A few thoughts occasioned by viewing Raiders of the Lost Ark at an Imax theater:
- This being, I believe, the first Imax movie I've ever seen, holy moley! When the screen's so big that I have to sort of not watch it as I try to climb the stairs because it disorients me when the scene shifts quickly, that's a movie!
- Thank goodness that George Lucas was not solely responsible for Raiders, because this rerelease would have been as wrecked as the original Star Wars trilogy. The swordsman probably would have been digitally altered to fire a bullet from his scimitar handle before Indiana pulled his gun. Stephen Spielberg did digitally alter a print of E.T. to replace the guns the federal agents brandish at one point with walkie-talkies (leaving us with the image of walkie-talkies that have a place for a trigger finger), but even he says that when people want to watch the movie, they should watch the 1982 original.
- John Williams is sometimes not considered much of a classical composer, because so much of his work is done for movies. I don't know about that, but I know he's a master of the movie score -- Raiders would have about a thousand percent less impact without his work. The slightly ominous theme connected to the Ark itself, the first time Indy's triumphant tune sounds over one of his feats of daring -- all of these make a great movie an awesome one.
- Although movie theaters could do a lot more towards improving their product, when we see a piece of cinematic wonder like Raiders, we recognize that there is a purpose for a big screen, a purpose for a massive sound system, a purpose for the community of the audience -- and that none of these can be realized no matter what home system one might be able to build. Movies were made for theaters, and this one highlights that better than most.
- The space shuttle launch sequence short that preceded the movie contains a sentence that always twinges a little bit for me, and maybe for anyone who can remember 1986. Even though the phrase is "Atlantis, go at throttle up," I'm always reminded that's the last communication to the doomed Challenger just before its explosion.