Just a thought: Raiders 4K

Well, first of all; Happy New Year everyone. I’m one of those who believed 2021 was even worse than 2020, confounding all hopes and expectations, so 2022… its GOT to be better, hasn’t it? Well, the old saying ‘approach with extreme caution’ springs to mind, somehow I get the feeling we’re slipping back into the 1970s: Inflation, high energy prices, clowns in Parliament…

raiders artSo anyway, just a thought: last night on New Years Eve I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark on 4K UHD. The film looks absolutely terrific in 4K, highly detailed with lovely grain and a really fine colour balance. Its never looked better, that’s for sure- something one often resorts to when describing films on 4K, but its so true in cases such as this. Films in 4K, at their best, can look very filmic, losing that video ‘shine’ that other home video formats had, instead looking very close to how a film would when projected in a cinema.

But while watching it, it occurred to me that Harrison Ford made Raiders (released 1981) and then went and made Blade Runner (released 1982), and the difference between the two vouches for just how great cinema can be/used to be. One was a rip-roaring, witty and exciting adventure flick, the other a dark, dystopian (some would suggest turgid) thriller. What struck me though, is that the two seem decades apart in style and sensibility. And when one considers that The Empire Strikes Back was released the year prior to Raiders… Ford’s filmography at the time; wow, he seemed the coolest guy on Earth- at least until no-one turned up to watch Blade Runner, but then again, decades later who cares about box-office, the films stand far removed from all that now.

Raiders is something special though. Spielberg was at the height of his game, every shot is imaginative, the way the camera moves, catches actors face’s reactions which often speak more than the scripts dialogue (and wasn’t that casting great?), John Williams’ score propels everything magnificently, another vivid example of what films today have lost in how music is used in them now. Frankly the film is a masterclass. And its forty years old. Yeah, that last bit… .

5 thoughts on “Just a thought: Raiders 4K

  1. Tom

    Happy New Year to you and yours! Let us indeed hope that 2022 is some kind of turnaround. What is with the ’20s, by the way? The roaring 1920s fomented the Great Depression. The 2020s have been thus far ensconced in disease. Hey, maybe the kids in the 3020s will have it better. If there’s still a planet left by then, of course.

  2. Did you see that blogpost Steven Soderbergh made several years ago where he desaturated Raiders and took away the sound, to demonstrate just how well shot and edited it is? Apparently you can absolutely still follow it, because it’s so well put together visually. I always meant to watching his version, but haven’t yet. It still looked fantastic, though — Douglas Slocombe used such classical lighting that, even just simply desaturated, it looks like it was shot (and shot well) for black & white. You definitely don’t get that kind of artistry on most of today’s blockbusters.

    1. No, I didn’t see that Soderbergh thing but I can fully understand where he’s coming from. Maybe its because I hadn’t seen the film for a few years, but I was quite amazed by how the camera moved, revealing things within the frame to move the plot forward or reveal some twist or dynamic. I can fully believe the film works as a silent movie, without the score or anything. Practically every shot is a work of art not because its particularly pretty (much of its, but that’s not what I’m getting at) but rather because of how the visual elements carry the story.

  3. Pingback: Indy’s not-so last Crusade – the ghost of 82

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