Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Featured In Issue 170, October 2012

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Not Indicated
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Steven Spielberg
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Indiana Jones And The) Raiders Of The Lost Ark is the action-packed classic that set the standard for the modern-day action-adventure. Globe-trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones (Ford) is hired to find the mystical Lost Ark of the Covenant. Love interest Marion Ravenwood (Allen), rival (fly-eating) archaeologist Belloq (Freeman), and the ultimate screen villains, the Nazis, complicate the adventure. Raiders was the top-grossing movie of 1981 and was the winner of five well-deserved Academy Awards®. (Michael Coate)

The only special features are three trailers.

Reviewed in Issue 78 as one of three motion pictures in The Complete DVD Collection, the anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD picture looked fantastic. This was the first effort to restore the imagery. As such, the picture was sharp and detailed, with nicely rendered depth and clarity, to highlight the intricate sets and locations. There were, however, a few shots that exhibited a soft focus. Colors were richly saturated with lush greens and vivid hues, natural fleshtones, and deep blacks. A discriminating eye could notice the occasional edge enhancement in some scenes, but its presence was quite minimal. Contrast and shadow delineation were nicely balanced, with satisfying visual information in the darker scenes. The opening sequence was a bit dark, but that was intended to preserve the mysterious man in the shadows until his on-screen debut. The superb restoration work for the DVD release was performed by Lowry Digital Images and incorporated digital "cleanup." This new restoration and remastering work was performed in 4K resolution, to preserve the original look. The original negative was scanned at 4K and then examined frame by frame so that any damage could be repaired. The team color corrected and cleaned the negative frame by frame. There was extensive manual touchup that was employed to correct running scratches and damage that were on the negative. As such, the 2.35:1 film has never looked better! While the opening sequence retains its darkest, deeply saturated rugged look, the rest of the picture is first rate with excellent color fidelity, black levels, and shadow delineation. Hues have well-balanced tones that exhibit perfectly natural earth tones and primaries, and fleshtones remain sun drenched and realistic. Resolution is superb, especially during close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture. Dimensional depth also is excellent. This is an iconic film that has been impressively remastered and THX® certified, which the Blu-ray Disc effectively brings to life. (Gary Reber)

The remastered DVD Dolby® Digital 5.1 soundtrack (which, according to sources at Paramount, was EX-encoded as well) was excellent at the time, conveying, of course, the original creative nuances and offering an updated, discrete sound mix that offered a lot of sonic entertainment through an active, engaging soundstage and impressive dynamics. The audio was expectedly somewhat dated in fidelity, yet the aged sonic characteristics did not negatively affect the overall experience. The soundfield was consistently wide and involving, even during more quiescent moments, with the effective dimensional spread of atmospheric effects. The John Williams music score really wrapped around the listener. Dialogue was presented at a comfortable listening level, sounding fairly natural, with the expected limitations of the dated production. But of course, it was the heightened action moments that really sold this new sound mix, with aggressive surround engagement (and some stereo separation) and lots of enhanced, often intense deep bass to boot, with prominent LFE channel activity. While the DVD soundtrack sounded relatively good at the time (though limited to monaural surrounds), this new Blu-ray Disc release features a new sound design that dramatically enhances the sonic immersion presented by the DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel format. The sound design was preserved using Ben Burtt's original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981. New stereo surrounds were created using the original music tracks and original effects recorded in stereo but previously used only in monaural. In addition, the sub bass was redone entirely up to modern specifications, and dialogue has been improved as well for better spatial integration. The remastered work has been THX certified. The soundfield is immersively engaging, with directionalized surrounds that put you into the dimensional soundscapes. John Williams' orchestral score sounds impressively dynamic and full, with excellent fidelity and dimensionality. Sound effects and atmospherics are far more refined in sonic presence, and the overall weight of the sound is absolutely engaging. This is the new sonic reference for this iconic film. (Gary Reber)