Thursday, October 17, 2013

Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film 'The Adaptation' gets a big screen release, sort of


The late 80's were a time of great upheaval.  The Berlin Wall and Communism were falling, the home video game market was rising, and for some inexplicable reason Pepsi was on its way to becoming Crystal Clear.

But for a bunch of grade school kids in Mississippi, it was the best time to be alive as they worked meticulously on completing a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark a paleo-fan film of sorts.  Well before the age of the YouTubes and smartphone cameras, this project - which came to be known as Raiders: The Adaptation had it all, and it was made by children.

Face melting? Check. That awesome scene where Indy's dragged behind a truck? Check.  That super-cool fistfight where Indy punches a German mechanic into an airplane propeller?  Well, ok... it didn't have that, but that's only because the filmmakers wouldn't compromise and wanted to use a real airplane.

And, assumedly, a real German mechanic

The film was wrapped in 1989 and promptly abandoned by the trio of filmmakers who eventually went through puberty and carried on with their lives.  Since then, it's become an underground hit favored by film buffs similar to The Star Wars Christmas Special or Wizard People, Dear Reader.

But now, Raiders: The Adaptation is poised to receive a big screen release... in a manner of speaking.  Releasing a shot-for-shot remake of a film would be a great way to get sued, so instead Raiders! will focus on the story of the kids making the film as a coming of age story.  To this end, Napoleon Dynamite producer Jeremy Coon is basing the film on the excellent book Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.

Think about the first half hour or so of Super 8 - or, y'know, the entire movie Son of Rambow which is also an excellent coming of age story set in the 1980s that focuses on two friends trying to remake Rambo: First Blood.

In fact, it'd be easy to dismiss Raiders! as a Son of Rambow ripoff - but since it's based on a real story and almost made it to theaters once before (in 2004), it *should* be safe from that sort of criticism, even if it goes for the exact same story-within-a-story approach.

It's difficult to say how much of the underground remake Raiders! will actually make it into the film, but if it doesn't feature at least one scene of a toddler outrunning a boulder you'll be within your rights to demand your money back.