Raiders: The Adaptation Fan Review by Eric Fisk

By Eric Fisk

Tribute to a work of Art:

There’s a lot to say about Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, but I can’t say too much with out giving away large chunks of the surprises. It simply has to be seen, and not just for entertainment value but as in inspiration for other fans and an example of what you can do when you don’t take “no” for an answer. It’s a movie that anyone who’s a fan of the original would have a hard time disliking. Seeing it is an enjoyable experience, not so much because of the way it retells the same story that we’ve all grown to love – that’s only part of it. The greatest part is seeing the lengths Chris Strompolos and company went to get the shots; setting fire to a basement, getting dragged by a truck, getting the run of some naval ships and even getting to swim among them. This film is really a collection of other fans’ great adventures.

The Raiders Adaptation isn’t so much a remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark with Indiana Jones. It’s the same story, the same dialog and with exotic locations in Mississippi taking the place of other exotic locations from around the world. The costumes are similar, and the acting in this version is much the same as the motion picture staring professionals. “Get it done while having fun” school of acting. But this version has something more that I’ve never seen in other fan film. It has a spirit all it’s own. There’s an intensity that came with watching the movie, not in the sense that “we have to get this movie done before today’s deadline” that’s glaring in some professional low-budget movies, but a real sense that these young actors were on a real adventure, getting into serious trouble and trying not to get caught – ironically while doing all this on film. That sense of legitimate danger is on the screen in every scene and makes it hard not to be objective and not get sucked into this movie.


Like I wrote earlier, what this really is and has become is a scrapbook of memories; watching fellow fans of the original blockbuster grow up from scene to scene. You’re watching someone else’s childhood, a group of kids who could have been your next door neighbors or friends in high school.

Like other nostalgia pieces, though, you’re going to be reminded of your own memories, for an example I was reminded of the summers I spent camping using surplus military equipment and wearing old Army Khaki’s with my fedora. (Something’s haven’t changed...) As I watched Chris and company (Angela Rodriguez, Michael Bales, Eric Zala and Ted Ross) act and interact, I remembered my friends that I used to hang out with, in our second-hand vintage clothes riding around town listening to jazz on the local college radio station, and getting lost in the woods with a compass and topographical map looking for abandoned structures in the woods that once belonged to farmers who's land had long been abandoned. This movie is going to remind you of your own episodes and incidents that were inspired by the original film to do dangerous things. It’s inevitable that you’re going to be reminded of some of the things you did to be more like Jones... this movie takes a lot of that one step farther.

Leaving the Theater:

Amazingly, the Raiders Adaptation had the largest showing of any of the films at the “Fanzillacon” fan film convention in Worchester, Massachusetts last year; including the larger-budgeted Battlestar Galactic” film with TV original star, Richard Hatch.

This movie has had a lot of press, including a high profile story in Vanity Fair after the tribute movie caught the attention of Steven Spielberg. And there’s even a motion picture being made about the Adaptation and the circle of friends involved in making it. The story behind the making of this tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark is going to make an incredible movie and I only hope all those involved would write a biography of their experience in front and behind the camera.

In the end, this movie is an incredible accomplishment, made before digital effects and put together with out the fancy editing programs that moviemakers in Hollywood take for granted these days. The Raiders Adaptation is an incredible accomplishment on many different levels and will be an inspiration to amateur and filmmakers alike for years to come.