Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (1989)

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation
Director: Eric Zala
Writer: Lawrence KasdanGeorge Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Remake of: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Cast: Chris Strompolos, Angela Rodriguez, Eric Zala, Ted Ross, Alan Stenum, William Coon, Kurt Zala, Clay LaGrone, Sam Cummings
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Indiana Jones (Chris Strompolos) is a professor of archaeology, but one who likes to get his hands dirty every once in a while and go on proper adventures. When the US government approaches him to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on it, it seems the perfect moment for another one of those adventures. To find it, Indy has to first his ex Marion Ravenwood (Angela Rodriguez) who inherited an important clue as to its location. But Indy isn’t the only one who knows about that.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation is a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fan film made with even more determination than most other fan art. It took years to complete and was started when all of the participants were still kids. It’s a monument to pop culture and its power; a beautiful labor of love.

It’s simply astonishing if you think about what these kids managed to do. Not only that they had the stamina to finish the film at all over the course of a few summers, but the level of professionalism (and sheer luck) with which they managed to recreate the film and its special effects is astonishing. Not that you’d ever confuse it with a big Hollywood production, but creativity and determination can make up for a lot of budget regardless.

From today’s perspective it seems also almost unimaginable that kids ever got that much leeway, space and time not under supervision by grown-ups where they were left to their own devices. Even when that sometimes translates to stupid playing with fire (literally!) and other dangerous activities, I can’t help but feel a certain nostalgia for that freedom. I had a lot of it myself, but looking at the kids in my family and their friends that are growing up now, I don’t think that they’d ever manage to carve out enough room for themselves to accomplish a project like this one. At least not on their own.

Being a shot-for-shot remake, the film falls into the same traps as the original: slight lengths in the second half, the damselling, the racism. But in this case, the film itself can never be as important as the effort that went into it.

It is unfortunate that they shot most of the film on video which means that the picture quality and especially the sound really suffered and even with the digitized copy, it’s sometimes rather hard to see and hear what’s happening. But better this way than not being able to see it at all.

Summarizing: Absolutely worth seeing.


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