Knowledge is Power || Raiders of the Lost Ark

Many an elementary school child has been asked: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” It is only later, however, when they discover the challenges that come with being a space explorer, a princess, or a marine biologist (I just wanted to swim with dolphins, but noooooo, I had to take advanced statistics). The future (8-year-old me was certain), was full of the same possibilities I saw projected up on the silver screen. After my parents broke the news that I might not make “Jedi Master” by the time I turned 18, I next considered going into archeology. After all, I looked good in Dad’s fedora, and learning how to sling a whip seemed like a lot of fun.

Judging by the myriad adult males I saw dressed as Indiana Jones last weekend at PAX, it seems I am not alone in my admiration for the titular hero of 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. This film, as they say, is the one that started it all (although it draws inspiration from other adventurers like Tarzan, Tintin and Allan Quartermaine). Here is Harrison Ford at his finest; Steven Spielberg at his funnest; and John Williams… well, John Williams is amazing as always. As summarized on the film’s IMDb page: “In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler’s Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.”

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“The Force Will Be With You. Always.” || A New Hope

There was really no other movie I could have written about this week. What can I say about Star Wars? That it’s the movie(s) I most associate with my father? That John Williams’ soaring, celestial score is practically imprinted on my genes? Or perhaps I should admit how, even if I wrote 100 posts on this film, I would still not be able to say all that I want to about that galaxy far, far away…

If I’m being honest, I can’t recall the first time I watched Star Wars with my father. It was just always THERE. Every Christmas, Birthday, and Father’s Day, Dad would inevitably receive a Darth Vader-themed present from my sister and I. He had shelves full of mugs, figures, books, and novelty-items (a lightsaber pen, for example) featuring the Dark Lord. The reason why Star Wars had always been with us, my mom later explained, was because it had always been Dad’s “thing.”

I joke that without Star Wars, I wouldn’t exist. When it debuted in 1977, mom and dad went to the theatre for their first official (solo) date. This went well, so they had another, and another, until finally they had me (there was some other stuff that happened in between). Long after a farm boy, a princess, and a scoundrel first traversed the galaxy, the Force remained strong in my family. And it continues to, even though my father is no longer with us on this particular blue planet. As I near the fourth anniversary of his passing, it only feels right to share my thoughts on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. As summarized on its IMDb page: “Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.”

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