How could you not like the Ark best? It looks great, is made of gold, has a very long history, has all those wonderful powers, was hidden in a great place. I'm gonna make one of my own one of these days, minus the powers, gold covering, actual history and great hiding place. OK, it will be reminiscent, at least.
I think in terms of the power of the artifact and aesthetic look of the object the Ark is #1, the Crystal Skull is #2, the Sankara Stones #3 and the Grail #4. Other than the power to take life away if the wrong cup is chosen, the Grail is weak. The Skull effects the minds of those who look into it's eyes so it's less of an inanimate object throughout the film than the others are.
The best looking overall artifact I think is the fertility idol. I liked it so much my video production company was called "GOLDEN IDOL PRODUCTIONS".
1. The Ark- Had the greatest element of danger and the best treasure hunt leading up to it. You can't beat the Well of Souls set and the map room scene!
The rest are in more of a personal preference order than anything. One could argue the Sankara Stones were a stronger artifact than the grail because Sean Connery really overshadowed the treasure hunt. I think the rest of the artifacts have a common weakness though. There just isn't a strong element of danger to them. What is Hitler going to do with the Grail? Manufacture Holy Grail juice boxes and deliver them to troops? Mola Ram kept saying the Stones would help the Thuggee Cult rule the world but we never get a really good demonstration of their powers.
2. The Grail. I prefer the Grail to the stones because I find its powers more interesting.
3. Sankara Stones- They glow, they get really hot, and they make plants grow. Big deal.
4. Crystal Skull. There were moments when I found the Crystal Skull intriguing but ultimately it didn't go anywhere.
I voted for the Ark, but........ there are so many favorites. It is hard (IMO) to pick a favorite. I mean we all pulled for Indy to obtain the Macguffin in the movies, but I guess it was a all out three way tie of the Ark, Sankara stones, and the Grail. I liked the skull but it wasn't a fav.
I went with the cross, simply because it's the one I'd most like to own, followed closely by the Skull. The Ark is great, but I'm not really into getting my face melted. The Grail is cool, but it looks like crap (I know that's the point, but oh well). The headpiece is pretty up there. I'd say third. Then the Stones.. don't know much about their history or mythology, so I find myself being apathetic towards them. While I watch Raiders, LC, and KotCS for the MacGuffins, I don't really care about the Stones in ToD. I care a lot more about Indy and the kids he's trying to save. The kids, to me, are the MacGuffin.
Location: In the Map Room playing with a laser pointer
This is a really hard poll! (Hehe, "hard poll") My vote goes for the headpiece. Portable, shiny, it's a device, and a key of sorts. Plus, it doubles as a frickin' laser pointer! Really inventive! Other than that, they all have their merits. I like them all, really, even the crystal skull. It just comes down to preference, I guess.
I'd say the Ark. Every time they showed it, you had this impression that maybe it really was the actual Ark. Its power radiated through the screen even before we saw the face melting scene. The rest of the MacGuffins never carried that same awesomeness for me as the Ark did.
The headpiece isn't really a MacGuffin. Unlike the Ark, it carries a point in the story rather than just a bunch of people trying to obtain it.
I like each one for different reasons but the Ark gets my vote. It seemed to be the most powerful and had an ominous and mysterious presence to it (although that could be said about many of the artifacts).
I also like the fact that's it's big and requires at least two people to carry it. The other artifacts were smaller and Indy could carry them by himself, while the Ark required some additional support.
I put down the grail, its just awsome, if I felt like living, just take a drink!
On second thought I should have gone with the staff of ra(headpeice). 'Cause I could have use it in the tanis map room and found the ark as well. Two for one! But then again, I like my face attached to by head and body!