Raiders Of The Lost Ark Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Raiders Of The Lost Ark by by John Williams.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 92.7
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 50.87
Album Excellence: 69%
Indiana Jones is one of the most loved characters in the history of movies and yet, my history with Mr. Jones is somewhat different than most people. Yes, I have watched the movies, but for me it started with the computer games, specifically the adventure games by Lucasfilm Games. It was Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in 1989 and it was exciting and fun so I started watching the movies. Raiders Of The Lost Ark from 1981was the first one and remember it was very fun and exciting, a proper adventure. The music didn’t stick with me at first, except for the main theme and I quickly learned it was music by John Williams, the same guy who did Superman and Star Wars. Last year the Indiana Jones or Indy as I like to call him got a new level of appreciation for me as I listened to the four available Indy scores and very much enjoyed what I was hearing. This review is part of Big J’s Sunday.
We start the adventure with ‘In The Jungle’ and Indiana Jones is of course he is out looking for amazing artifacts and treasures. It’s what I would call “waiting” music. It’s waiting for something to happen, yet it’s very exciting at the same time. The cue gets its most exciting moment around the 3 minute mark where the woodwinds is played against each other in a frantic fashion. Ok, so it’s not the most exciting cue overall, but it’s still very tense and exciting because you know it’s going to really come out of it’s shell soon. ‘The Idol Temple’ starts low key with very dark and eerie sounds. The 1 minute 30 second long intro is getting the tension up, and then there’s a short march before getting back to eerie land. At this point most people will ask: Where’s Indiana Jones? Be patient children, he is coming any second now. Ah yes, there it is. ‘Escape From the Temple’ starts with a burst of excitement, strings and horns intertwine as Indy is getting some workout. Particularly from 1 minute and to the end, I sense that things are getting very exciting indeed.
In ‘Flight From Peru’ comes the moment we all are waiting for. This is the moment at 1:03 where we get to hear the theme known as Raiders theme, otherwise known as one of the best ever themes. This is of course Indy for most people, myself included. Marion’s theme is premiered in ‘A Thought For Marion / To Nepal’ and it’s another very memorable theme even though it reminds me a bit of Star Wars and Princess Leia’s Theme. ‘Flight To Cairo’ also have a Star Wars feel about it, but since Williams was doing Star Wars and Indiana Jones pretty much at the same time, it’s to be expected. Anyway, who doesn’t love Star Wars? ‘The Basket Game’ features another great motif by the maestro. It’s comedic, but it’s not slap stick or mickey mousey in my mind (even though I can see the arguments), it’s just a lot of fun. Also there’s one theme I haven’t mentioned yet. The ominous theme heard in the beginning of ‘The Map Room: Dawn’ and it is certiainly a powerful theme and very memorable. The theme is best heard with big epic choirs and so John Williams deliver later in this cue.
The quest of the ark is one thing, but it turns out that the ark has a lot of scary secrets. ‘The Well Of The Souls’ brings back memories of mayhem, but the music doesn’t quite deliver excellence. The excitement returns in a sort of march form in ‘Indy Rides The Statue’. The excitement continue with ‘The Fist Fight / The Flying Wing’ where we also get a new glimpse of the Raiders Theme. It’s such a tease though. I want to hear the whole thing now, uncensored, and not mixed in with other music. The over 7 minute long ‘Desert Chase’ is a fun ride though where it mixes some great action music and Raiders Theme. Easily my favorite music overall on the score. This is John Williams in action mode and it’s medicine for the brain as I breeze through those 7 minutes like it was nothing. It quickly goes into romance with ‘Marion’s Theme / The Crate’ which features Marion’s Theme of course, but this time in full. It’s a beautiful and memorable theme. I feel that the ending of this score is extremely strong featuring Raiders Theme in ‘Ride To The Nazi Hideout’ and the Ominous Theme in ‘Indy Follows The Ark’ and ‘The Miracle Of The Ark’. It all ends in glory with ‘Washington Ending & Raiders March’ which features all three of the movie’s main themes. It starts with Marion’s Theme, then the Ominous Theme and then of course ends with the best of them all, the Raiders Theme. This is the ultimate version of the theme, the one I remember from the adventure video game I played, the music I remember from when I first saw the movie. This is one of the most fun and infectuous themes in history and I must have found myself humming or thinking about this theme a thousand times since it’s conception. Pure brilliance!
Raiders Of The Lost Ark does have a bit of trouble along the way. It stumbles itself into the Indiana Jones universe and all is not great, but it gives us at least three memorable themes, and the best of them is of course Raiders Theme. This is very exciting indeed and lays the foundation works for what comes next. This might not be the best Indy score, but it will always be remembered because of those themes and that it came first.
4. Flight From Peru *
5. Washington Men / Indy’s Home
6. A Thought For Marion / To Nepal
8. Flight To Cairo
9. The Basket Game
11. The Map Room: Dawn
14. Indy Rides The Statue
15. The Fist Fight / The Flying Wing
16. Desert Chase *
17. Marion’s Theme / The Crate
18. The German Sub
19. Ride To The Nazi Hideout
20. Indy Follows The Ark
21. The Miracle Of The Ark
22. Washington Ending & Raiders March *