Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those perfect films of the 1980s. Truly, if you changed even a single element of the film, it wouldn’t be as good – as perfect – as it already is. (Thankfully, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have yet to craft a truly CGI-saturated special edition…for now.)
So it makes a whole lot of sense that Marvel Entertainment would want to emulate the perfection of Raiders for its film about an action hero in the 1940s pitted against the Nazis – otherwise known as Captain America: The First Avenger.
Recently, director Joe Johnston talked to the L.A. Times about that influence. We also have a whole new batch of behind-the-scenes photos from the film for you to check out.
According to Joe Johnston (who happened to be the visual effects art director on Raiders of the Lost Ark):
“We used Raiders as a template when we were developing the story, but we sort of moved away from it as time went on. This is futurism in the 1940s. If you went to 1942 and thought of what the future would be, that’s what the approach was. The villain has a much more futuristic style and his science and his apparatus — he has a whole design motif that is beyond 1942 but it’s what you might have perceived as futuristic from a 1942 vantage point. So we went away from the Raiders template in that sense but where we sort of stuck with it was in the structure and the action and the way the main characters are thrown into these situations and then have to get themselves out of them.”
Despite the similarities between Captain America: The First Avenger and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the two films differ significantly. Says Johnston on the subject:
“When you sit down to watch it, it’s certainly not Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is a very different kind of film in the final analysis. But sometimes when we had questions and we were stuck we would say, ‘What would Indiana Jones do? What would be the answer to this in Raiders of the Lost Ark?’ I’ve always loved Raiders, and the great achievement of it was the tone and the fresh feeling of the movie. It was period but didn’t feel like it was made in the period. It felt like a contemporary film about this period in the past, and that is the goal we have with Captain America. And I can say this — it definitely has an Indiana Jones pace.”
As far as I’m concerned, the more Captain America: The First Avenger resembles Raiders of the Lost Ark, the better (advice that the last Indiana Jones film could’ve benefited greatly from). In point of fact, it’s a shame that there aren’t more shared elements!
For example: Nazis. Raiders of the Lost Ark had more Nazis than a movie knows what to do with. Captain America, if the trailers and images are to be believed, has verbal references to Hitler, but nary a Nazi or a swastika in sight. Ah, well. At least we have Chris Evans’ Baby-Head.
Check out the (less-than-revealing) behind-the-scenes photos below:
Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving, hits theaters June 22nd, 2011.