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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26
HOME / STORY

Kids With Cameras

Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Published Wednesday July 6, 06:47 pm
How three teens remade Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Raiders!
Broadway Theatre
July 8-13
3.5 out of 5

For most of their adolescence, three kids spent every summer for seven years filming a shot-by-shot recreation of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. With no more resources than a VHS camera, sheer will and gung-ho spirit, the boys succeeded… for the most part.

The DIY adaptation became a cult film championed by the likes of Eli Roth and Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles. It circulated in pirate copies and was even shown theatrically. One scene was missing though: An expensive, complex action sequence at a landing pad involving Indy, three Nazi planes and a hulking henchman. Kids’ ingenuity only goes so far.

This hilarious coming-of-age doc Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made follows two of the boys, all grown-up, as they try to complete their magnum opus. The storyline (compelling in its own right) serves as a pretext to revisit the shooting of the rest of the movie. Children of the 80s, Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb come across as extremely ingenious and phenomenally irresponsible (some scenes involving stunts and fire will give you pause before cracking up).

Raiders!also offers glimpses of growing pains, dreams fading away and friendships tested by prosaic matters like money and credit, which only makes the movie more relatable. In fact, if the kids had stable family lives it’s likely the recreation would have never taken place.

As for the documentary value: outside the heavy nostalgia component, it’s mostly empty calories. But it’s a fun ride.

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