Raiders of the Lost Ark
The boulder scene from Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my all time favorite scenes from any of the movies I’ve watched. Dressing up as Indiana Jones twice for Halloween, this scene hits close to my heart. I was very intrigued to analyze the scene’s editing and discover new subtle nuances within the film.
The establishing shot of the scene begins with Indy trying to carefully remove the artifact from an ancient temple’s stand. He takes his time and rightfully presumes that the tomb is booby-trapped. In terms of editing, the shots in this part of the scene are extended in order to prolong the suspense of what will happen next. The scene also cuts to Indy’s partner to add even more suspense as he vicariously awaits the artifact with seemingly no concern for Indy’s well being. What makes this scene really suspenseful, however, is its music. The music perfectly syncs with the actions of the scene and once Indy finally retrieves the artifact, the music comes to a climatic halt that leaves the viewer with relief and despair all at once.
By removing the artifact, Indy now finds himself in one of the most terrifying obstacle courses ever. As the temple’s traps come alive with anger, the editing comes alive as well. For the rest of this exhilarating scene, the editing moves into fast cuts. It seems as if each shot is never more than a couple of seconds. By doing so, the editor not only succeeds in heightening suspense but also succeeds in construct editing by showing the special relations of the temple.
From beginning to end, the scene is a cinematic roller coaster of exhilaration. In my opinion, this real life version of temple run is one of the best openings I’ve ever seen to a film. After further examination, I’ve come to also value and admire its masterful editing as well.