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Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation

By Adam Thomas

Wednesday December 12, 2007

With only five months until the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the new poster being released yesterday, we dusted off our whips and hats and realized that while this may be old news to super Indiana Jones nerds, er, fans, and that the trailer has been around for a long time, we never actually watched this thing.

Began in 1982 after seeing the original movie, three 12-year-old buddies got together and, over the course of the next six years, recreated the entire original Raiders of the Lost Ark, essentially shot for shot. Back in 2003 the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas – where they shot the bar scenes for Tarantino’s Death Proof – hosted the release of the film, and the film’s re-makers got all this press and even a high-five from Spielberg himself. While plenty of kids re-enact their favourite movies, this effort is unbelievable. Shot entirely on VHS, the quality is terrible, video glitches abound and the sound recording and lighting are super dodgy. But whatever, these guys fucking did it for real. There’s the rolling stone ball scene, they jump off cliffs, get dragged behind trucks, a guy gets his arm lit on fire, the kid playing Indy swims to and climbs up on a real submarine, they have cool ghost effects and at the end, people’s heads melt. While that might sound like a fun little five-minute clip on the interweb, they actually re-made the entire goddamn movie, and since they used Spielberg’s original as a direct template, the thing has all the same beats and pacing, and we actually watched the whole thing.