Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation started as young boys' fan project but became a life lesson in never giving up.

In 1981, a group of teenagers congregated to make “the greatest fan film ever made.” The homemade film was a shot-for-shot remake of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was released that same year.

The group of boys — directed by Eric Zala and produced by Chris Strompolos — reconvened in their thirties to shoot the one scene they could not make when they were younger: the airplane scene. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation in its entirety was shown at the Athens International Film + Video Fest on Friday at midnight.

If there was one word to sum up this rendition of the first Indiana Jones movie, it would be “impressive.” The kids’ attention to detail was impeccable. It seemed as if they did not miss one minute of detail included in the original film. The dialogue, the fight scenes, even some of the props were extremely similar — if not dead on — to the original.

In the scene in which Indiana Jones is teaching a class full of admiring girls, one of the ladies has “love you” written on her eyelids. Zala and Strompolos included this very small, funny detail.


For those not familiar with Spielberg’s film, the airplane scene takes place in the middle of the movie. When the newly-shot scene appeared on the screen, the audience could not help but laugh. The film went from homemade quality to theatrical quality in a matter of seconds. The airplane scene was remarkable. The movements and accuracy of the shots compared to the original are what made the scene stand out.

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In one of the final scenes, the bad guys’ faces are melted off by the power of the Ark of the Covenant. Zala and Strompolos tried their best to mimic this section of the film. Personally, I think they just wanted a reason to blow stuff up. The boys used mannequins and facial molds and caused them to explode. The most accurate part of the scene is when Major Arnold Toht’s face is melted off. The effects used were scary but incredibly similar.


The aspect of the film that is hard to wrap one’s head around is the fact that these kids were around the age of 12 when they started the endeavor. Even though they experienced some drama during the production, they still finished the film. That is an extraordinary feat to accomplish. At the heart of this film is the life lesson to finish what one has started and to never give up. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation is inspiring. So, if anyone out there has ever wanted to make a fan film, do it — it could end up being the greatest self-fulfilling achievement.

Rating: 4 /5


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