Much has been said about Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s the best adventure movie of all time, maybe the best action movie, too. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five. The American Film Institute lists it as one of the top 100 films of all time. The Library of Congress included it on the National Film Registry. John Williams created one of the best soundtracks ever for the film. And it showed what can happen when you put two creators like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas together. It is an action-adventure, a war movie, a romance, a suspense-thriller, a roller coaster ride, and few movies will keep you glued to your seat from the first scene to the last like this movie. Yes, much has been said about Raiders. Now today we can say it is finally available on Blu-Ray.
Tag Archive: Raiders of the Lost Ark
I have watched bits and pieces of E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial over the years and haven’t viewed it in its entirety since its VHS release. I was lucky enough to see it in its original release back in 1982. I seem to recall my sister got us some special tickets she won from a radio station for opening night, and when you entered the theater everyone received a sticker for E.T. and Reese’s Pieces, which, at that moment, no one had heard of before:
I’d been a life-long fan of the oily candy coated Wonka Oompas, and these smaller bits of peanut butter goodness became a candy staple that I have yet to be able to walk away from.
Over the year stories surfaced about the little licensing battle that occurred over the M&Ms featured in a key scene in the original story and Mars’ missed marketing opportunity that resulted in Elliott leaving the trail of Reese’s instead, which ultimately seemed to be all about money as these things always are. Suffice it to say, I am happy we live in a world where Reese’s Pieces and M&Ms can live in harmony. (Enough about food, back to the movie).
If all was right in the world we would all be flocking back to the theaters to see E.T. on the big screen in the “see it again for the first time” way. Of all of Spielberg’s brilliant films, E.T. is the one that stands up with Star Wars as far as story with a heart. Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably the most exciting film ever made, and I remember the movie ending on the screen of the big River Hills theater and realizing I hadn’t eaten or drank anything or taken a restroom break because I was glued to the screen for every minute of the movie. Jaws is the best blockbuster ever and defined the very term. Close Encounters of the Third Kind illustrates the very best that science fiction can be on film. But E.T.’s story didn’t require much by way of special effects then and doesn’t now, once you get beyond the non-CGI animatronic special effect of E.T. himself. The space ship at film’s end could have been made with a soup can and strobe light and it wouldn’t have mattered.
What did matter was this very realistic neighborhood, this very real family of kids, and a simple story about concern for someone in need of help.
And John Williams delivered a standout score, a score that, like Star Wars and Raiders and Jaws and Superman, can never be confused with modern, canned soundtrack pieces. Williams was at the top of his game when he write the rousing E.T. themes.
Years ago I bought a copy of E.T. on VHS for $1. With viewings on TV every now and then it’s hard to justify getting the Blu-Ray for me, simply because it isn’t effects heavy and I’m not sure I need another version. But Spielberg did something very right with the new release that shows he has learned from the errored ways of Mr. Lucas. If you managed to see bits of the 2002 re-release edition of E.T. you may recall Spielberg jumped on the bandwagon with Lucas and decided to CGI-ify his movie a bit (CGI-ify, a newly coined term meaning “terrorizing a film through editing”).
A few odd changes Spielberg made to the 2002 release:
- Elliott’s mom says Elliott’s brother looks like a “hippie,” where the original used the word “terrorist”.
- The feds with guns at the end of the film had their guns replaced with circa-1982 mobile phones.
Where Lucas has hidden away his initial, brilliant versions of the Star Wars films, Spielberg’s new edition of E.T. makes none of these changes, returning instead to a cleaner modification of the 1982 film we all loved. So soon you’ll be singing “Turn on your heart light” with Neil Diamond, and saying “Phone home” and “I’ll be right here” and “Home” and “Be good” in your best E.T. voice.
Here is a trailer for the Blu-Ray release:
The Blu-Ray has a lot of extra features, like
· The E.T. Journals: Including behind-the-scenes footage.
· Steven Spielberg & E.T.: New interview with Steven Spielberg on E.T.
· Deleted Scenes: Two scenes from 2002 version of the film.
· A Look Back: Making of E.T. featurette.
· The E.T. Reunion: The cast and filmmaker reunion featurette.
· The Evolution and Creation of E.T.
· The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams
· The 20th Anniversary Premiere: Behind the scenes look John Williams concert presentation.
· Original Theatrical Trailer
· Special Olympics TV spot
· Designs, Photographs and Marketing
You can pre-order E.T. now for a discounted price at Amazon.com, and if you’re a super-fan of E.T. check out this mega-sized boxed edition featuring its own mother ship model, complete with sound.
E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial hits Blu-ray on October 9, 2012.
A lot has been written about “comic book adaptations”—taking a comic book character and making it into a movie, as has now been done extensively in the theaters with Superman, Batman, the Avengers characters and X-Men, and to a lesser extent with Hellboy, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, and on the small screen with Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and several others. What hasn’t gotten as much attention is the art of successfully translating of a movie into comic book form.
For years, comic book publishers have teamed with movie studios to co-market a new film with a same-day or early release adaptation of the movie or to take advantage after the fact on the public’s desire to view the movie again later. The recent term is the movie “tie-in”. This has been done in fiction novelations as well, sometimes to positive effect and sometimes not. A striking example is an early attempt to create a novelization for Ridley Scott’s movie Blade Runner, itself based on a Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? That didn’t fly for the original creator and the novel issued with the movie release was actually a re-issue of Dick’s original work. This lent some confusion to viewers of both the book and movie because of the many changes made for the film.
In comic books, studios and publishers have been cross marketing movies extensively back at least to the early 1950s, with the Dell Four Color comic books series, which included movie adaptations of John Ford’s The Searchers, Moby Dick with Gregory Peck, and dozens of others, to the Gold Key series of the 1960s, which delivered the popular Star Trek and other TV series adaptations in addition to movies, to Marvel Comics in the 1970s with adaptations of Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Logan’s Run, and even into the 1980s with adaptations of films like The Last Starfighter. For some movies, rights issues prevent a movie from making it into comic book form. This is the case with the James Bond movies and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Getting a comic book adaptation right involves the same sensibilities as that required for a good novelization. Story must always remain the key focus, but with comics you get the added bonus of the visual re-presentation of the film. Often the writers get advance looks at what the filmmakers are doing, but sometimes they don’t get to see as much as would be helpful for rounding out the adapted work. In the 1977 Star Wars comic book adaptation, one page featured a first look at Jabba the Hutt, who we would later meet in the movie Return of the Jedi and find to be a giant slug. In the original Star Wars adaptation he is a yellow, whiskered biped, a humanoid–an example of preparation and timing not allowing for an accurate translation of what ends up on screen.
In 35 years I still have not seen a comic book adaptation that was as well done as Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson’s The Empire Strikes Back, published by Marvel Comics (cover at the top of this article). Where the Star Wars adaptation was a stylized sci-fi epic, Empire featured a stunningly drawn adaptation of characters, aliens and places, and even characters that looked like the actors playing the characters. The Empire adaptation was released in a giant over-sized book in the same way the Star Wars adaptation had been released. As a kid, I had repeatedly checked out the hard-bound library version of the Star Wars adaptation—to get that taste of the movie in the days when you had to wait years to see a movie re-released in the theater, long before video tapes. So when I got the Empire version in the same format for my birthday, it became a well-worn companion that stuck by me until Return of the Jedi premiered. Incredibly it is still available for sale on eBay and at Amazon.com.
Why did the Empire adaptation work? Preparation clearly played a key role, with the writers and artists having full access to the complete director’s version of the film, including scenes that eventually were cut from the film. An artist who stuck to the film and refrained from unwanted elaboration also helped. Clearly, compared to the Star Wars adaptation that had been quickly drawn, the Empire adaptation benefitted from on artist who had the time to include great detail. And just as Star Wars was issued in single issues over a period of four months, so was Empire, and the plotting and chapter divisions also reflected a film that was paced well, lending itself toward a good adaptation. What followed suit would be years of similar high-quality adaptations, including a superb three-issue Marvel Comics series adapting Raiders of the Lost Ark, and later, a four-issue adaptation of Return of the Jedi. From then on adaptations would stick closer to the films they were adapting.
A few recent comic book projects will be featured in the following days. These works are not adaptations as much as science fiction movie tie-ins, but they are also some of the most creative and interesting bridging between movies and comic books to ever hit the shelves.
Review by C.J. Bunce
In the hiatus between Season 2 and last night’s Season 3 opener of Warehouse 13, only one question was pecking at viewers’ minds. Why would Agent Myka Bering, played by Joanne Kelly, co-star and female lead of the show, leave after only two seasons? Luckily for fans we don’t have to wait all season to find out.
Warehouse 13–the SyFy Channel series that expands upon the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the thoughtless government lackeys carted off the Ark in the final scene. Okay, not that exact warehouse, but something bigger and better–think the nation’s attic meets the X-Files or the short-lived series The Lost Room. Except with the X-Files you had monsters of the week, and here, like Friday the 13th (the Canadian TV series) or Ray Bradbury Theater, you have an artifact of the week–some seemingly mundane throwaway item that we learn in fact carries some otherworldly power, often causing or created by the famous event or person the artifact is tied to.
Last night’s episode “The New Guy” started with all the regulars back in their stride (minus the missing Myka), with Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) working a textbook case of the out-of-control, would-be artifact-of-the-week with Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti). This time the artifact is one of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars (hey, didn’t I see that in the NYC Hard Rock Cafe?), wreaking electric havok, only to be tamed by Claudia’s cool guitar skills, and a little extra playing after she gives it the purple glove treatment–despite being scolded by Warehouse leader Artie Nielsen, played by the top-notch character actor Saul Rubinek (who played my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation villain Kivas Fajo). A team of Pete and Claudia! Great idea! Even better, Claudia is now the promoted Agent Claudia, long removed from her character’s weaker slacker introduction in Season 1, she now is confident, large-and-in-charge of all Warehouse tech.
But then a rescued hottie flirts with our hero Pete, and he–ignores it. What? From there we are spun into uncertainty–like Pete and company, we need Myka back. Pete is not the same. The guy who Myka referred to as “Artie, it’s Pete, it’s a win when he doesn’t lick anything” is just not his normal hilarious self. And as a viewer you start to wonder how grim the show will be without our reliable straight arrow Myka.
Enter Steve Jinks, played by Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Veronica Mars, In Plain Sight), an ATF agent who witnesses the strange Hendrix guitar antics, and Pete and Claudia’s resolution, but he can’t believe it. Steve, who has a perceptive skill to know the difference between someone lying and telling the truth, is pushed away at the ATF and Artie taps him as Myka’s replacement. Friendly enough, he still is no Myka, and worse yet, he doesn’t get Pete’s jokes. And Pete drops some great one-liners in this episode. Steve is now the new guy–a full team member and Pete begrudgingly brings him along to pursue the actual artifact of the week, a certain folio (“it’s not a book, it’s a folio”) of letters with popular lines of antiquity that are killing the people who read them–only these are not actual lines uttered by historical people, more like lines from a play. Shakespeare? Wait, Pete knows someone who can help, someone who knows all this “Walter” Shakespeare, the “Bird” of Avon gobbledygook. Myka?
Everything finally comes together by the end, sort of, and we’re off to another season of sleuthing, with a surprise visit by H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray), who will soon be the star of her own ScyFy Channel spin-off, according to Warehouse actors. Another interesting idea. After two seasons Warehouse 13 is picking up steam–the cast is familiar now and play off each other well and with some new guest stars expected this season, including a Star Trek line-up of Rene Auberjonois, Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan, and our favorite Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner as the Warehouse doctor, we have some good TV to look forward to.