Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

I can’t remember the first time I heard of the boys who made a shot-for-shot remake of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. I do remember thinking, “Cute, but what’s the point? Perhaps there’s more to the story.”

Turns out, there is … but only technically. With writer Alan Eisenstock, the once-juvenile filmmakers Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala tell their seven-year tale of production in RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE. While certainly rife with details, it offers little in terms of meaty stuff that inquiring minds outta know.

For example, you’ll learn that Chris was a class clown, that Eric met him over the Marvel Comics adaptation, that Chris liked to lip-sync to Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl,” that Eric’s home eventually was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and so on. You may think otherwise, but I don’t think they add up to a compelling behind-the-scenes story. That they made a movie in and of itself was not enough for me.

At the end of each chapter — and even sections within those chapters — Eisenstock tries his hardest to squeeze drama out of mundane situations, or create drama where there is none. Dialogue here in particular rings false, with lines carrying the same clichéd cinematic weight of “You ain’t seen nothing yet” or “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!”

Telling it from the kids’ viewpoint is what sinks it. Overall, the book has the feel of being the literary equivalent of re-enactments on AMERICA’S MOST WANTED. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

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1 Comment »

Comment by R
2012-11-19 13:10:51

I hate to criticize creative types, especially kids, but this has always seemed more of an obsessive mission than any kind of fun project. I used to make 8mm movies as a kid, usually based on my favorite TV shows or movies. They were a fun way to spend a couple days in the woods filming stunts and fight scenes, etc. And it was fun again to watch them over and over.
But to feel the need to replicate a two-hour movie scene by scene seems bizarrely OCD.

I saw a video recently on YouTube about these guys where they were shown lighting one of their backs on fire, while real actual fires burned in their house or garage or wherever they were filming.

Real fire.

They set themselves on fire.

The craziest thing I ever did was in our version of The Terminator, where I cut down a twenty-foot tree, leaned it against another tree, climbed up, and then, when The Terminator pushed on the tree, I crashed to the ground along with the tree. Awesome stunt. Could have broken something, I guess, and it might have been a stupid thing to do. But if I went back to that younger version of myself and suggested he set the house and even himself on fire, that younger version of myself would punch me in the face for even suggesting it.

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