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How to Melt a Face: Filmmakers Talk About Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Climactic Scene

Raiders of the Loat Ark

Image: Lucasfilm

CInefix and IGN present “Obviously One of Their Heads Can Explode” – The Wrath of God in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Forty years later, and several generations of digital filmmaking hence, the final action sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark holds up.

The practical effects, combined with animation, and the intrepid work of the production staff, director, producer, and, of course, actors made a scene that still both terrify and fascinate audiences.

Making Heads Explode, 40-Years Hence explained:

Indiana Jones

In his script for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lawrence Kasdan describes the opening of the Ark of the Covenant as “a preview of the end of the world.” What came to be known as the Wrath of God scene, however, is as visually iconic and gruesomely memorable an ending as you can ask for. So how did the special effects team take a few vague but powerful lines and turn it into an Oscar winning, face melting sequence for the ages? To find out, we talked to the artists that made it happen

However, when Cinefix (IGN) spoke to those involved, it was clear that nobody had any a clear view of how to put together the sequence.

Short and Sweet

The line in Kasdan’s draft, which described the tumult, was short:

Inside the Ark of the Covenant is a preview of the end of the world. A light so bright, a power so fearsome, a charge so jolting, that there is nothing in our world to compare to [sic].

To wit, Karen Allen, who played Marion, one of the most underrated actors of her era, added, “We asked Steven [Spielberg]…’Whats going to come out of the Ark?’ He really didn’t know yet.”

Thankfully a lot of people at ILM did know.

Check out the video:

Read the full article, here.

And be sure to keep it here for the latest from the set of Indiana Jones V.

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