This Weekend's Other Anniversary:
The Legacy of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

It's probably no coincidence that 'Super 8,' an homage by J.J. Abrams to the kind of movies Steven Spielberg specialized in 30 years ago, is being released this weekend, which also marks the 30th anniversary of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (released on June 12, 1981). Spielberg is nothing if not conscious of movie history -- especially his own -- and it's clear from recent interviews that the making of 'Raiders' is still fresh in his mind. (Moviefone's 'Super 8' review is here.)

In one sense, 'Raiders' has left an immense legacy, in that it launched a huge franchise on the big and small screens, turned Harrison Ford from a second-lead action-movie stalwart into an all-time movie icon and created the action-movie-as-amusement-park-ride template that many filmmakers (including Spielberg himself) have emulated ever since. In another sense, however, the movie seems an anomaly and a footnote, precisely because duplicating its magic and following its example have proved impossible for almost everyone who has tried (again, including Spielberg himself).