First of all, thanks to 1sttime0ffender for his determined challenge in the previous round of EduClaytion’s March Movie Madness! I wasn’t sure how I’d stack up against Dances With Wolves but I can tell you now that there’s still plenty of vigour in this Blogger’s mind!
Now I’m up against TamaraOutLoud with Braveheart, a crowd favourite for many reasons. Having said that though, there is still a contest to be had and I’m pretty sure that the information that follows might help fellow voters over at Clay’s blog realise why Raiders should yet again be triumphant!
Above all else, the main reason Raiders of the Lost Ark is better than Braveheart is because of historical accuracy.
Both films have elements of history worked into the story. One, however, didn’t have both its writer and director/star touting it as a work of historical fact when it was released. I have nothing against historical movies and in most cases I can forgive the taking of a few liberties but seriously – a little girl picking a Scottish thistle with her bare hands? Have you seen those things?! Kilts in 13th century Scotland?
I’m just going to point you in the direction of this website here for some humorous support because if I carry on I’ll both work myself into a slavering frenzy and this post will be thousands of words long. We don’t want either of those things happening. You’ll notice that Mel Gibson features in three of the eleven movies in that list which tells us one thing: Mel Gibson is responsible for almost one-quarter of all historically inaccurate films.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, on the other hand, took history to a new and exciting level. Some of us didn’t even notice that through the shootouts, car chases, fist fights and daring escapes we were actually learning something! Of course many could say it took the safe route but I prefer to think of it as the logical route.
If you’re going to add an element of recorded history to your movie, make sure it’s something that can’t be factually rebuked if you mess it up or play around with it.
Aside from the historical inaccuracy flaunted by Braveheart, there was the accent. I know that accents can be tricky to pull off (as Dick Van Dyke, Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio may well attest) but Mel’s attempt at a Scottish accent was incredibly distracting for the most part. On occasion I found myself just wishing someone would manage to plant a sword in him and be done with it!
I was also never comfortable with an element of hypocrisy of the William Wallace character himself. Sure, he was out for vengeance after the murder of his wife and I respect that, but what happened with Princess Leia – I mean Princess Isabelle? I’m not here to get serious about morality and such though; I don’t want things getting ugly.
Comparatively, both movies are great. Statistically they’ve done well at the box office, with Braveheart only earning an extra $1.6 million over Raiders on their respective opening weekends. Considering that Raiders was shown on nearly half as many screens, I think it demonstrates a greater appeal to the viewing public!
I could talk about how Raiders of the lost Ark spawned excellent sequels and Braveheart didn’t, but considering how things worked out for young William Wallace, it’s hard to imagine one sequel, let alone two. Maybe the story of Robert the Bruce just wasn’t that interesting. It could’ve been called “Braveheart 2: Wrenching the Heartland” or something… Oh and I know there were actually three further Indy movies but seriously, even I’ll admit that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a bit of a joke.
All in all, both films have their merits. Braveheart though has a few too many flaws for my liking. For those of you who backed Apollo 13 during this event may I also add – Braveheart robbed your movie of an Oscar for Best Picture in 1996. Raiders of the Lost Ark didn’t.
Even with all the facts I’ve outlined above, for me it pretty much boils down to one thing: if your Scottish girlfriend rolls her eyes and sighs in disdain at the simple mention of Braveheart, you know something’s terribly wrong.
I think there’s something in that for all of us, don’t you?