Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2015)

DailyView: Day 121, Movie 194

It is documentary day in the DailyView. This doc goes into specific about a group of childhood friends who wanted to and did film a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In 1981, two 11-year old kids, Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, started to work on the remake of Raiders, which took them seven years to complete. The only thing was they never were able to complete the airplane scene. Thirty years later, they reunite to finish the scene.

The documentary is more effective as a story between three people (including Jayson Lamb) and the struggles and interactions of their lives while they were attempting to make this childhood dream come true. While the parts involving the shooting of the airplane scene was interesting, the real strength of the doc is the connections.

There are so many obstacles faced by this group not only as young kids, but also as adults.

Some of the footage was so amazing. Seeing them set people on fire in their childhood home’s basement is just one of the shocking moments of the film. Chris took some bad steps leading him to a life of drugs and a betrayal of Eric and the splitting apart of the kids. It told an unbelievable story of obsession and dedication slamming into each other.

John Rhys-Davies appeared and spoke during the documentary. Rhys-Davies played Sallah in two of the Indiana Jones movies and his presence here really brought a gravitas to the doc.

I also loved the end of the doc as it brought a huge amount of tension to the film. An issue with an exploding plane made this filled with anxiety.

The only criticism I would have is that I would have liked to have seen more of the footage that they had shot from their original film interwoven in the doc. However, the comments made by family members and friends really brought a great energy to the doc. I enjoyed this documentary.

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