Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

A group of fan's take their obsession with Raiders of the Lost Arc to the tipping point.

Released by Drafthouse Films

Release Date: June 17th, 2016

Starring: Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb, and Angela Rodriguez

Written by  Tim Skousen, Jeremy Coon

Directed by  Tim Skousen, Jeremy Coon

Not Rated (Language)

I think that every film geek has their own version of the first time they found out about Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. Mine goes: I was reading a book by Vern, who used to write for Ain’t It Cool News and runs his own website at, and in the book he reviews the Adaptation. In his review he talks about the first time he had heard of the film and the first time he saw the film. I became intrigued. What the hell is this film?

It turns out that a group of friends got together, who were grade school age when they started, and made a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are two things that are amazing about this: First is that they actually saw the thing through. This wasn’t some project that they took on for the summer only to be forgotten about when school starts. These kids actually shot everything except for the airport scene by the time they were finished. Two, that they were able to remake a big action blockbuster with very little money. Oh, and that fact that they were friggin’ kids.

So the stories have been circulating about this film for some time and the kids, now all grown up, decide that they want to finish the film and do the airport scene. They go to different people that they know and get money out of them and then use Kickstarter to raise the rest. They hire a “metal guy” (that’s what he calls himself in the film.) to build an airplane that matches the one in the film. They hire a pyrotechnic guy to blow it up. Hell, they even found a camel to be in the scene, although they never tell us where they got the camel from.

Then things start to take a turn for the worst. The DP quits because he is not being paid. The plane can only be moved a little at a time because it takes them hours to move it back (I also think that one of the wheels was breaking off).  Also it rains during most of the shoot.

Throughout this trek to finally finish the film, we learn what kind of kids these guys were. We learn that there was a falling out with the weird kid who was really only there to do the effects. We learn that they used real fire in the bar scene.

Of course with this being a documentary there has to be some drama from the past. One of the guys becomes addicted to crack and then meth. The other guy wants to be on the straight and narrow, but he is finding it hard because he is tired of bailing his friend out of jail all the time.

While I was watching the film, I found myself asking “why” a lot. Why did these kids decide to see this through to completion? Why did they go back as grown men with families and finish the film. It is questions like this that the film answers, but in a roundabout way. There are no clear answers other than “they wanted to.” Or “they can finally finish the dream.” I found myself with more questions than answers.

These guys, and their families are nice and good people. The families stand behind them and there is a good nature to most of the film, but the filmmakers try to shoehorn things into the film. The guys talk about the divorces of their respective parents and how it was kind of hard, but because the info is just thrown at us, we are not really given a chance to react.

The filmmakers have a decided that they are going to fade out on almost every scene. This means that people are cut off mid-sentence and it makes for a sloppy editing job. Also, the timeline of everything happening jumps around a bit, so we may hear about something happening, but we don’t see it until later in the film. I also think that Steven Spielberg should had something to say on the whole matter, but that is not a fault of the filmmakers.

Raiders! is a good documentary about a group of friends who wanted to make a film and the other film that they thought would possible was the first adventure of Indiana Jones. The clips that we see of The Adaptation show that these kids really love the film they are remaking and I wish that their version would make it onto dvd or blu-ray. I enjoyed this film and wish that there were treasures like The Adaptation.

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