Richard Schickel called Raiders of the Lost Ark a return to form for Spielberg, demonstrating a competence not seen since Jaws. He described it as a film Walt Disney would have made were he still alive.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
For Stanley Kauffmann, while the film’s thrills did work on him, the frequency eventually irritated him. He criticized the film’s reliance on nostalgia and updating older films instead of innovating new ideas.
In this review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tom Milne dismisses Spielberg’s classic as dross. In a scathing review he objects to the film’s many flaws, including its ‘simple-mindedness’ and its reliance on ‘limp clichés’.
The whole collapsing industry is being inspired by old Saturday afternoon serials, and the three biggest American moviemakers are hooked on technological playthings and techniques.