost Ark & Jurassic Park

  1. Pingback: the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON: day 2 | It Rains... You Get Wet

  2. Nice write-ups here, Ted. Don’t have much else to add here myself, these two are classics that hold up to this day. In fact, the effects in JP are especially remarkable in that regard. Fantastic stuff. 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Cris.

      Yeah the effects in JP would be considered dated by today’s standards but I still think it’s amazing achievement.

  3. These 2 films are definitely Spielberg at his finest as far as his ability to create blockbusters with brains and excitement. Raiders is a classic as is Jurassic Park and both of them still hold up.

    1. Ted S.

      LOL, yeah I bought the LD player in the mid to late 90s, just when DVD was coming out. I think LD made a mistake of marketed their product to only people with money and never consider the general consumers. Also, the discs themselves were HUGE and cost like $70-100 each! DVD took off because they marketed it correctly and of course the discs were nice and small.

      I really enjoyed the novel too and was disappointed they didn’t include some of the dinosaurs that were mentioned in the book but I loved the film anyway.

      1. HAHA YES!!! Those laser discs were going to revolutionize the world, if only as a kid or teenager you could scrounge up $100 bucks! I mean did they think about how difficult it would be to store these too? The book was great, I do remember also that the founder of the park is in the book a lot more than in the movie. Wish they would have included him more.

  4. Surely the most popular, iconic films? Perhaps others would say Jaws, but I could watch Raiders and Jurassic Park every day and never tire of it. They are perfect films and the best of what Spielberg does, makes the audiences care for the characters and quicken the heart beat. Nice job, Ted.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Cindy.

      You know I’m one of the few people who thinks Jaws isn’t that great, I liked it but I never thought it’s as great as many say it is. But yeah these two films, in my opinion, surpassed Jaws on so many levels.

      1. Yes, I’m in your camp. I have seen Jaws several times and still can’t “love” it like others. I find First Encounter or Empire of the Sun or a host of others more entertaining and interesting.

  5. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted:

    ‘Raiders…’ still holds the top spot for its many surprising tricks (Enormous Bowling Ball of Doom, Cobra rearing up behind a polished glass panel. Borrowing the brief clip of a globe trotting DC-3 from an earlier, less popular film. 1973’s ‘Lost Horizon’ to save money). Also liked the melting faces and enormous matte painting of the government warehouse at the end.

    Excellent casting in the first and third films. Not so much, the second.

    ‘Jurassic Park’ would not have been as memorable. Had it not been for Wayne Knight, Muldoon, the supposed Big Game Hunter.And the hapless late night snack lawyer,

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Jack, yeah I remember I was a bit disappointed when I first saw Temple of Doom, the first half hour felt like it’s going to be a fun ride but it got weird and just wasn’t that good compare to the first film.

      Haha, yeah I love Wayne Knight aka Newman in Jurassic Park too. If I remember correctly, Muldoon had a bigger role in the novel but they reduced his part for the film version.

  6. Enjoyed your reminiscing, great movies can take us right back to the time we first fell in love with them. I feel like rewatching Raiders and J. Park after reading this. Cheers! 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks! I think that’s what so great about Spielberg’s earlier films, they were quite memorable. I can’t say the same about his newer films.

  7. I’ve never been a huuuge fan of Indiana Jones but Raiders is so beloved that I think I owe it a rewatch! Lovely write-up, you seem to have a strong connection to both of these films, it shines through your text.
    – Mette

  8. Spot on Ted. Spielberg has that ability of artistic integrity with box office, crowd-pleasing mainstream appeal. He’s responsible for a handful of my all-time favorite films – Close Encounters, Jaws, E.T – and indirectly responsible for others such as Back To The Future.

    Jurassic Park absolutely blew me away when I saw it as a child in the theater and despite it’s incredible special effects being 21 years old, the world he created in the film still feels so authentic. Raiders is another classic and is one of those films I find myself returning to time and time again.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Dan.

      Yeah Spielberg has his hands on so many great and popular films. Heck he even produced all those awful Transformers flicks.

      I can watch both of these films over and over again any day, although I have yet to watch Jurassic Park bluray. I hope it’s a descent HD transfer.

  9. A stellar set of film to write about for the blogathon, Ted. Just never tire rewatching this duo from Spielberg. So many thrills and memorable moments. Many thanks for a great blogathon contribution, my friend.

  10. Pingback: Birthday List Update: Favorite Films from Each Decade I Live Through |

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