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