Steven Spielberg

Spielberg and “The Post”: Some thoughts on truth and the movies

I saw “The Post” last night. And the first thing I did when I got home was fire up the computer and test it. How close to the real story was it? What liberties did director Steven Spielberg and his team take with the story of the Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War?

Film Fanatic: Steven Spielberg Says the Superhero Fad Will Eventually Fade


Steven Spielberg Says the Superhero Fad Will Eventually Fade

Steven Spielberg invented the summer blockbuster. In the five decades since Jaws made people rethink whether to go in the water, we’ve seen different forms dominate. In the ’80s it was typically the one rugged man saving the day i.e… Indiana Jones, Rambo, Rocky, John McClaine and every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

In the ’90s, visual effects became popular thus creating alien invasions, natural disasters and dinosaurs to put butts in the seats.

The beginning of the ’00s was owned by fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter), pillaged by a few pirates in the middle of the decade before being saved by masked men with superpowers and this has remained true for the better part of a decade.

In 2016 alone, seven superhero movies will be released compared to just three this year. From Marvel Studios (Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange) to Warner Bros. (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) to Fox (Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Gambit), major studios will ride the superhero wave as long as it lasts.

We’ll see in ten years if Spielberg was right. | (

But according to Spielberg, the fad will eventually fade just like other genres.

“We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western,” said Spielberg to the Associated Press. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns. Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving. I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture.”

Many movie lovers might take these comments as a sign that Spielberg is just lamenting the “Back in my day” times and not acknowledging the future of summer blockbusters. But he has a point.

There’s only so many stories Marvel can tell before the current cast of the Avengers gets tired and wants to move on thus leading the company to either reboot its entire universe or recast roles. Can you see anyone else playing Iron Man but Robert Downey Jr.?

The other factor is budget concerns. Studios will only shell out so many dollars before realizing they aren’t getting a big enough return on their investment. Of course foreign markets help significantly in that regard and it appears the trend for superhero movies abroad is going up.

If we get a few more Fantastic Four debacles however, this trend may end sooner than we thought. But for now the genre remains at its peak. Marvel continues to roll out hit after hit and Warner Bros. is set to release perhaps the biggest superhero movie of all time in Batman v Superman next March.

Will audiences get tired of the genre? We’ll know for sure come the end of next year. But I wouldn’t bet against Spielberg and his comments. He’s seen a few things in this business.


‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Getting IMAX 3D Release

Back in May, a little movie called Avengers: Age of Ultron was released and Disney basically monopolized all of the IMAX screens in the country. This prevented myself and many others from enjoying the best movie of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road, in glorious IMAX. The film was just released on Blu-ray this week, but fans who still wanted to experience it on the biggest screen possible will have their chance starting next week.

Mad Max Fury
The best movie of the year is returning for 3D IMAX screenings for one week. | (

Beginning Friday, September 11, Fury Road will be re-released on IMAX screens for one week only in 3D.

While Fury Road received overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and critics, the $150 million movie earned $374 million worldwide which is good but not great. Hell, even Terminator: Genisys has managed to make more money after opening in China last week.

While one week on IMAX screens, (which are expensive tickets), isn’t going to turn Fury Road into a box office juggernaut, it’s still a cool thing for Warner Bros. to do. If you haven’t seen Fury Road yet, please go see it in IMAX 3D. By the end of it, you will feel exhausted, exhilarated and thoroughly satisfied and you might even have to shake some sand out of your ears.


Vincent Cassel Cast as Villain in ‘Bourne 5’

Just last week I wrote about what the new Bourne movie, (which reunites Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass), would look like plot wise. Now we know who will be Jason Bourne’s nemesis in the new film.

I hope Jason Bourne has been doing cardio in his retirement. | (

According to Variety, french actor Vincent Cassel will play the villain joining other notable foreign actors to face off against Bourne including Clive Owen, Karl Urban and Edgar Ramirez. The story doesn’t provide any other details, but adding Cassel is a terrific casting choice.

Who knows whether Cassel will play an actual mercenary hunting Bourne down like the previous actors I mentioned or if he’ll be a puppet master, but he is a fantastic actor capable of being both menacing and charming at the same time. Damon and Cassel previously co-starred in Ocean’s 12.

In a summer that will basically be suffocated by superhero movies, it’s really exciting that we’re going to get another Bourne movie, which will be the first one starring Damon in nine years. Yes, he’s basically a superhero, but this series is just so damn gritty, grounded and intelligent that it feels like you’re learning something while also being entertained.

Bourne 5 also stars Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Julia Stiles and will be released on July 29, 2016.


Film Fanatic: Russo Brothers To Make ‘Avengers’ Sequels, Spielberg News, ‘Super Troopers 2’ Confirmed


Film Fanatic


Russo Brothers to Make ‘Avengers’ Sequels

The Russo Brothers have come a long way from their You, Me and Dupree days. After directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, arguably the best Marvel film to date (Yes, that includes The Avengers), many wondered what would be next for the directors.

There was a report just a few weeks ago that they would be involved with the Ghostbusters cinematic universe at Sony, but now it appears their schedule will be quite full for the foreseeable future at Disney.

According to Badass Digest, after making Captain America: Civil War, which is set to begin filming in the next couple of weeks, they will direct Avengers: Infinity War parts one and two, set for release in 2018 and 2019.

Marvel Studios' "Thor: The Dark World," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" And "Guardians Of The Galaxy" Red Carpet - Comic-Con International 2013
It’s good to be the Russo Brothers. | (

Joss Whedon has said that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be his last in the series and both Disney and Marvel were clamoring to find a suitable replacement for the rest of the franchise so why not these guys. Like I said before, they’ve made the next best Marvel film other than The Avengers so it would be smart to continue that relationship.

One thing to note is that screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — the scribes behind all three Captain America movies and Thor: The Dark World, are in talks to pen the scripts for Infinity War. This will be interesting considering Whedon was the writer on the first two Avengers films and he was brought in to take a pass at the The Dark World script when it needed some fine-tuning.

Whedon excels in balancing multiple characters, giving them plenty to do and creating a story that is both fun and dramatic. It will be interesting to see how well Markus and McFeely will be able to follow in his giant footsteps. As for the Russo Brothers, this is great news. They’ve already made their mark in the MCU and they appear to be passionate and excited to continue working with Marvel.


Steven Spielberg to Direct ‘Ready Player One’

While he’s currently putting the finishing touches on his next film, Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg is already looking ahead to another directing gig. According to Deadline, Spielberg has signed on to make Ready Player One which is based on the best-selling science fiction book.

If anyone can bring Ready Player One to life, it’s Spielberg. The book is an entertaining sci-fi adventure that follows Wade Watts, a poverty-stricken young man whose only real escape is entering OASIS, a virtual reality space created by the reclusive billionaire James Halliday.

But when a contest is created where the winner basically owns OASIS, Wade puts his knowledge and talent to the test to progress through the game while fighting against a corrupt corporation intent to win it for themselves.

Steven Spielberg knows a thing or two about pop culture and the ’80s. | (

The reason Spielberg would be a good choice for this is because the story involves a lot of ’80s pop culture references. Not only did the filmmaker direct some of the most iconic films from that decade, he’s also the most successful director ever which would go a long way toward acquiring licensing rights to all the references in the book. Without those rights, the overall fun of the story would suffer.

It would also be a strangely meta choice since Spielberg essentially helped create the nostalgic, pop culture esthetic that permeates throughout the book. Plus it would be a welcomed return to science fiction for the man who gave us such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and my personal favorite, Minority Report.

The one caveat to this story is that Spielberg is always attaching himself to projects so who knows when he would make the time for this property. He previously was attached to Robopocalypse, another story based on a popular science fiction book, and that ultimately fell through.

He’s the most accomplished director of all time so whenever he takes interest in a story, movie lovers take notice. Hopefully it happens with Ready Player One because it would be a fun franchise for him to take on.


‘Super Troopers 2’ Finally Coming

It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since Super Troopers came out. The 2001 cult classic about five local police officers and the shenanigans they got into were comic gold. The meow game was my personal favorite bit from that movie.

That was the breakout hit for the Broken Lizard crew, which consisted of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske, and they haven’t really had another comedy have the same impact.

Club Dread had its moments as a spoof on the slasher movie, I never saw Beerfest or The Slammin’ Salmon and The Babymakers, while a decent rom-com, was in theaters for exactly three days and made less than $8,000 (Ouch!)

Super Troopers
The time for ‘Super Troopers 2’ is meow! | (

The diminishing returns of those movies probably led to the crew thinking, ‘why not go back to the well.’ The problem was, no one wanted to finance a sequel so they decided to do what any makers of a cult classic does, ask the fans to pay for it.

After securing distribution from 20th Century Fox, the crew launched an Indiegogo campaign seeking $2 million in funds. This was Wednesday. On Thursday, Broken Lizard had reached its minimum goal. I’d say there’s demand for this movie.

So the sequel is moving forward, but the production is seeking more money to make a bigger movie with explosions and cameos from “real Hollywood actors” according to the campaign page. The $2 million figure was the minimum budget they could work with.

Making sequels to old comedies is certainly a thing these days (Anchorman 2, Dumb & Dumber To, Zoolander 2) and while Super Troopers 2 probably won’t be as good as the original, it will still be fun to see that crew all these years later.


Film Fanatic


You probably wouldn’t be shocked that one of the greatest bits of trivia in movie history involved Steven Spielberg and George Lucas considering they’re two of the most influential directors of all time.  But you might be surprised to learn about a bet the two filmmakers made early in their career that still affects them to this day.

In the mid to late ’70s, both men were hard at work on their respective science fiction epics.  Spielberg was working on Close Encounters of the Third Kind while Lucas was slaving away on some little film called Star Wars.  After dealing with so many issues on Star Wars (Including production delays and studio interference) and being deeply stressed and depressed, Lucas decided to take a vacation and visit the set of Close Encounters.  When he got there, he was amazed at how much better Spielberg’s film was looking than his own.

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg | (

In an article in Celebrity Networth, Spielberg talked about Lucas’ visit and how he was convinced Close Encounters would be far more successful than Star Wars.

“George came back from Star Wars a nervous wreck.  He didn’t feel Star Wars came up to the vision he initially had.  He felt he had just made this little kids’ movie.  He came to Mobile, Alabama where I was shooting Close Encounters on this humongous set and hung out with me for a couple of days.  He said, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than Star Wars.  This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time’.”

Perhaps feeling a little jealous, Lucas made a bet with with Spielberg.  Trade two and a half per cent of Star Wars‘ earnings with two and a half per cent of Close Encounters’.  Big mistake on Lucas’ part.

Close Encounters was a big hit at the time making more than $300 million and rescuing Columbia Pictures from bankruptcy.  But it didn’t come close to what Star Wars would eventually earn.  By the end of 1978, Star Wars‘ worldwide box office receipts totaled $500 million.  This sum earned Spielberg roughly $12.5 million which adjusted for inflation comes out to $46.675 million in 2013.  As of today, Star Wars is the second highest grossing movie of all time (behind Avatar) when you adjust for inflation.  Off of a budget of just $11 million, Star Wars has earned more than $2.5 billion.

Star Wars was a phenomenon and I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of points from that movie which I am still seeing money on today,” said Spielberg.

Not that Lucas is hurting in the money department, but boy was that a costly bet.  Spielberg made millions of dollars for a franchise he had nothing to do with.  It’s great to be friends with George Lucas apparently.

Rumor of the week: Christopher Nolan Approached to Direct James Bond 24

With Skyfall director Sam Mendes declining to return for the next installment in the Bond franchise, MGM has been trying to find a replacement in order to meet their goal of releasing another movie within three years.  With probably every big-shot director on their list, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have been rumored to have spoken with perhaps the hottest director at the moment, Christopher Nolan.

According to the Daily Mail, Nolan and the producers have had informal talks about the Batman director tackling Bond and Nolan himself has expressed interest in directing an installment in the past.

But if the producers intend on releasing another Bond picture in the next three years, they’ll either have to settle on someone else or wait for Nolan to finish work on his next enormous project, Interstellar.

Christopher Nolan | Collider

Nolan’s sci-fi project has only recently begun pre-production and will be released November 7, 2014.  According to Mendes, the reason he decided to pass on doing another film was because of the 18 months of preparation needed to direct a Bond film.  With the next year and a half devoted to Interstellar, there’s no feasible way Nolan could do both in time to meet MGM’ s deadline.

This might be a blessing in disguise however.  Nolan’s film Inception was heavily influenced by the Bond films of the ’60s and ’70s so he would certainly have a passion for the material, but I’d like to see Nolan continue to explore original work rather than take on another franchise.

Whether it’s The Prestige, Inception or his upcoming film, Nolan is one of the few major directors who attempts to create new stories told on a grand scale.  The Dark Knight trilogy was his foot in the door.  That allowed him to do something unique like Inception and it appears Interstellar will follow the same path.  As much as I would love to see him direct a James Bond movie, his talents are needed elsewhere.

Trailer of the Week: Pacific Rim

It’s too early to tell whether or not Pacific Rim will be a success when it is released in July.  The film has no stars and despite the appearance of giant fighting robots, the film doesn’t have Transformers attached to its title so you never know.  But if the film is anywhere close to matching its impressive trailer, fans of the Transformers movies will be more than satisfied.

The trailer blends Transformers and Godzilla with a little Matrix thrown in.  The inclusion of the GLaDOS voice from the video game Portal is a nice touch and unlike the last two Transformers movies, Pacific Rim appears to do a good job emphasizing the massive size and scale of the film.  People can’t relate to seeing giant robots and monsters fighting in real life so the fact that a lot of the shots are from ground level is a welcomed sight.

I’m also excited to see one of my favorite video games as a child, Rampage, come to life.  Seeing massive creatures tossing freight ships around like rag dolls and using cities as destructive playgrounds is quite impressive.  The fact that the film is directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy I and II, Pan’s Labyrinth) is exciting as well.  He seems like a director who has a lot of passion and intelligence behind his projects and with Pacific Rim, it appears he has made something more than just a generic robot fighting movie.



Film Fanatic


Jurassic Park 3D: An IMAX Experience Review

Anyone who’s a movie buff has that one film they regret not seeing on the big screen.  For me personally, I’m not talking about big-screen staples like Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey because I wasn’t born yet.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a time machine to go back and experience those classics with an audience.  I’m talking about movies in your lifetime that you had the ability to see in theaters but for one reason or another were unable to.

My movie theater regret was Jurassic Park.  Released in 1993 when I was 9 years old, the film ended up becoming the second-highest grossing ever at the time (behind Spielberg’s other blockbuster E.T.)  I know what you’re thinking.  How did I, at the perfect and impressionable age of 9, fail to see a movie where dinosaurs come to life?

Jurassic Park
Photo: IMDB

I couldn’t give you an answer, but I’ll always have vivid memories of going to school and hearing every other kid talk about how great the movie was.  It wasn’t until what seemed like a year later that my mom bought a copy on VHS and we, along with my sister, sat down and watched it for the first time.  It wasn’t until then, watching it on a 19-inch tube television, that I realized what I had missed out on.

But with the advancement in technology and the evolution (and improvement) of post-conversion 3D, filmmakers have had the opportunity to revisit their older films and allow a whole new generation of movie lovers to experience classic films like they were meant to be seen on the big screen.

One such filmmaker who realized this was Steven Spielberg.  In an interview for the Jurassic Park 3D release, Spielberg talked about viewing Titanic in 3D for the first time and realizing that with Jurassic Park, there was an opportunity for fans to experience the film in a whole new way.  Having seen the film numerous times in my living room over the years, my first experience with it on the big screen and in 3D could not have been more engrossing.

I’m not going to talk about the plot because as I mentioned earlier, everyone has seen it by now.  Instead let’s talk about the 3D and IMAX features that add another element to an already exhilarating experience.

As Spielberg mentioned, Titanic was really the first older film to be released in 3D.  Having seen that in IMAX when it came out, I remember loving the sound and how clear the picture looked.  But I didn’t really feel like the 3D aspect of it was all that engaging.  Jurassic Park is a whole different story.


If there’s one thing the 3D does to Jurassic Park, it makes you notice how destined the film was to eventually being seen in the third dimension.  In many ways, the film emphasizes speed, perspective, and distance more directly than any other of Spielberg’s films.

Whether it’s a simple shot of two characters (one in the foreground, one in the background) looking in one direction or coming into frame, a flock of Gallimimus sprinting past characters and the camera, or a velociraptor chomping at the heels of a young girl as it leaps up at the camera, the entire film in Spielberg’s eyes was meant to be seen through a lens of awe, spectacle and wonderment not just for children, but for adults as well.

Another striking aspect to seeing the film in theaters is how well it has aged.  The film was groundbreaking in its use of digital effects, but for me the film shines in this regard thanks to its seamless mix of computer-generated effects and animatronics (or auto-errotica according to a certain character in the film).  The scene that perfectly encapsulates this is the T-Rex attack on the kid’s jeep.  When it first breaks the suspension cables and walks out, that’s entirely CG.  But when it’s twisting the car around with its snout, that’s a real, physical animatronic that adds a sense of realism to the scene.

The only scenes that appeared a bit dated are the scientists first glimpse at the brachiosaurus, the T-Rex when it first emerges from the trees to chase the jeep and the person wearing uncomfortably short jean shorts at the beginning of the film.  Where was Blake Griffin in those Kia commercials to worn them?

Besides the visuals, the sound is also a great aspect to the film.  This is a movie about dinosaurs after all and each creature is given their own distinct sound.  Hearing the T-Rex’s roar, especially in an IMAX theater, is quite an experience.  And then of course there’s the iconic score from John Williams.  When it first kicks in as the helicopter approaches the island gave me goosebumps all over again.


As for whether to see it in IMAX or not, that decision comes down to how much you want to pay.  If you’ve never seen a movie in the IMAX theater, it’s really something to behold.  The sound is what’s most alarming, but the picture is also clearer than anything else you’ll experience and the size of the screen is noticeably bigger than your standard theater screen.  But if you don’t want to pay the extra $5 that’s perfectly fine. The 3D element is really the most important added feature to the film and you can see it that way minus the IMAX price.

Whichever option you choose, I insist that you revisit or discover for the first time the spectacle that is Jurassic Park.  If like me you failed to see it when it was originally released in theaters, find the time to see one of the greatest summer blockbusters ever conceived.  I finally got my chance.  It’s probably guaranteed to be better than most blockbusters released this year anyway.

Where Did The Week Go…


At the beginning of last week, security firm HALO Corp. announced that about 1,000 military personnel, police officials, medical experts and federal workers will train for the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. No seriously, it’s actually happening.

At the delight of George A. Romero I’m sure, organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next month to train for a number of scenarios, including a zombie-like outbreak.

Are we prepared for this?

The lesson is tongue-in-cheek and only a small part of the security summit’s course load, but a zombie apocalypse is a good training scenario according to HALO Corp. Visitors will learn and deal with a worldwide contagion while zombies roam the summit grounds in San Diego, Calif.

Troops and first-aid teams will be harassed by “fake” zombies while attempting to work in a simulated exercise. The CDC and Department of Homeland Security have used zombies to playfully stress to the public the importance of being prepared for a real disaster, but this might be taking it a bit too far.

For whatever reason, zombies have been popular for more than 40 years (thanks to Romero). There’s endless movies, video games, best-selling books and a popular television show about them. But we all know they’re not real right? Using them in a exercise seems cool, but how effective can it be for a bunch of trained crisis professionals?

As a promotional thing, this is genius, but it seems like a waist of time and money for training. Leave slow-moving, flesh-eating zombies for the movies. Let the professionals train for real-life situations.

Netflix Instant Pick: Sound of Noise

I remember seeing the trailer for this film a couple of years ago and thinking, “Whoa, that’s different.” It’s not often that I see a movie that feels completely original while also borrowing elements from other genres, but Sound of Noise is unique like that. If you like movies that are a little weird, a little rebellious and very harmonious, then this Swedish film is worth your time.

To say that the Warnebring family is musical would be a giant understatement. Mother Warnebring was a concert pianist and her husband a famed conductor. They produced two sons. The youngest, Oscar, learned to play the violin at age four, composed his first piece at twelve and now is a renowned conductor like his father.

A funny thriller with a unique sound.

And then there’s the other son….Police detective. Ironically named Amadeus, the black sheep of the family is tone-deaf and therefore, hates music. While Oscar receives all the attention for being the prodigal son, Amadeus is enjoying the silence. But when six guerrilla percussionists wreak havoc on the city musically, Amadeus aims to put an end to the noise.

Sanna and Magnus don’t appear to have day jobs, so they spend all of their time interacting with their surroundings to create nontraditional music, even if that means breaking the law occasionally. After their latest mission fails, the duo realizes they must think bigger to get their point across, so they find the four best drummers in town to help create an avant-garde score with four original movements while also dealing with detective Amadeus.

This sounds like a heist film and in a way it is. Only instead of stealing money, they’re stealing your time and ears to pull off one elaborate musical street symphony after another. They use hospital machines, construction equipment, coins and power cables among others to perform these highly creative scores. Anticipating what they’ll use next and how they plan to pull it off makes Sound of Noise a highly entertaining and thrilling movie even though the stakes aren’t that high. It’s just music after all.

From the opening sequence, Sound of Noise will have your head bopping. Mixed with creative animation, a little humor and a love story, Noise just might make you start tapping the coffee table afterwords.

John Williams Conducts Eugene Symphony

On Saturday, Eugene residents were treated to a night with legendary Hollywood composer and 5-time Academy Award winner John Williams. Leading the Eugene Symphony, Williams presented some of his most iconic pieces from such films as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, E.T. and my personal favorite, Superman.

A prolific Hollywood composer.

Last week I reviewed Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX, another iconic score that Williams created, and in it I mentioned that while Williams scores are often sweeping, grand and bombastic, they never seem to invade the movie. They always arrive at the perfect moment and while this is probably more of a credit to the editor than the composer, Williams still deserves a lot of praise.

Having worked with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on nearly every film they’ve made, Williams has been a composer in motion pictures for more than 50 years. While he’s slowed down a little bit over the last few years, fans can look forward to another Spielberg collaboration in November with the release of Lincoln.

Motion Pictures are known obviously for being a visual medium, but sound plays a major role in movies as well (Just look at my Netflix pick this week). Williams doesn’t tour often, so for the legend to make a stop in little old Eugene was a treat. And he doesn’t just come to show off as proceeds from the event benefited the Eugene Symphony’s education and community engagement programs.

Indiana Jones: An IMAX Experience Review


Everyone has those movies that they wish they could have seen in the theater when it was originally released. Movies that come to mind for me include: Lawrence of Arabia (Really any David Lean film), Star Wars, Once Upon a Time in the West and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now I do have an excuse for missing out on these movies; I wasn’t born yet.

But the power, passion and innovation of cinema allows younger generations the ability to appreciate these spectacles in a way they were meant to be seen. While the home experience is becoming more and more appealing (Nice comfortable furniture, surround sound, 50″ flat screen, high definition picture, and gas money still in pocket), there’s nothing quite like going to the cinema and seeing a film on a giant screen with complete strangers. It’s one of the few experiences where a group of people collectively stay quiet to enjoy something. And the experience is even better when the film lives up to expectations.

Relive and old classic with new technology.

Another film I wish I had been able to see when it was released was Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Luckily, in conjunction with the entire Indiana Jones series being released on Blu-ray next week, Paramount and director Steven Spielberg worked with IMAX to reformat the first film in the series into a 70mm version for IMAX screens. After seeing the film not only in IMAX, but on the big screen for the first time, I can say that it was worth the wait.

For those of you who have been hiding under a giant rolling boulder and haven’t seen it; Raiders follows Indiana Jones, professor of archeology and female-student heartthrob by day, adventurer and explorer by night. As the film opens, Indy is already in the middle of searching for his latest treasure. As has become a trademark of the franchise, Indy is introduced in silhouette.

This is where you first appreciate the IMAX conversion. Where the original 35mm print always looked a little muddy and grainy, the conversion presented definition and sharpness in the shadows. Indy and his fedora have never looked better and this sharp presentation remains for the rest of the film.

The film opens with an exhilarating set piece that works because it not only sets up Indy as the gallant, charming hero, but it lays out the stakes. Yes he is seasoned in a world full of adventure and wonderment, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t in danger every waking moment. As he captures his latest archaic object, his moment of relief quickly changes to fear as the removal of the object triggers a booby trap in the form of a giant, rolling boulder.

This is your first introduction to the refined audio for the IMAX conversion. As the boulder moves, chasing Indy through the cave, you feel the boulder in your stomach, the way you do when thunder erupts during a storm, and you feel like you’re standing right next to it. Later action sequences involve foot chases, car chases and hand-to-hand combat and they all sound immaculate.

I would leave that alone Indy.

Of course I can’t talk about sound without mentioning John Williams’ iconic score for Indiana Jones. The sweeping and stirring music fits perfectly with every moment of the film and despite its grandeur, it never feels intrusive to the audience. An iconic character needs iconic music and Williams delivers.

After a run-in with the natives (It feels like this happens to him a lot), Indy returns home to resume his teaching duties. But his moment of relaxation is short-lived as two government agents reveal to him that the Nazi’s believe they’ve discovered the long-lost resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, the golden casket used by the ancient Hebrews to hold the Ten Commandments. What the Nazis intend to do with it is no doubt sinister (They are Nazis after all), so Indy must find it first with the help of an old flame.

There isn’t much to the plot, but there doesn’t need to be in a great summer movie. With breathtaking action sequences that get better and better, Raiders relies on those set pieces as well as exotic locations such as the Jungles of South America and the deserts of Egypt to move the film along.

It’s also pretty violent. Every time I see it I’m taken aback by how much blood and gore is in the PG film. Of course at the time of its release, the PG-13 rating wasn’t created yet. It wasn’t until it’s even more violent and darker sequel, The Temple of Doom was released, that the MPAA decided to create a rating in between the family-friendly PG and the adult-themed R rating.

The spunky Marion Ravenwood.

There’s also room for some well-timed humor. Ford is as charming in this as he was in Star Wars. But instead of simply doing a retread of that character’s immature, smart-ass nature, he plays Indy as an understated, stubborn character who can still say lines like “I’m making this stuff up as I go along.” Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood is also given room to play a strong female character, while also balancing sexiness and humor. Her introduction to the film is especially funny and something you don’t often see from female characters.

The film does have a couple of noticeable moments of blurriness at the beginning and there are touches of graininess here and there, but the film is 31 years old so a few minor defects is understandable.

If you’ve never had a chance to see this classic I highly recommend checking it out. The IMAX Experience is a one-week event so you still have Wednesday and Thursday to experience Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen at Valley River Center. After seeing it you can take it off the bucket list like I have.