Raiders! Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
(Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, John Rhys-Davies, Eli Roth, Chris Gore, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / NR / 2016 / MVD Visual)
Overview: The true, decades-spanning tale of the greatest fan film ever made. After Steven Spielberg's classic Raiders of the Lost Ark was released 35 years ago, three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi set out on what would become a 7-year-long labor of love and tribute to their favorite film: a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film. They finished every scene...except one; the film's explosive airplane set piece. Over two decades later, the trio reunited with the original cast members from their childhood in order to complete their masterpiece.
Blu-ray Verdict: I'll be honest, if I didn't actually truly know that this movie was indeed a true story, I'd have thought it was another 'Blair Witch' found footage extravaganza. That said, an amazing story it truly is for filmmakers Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen made a movie about the making of a movie that is a movie re-made in honor of a movie that was already made - and yet never quite finished it!
Confused? OK, well let's break this down a little bit. 'Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made' is an adorable flashback to a time when some geeky 11 year-old boys from Mississippi decided that making a shot-for-shot remake of Steven Spielberg's classic 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' was what their future summers needed in them.
This fascinating 'Raiders!' documentary chronicles the story of the decades-spanning production of a shot-for-shot remake of Spielberg's classic by these three childhood best friends. Indeed, Coon and Skousen catch up with forty-somethings Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb as they are trying to put together the financing and logistics to film the final scene of their unfinished movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation'. Yup, the very same three boys that started the process in 1982 and filmed each of the next seven summers until they graduated from high school are brought together to finish the film off.
Containing old school TV features on them at the time, along with real snakes, we quickly learn the plucky trio did their own stunts and nearly even burnt down their mum's house! As people interviewed will testify, the fact that these three 11 year-old's managed to remake the original film, scene for scene is, as one puts it, "mindboggling". And it really is, because by the time these guys had finished (almost) their movie, they had all entered college!
As the guys themselves attest, it was the greatest time of their lives, although they also fully admit they basically lost out on their childhoods too. As for that missing explosive airplane scene, it has haunted the trio ever since then that they couldn't finish the movie. As another famous actor John Rhys Davies puts it, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan"! Of course, this documentary wouldn't be complete if forces didn't come together to help the trio recreate that now infamous airplane scene - although, even now things don't exactly go according to plan!
Featuring interviews with John Rhys Davies, Eli Roth and more, 'Raiders!' is the story of the project's culmination, chronicling the friends' dedication to their artistic vision - mixed in with some movie magic - to create the greatest fan film ever made. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
16 Page Booklet
Dual Audio Commentaries Featuring Directors Tim Skousen & Jeremy Coon and Film Subjects Chris Strompolos & Eric Zala.
Outtakes from the Raiders Adaptation
Q&A from the 2003 Premiere of the Adaptation at Alamo Drafthouse
Side-by-side comparison of adaptation and original Raiders trailer!