Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (Video 1989) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
11 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Incredibly good.
Blueghost10 February 2008
I just got back from the Indie SF Film Festival where this film was showing, and all I can say is that a few minutes into the film (home Betamax video camera (not Betacam)) I was in tears laughing.

True to Zala's comment during the Q&A at the end of the feature, there is no better audience to watch this with than a theatre filled with San Francisco Bay Area indy film makers and enthusiasts.

There were cheers. There was applause at key moments in the film. There were the obligatory "Oooooooohs" for the kissing scenes. Home made stunts: SFX: chase scenes: you name it, this film had it.

In case you don't know, this is a video production done by a bunch of middle-school cum high-school students who wanted to do their version of Spielberg's and Lucas' "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Nearly every shot is duplicated with a home video camera, showing the raw energy, "spunk", and otherwise enthusiasm of young aspiring film makers.

Seeing this production reminded me of all the video "films" my friends and I shot during the early 80s. Though not comparable in length, they were certainly comparable in zest for the medium. I, and the rest of the audience tonight at the Victoria theatre (off 16th and Mission) were kindred with Zala and company. Everything from the "adult supervision" who was more immature than the actual cast and crew, to the truck dug out of the swamp, to the good natured destruction of personal lives for a greater glory! It goes without saying that there's a huge cheese factor in this film, but its amateur quality striving for professionalism is its absolute charm, and does not fail from opening sequence to end credits.

But, with all highs, there are some lows, and regrettably the tragic loss of Snickers was keenly felt amidst tonight's group. Salute to a K-9 actor from all of us who've used their pets in various productions.

To conclude; if you're even a small Indiana Jones fan in the slightest, then you must, nay, need to see this production in all of its 20th dupe VHS glory. A must see for all film students, teachers, and professionals alike.

Enjoy! :-)
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
drumz10 February 2008
Like Blueghost, I saw it at SF Indiefest and had a great time.

To take stars away from this film based on its technical merits (eighties Betamax, bad sound) would be grinchlike and silly. Sure: when you go into a remake with a $5,000 budget, made by three friends who started in 1982 at age 12 and wrapped the project seven years later, you admire the concept even as you think you just might be in for a couple hours of junk. You would be wrong about the latter. This will stand as one of the most ridiculously awesome successful experiments ever committed to film.

They set one of their parents' basements on fire, and (at least as they tell it) the parents only belatedly caught on and demanded adult supervision, which apparently didn't help much in that the "supervisor" was a total pyro. They did the famous truck chase in all its glory. They obtained snakes. Spider monkeys proved trickier, so Snickers the dog filled in. They scored an honest-to-God submarine. What can I say? Bring on the documentary, and the original on video for all to see.
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A tribute to the fire of youth
rzajac18 February 2009
I was dumbstruck watching this. Yeah, it's obviously not as well-executed as the original, but you have to admire the dedication and energy.

At the end, after the lid on the ark comes down and Indy and Marion hug, I cried. I didn't cry at this point when watching the original. I was just so touched at the love and passion these kids lavished on trying to pay honor to the wonderfulness of the original.

Well! All that gushing aside, anything else? This was certainly a worthwhile enterprise, but I do sincerely hope these kids have gone on to create and wrangle media. It'd be nice to see them get a budget and bring something fully of their own to marvelous fruition.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely Amazing
jasonx122 May 2007
Currently the review meter is at 4.something stars. That is just plain wrong. I don't understand how anyone could see this and give it a bad rating. It's obvious more work and ingenuity went into it than most other actual Hollywood movies. The bar and truck scenes are both exciting and were brilliantly shot and freakin' kids! There's pyro, stunts, kissing, blood, violence, all that great stuff. How they were able to stay on course with such a long enormous project and have it come out so spectacularly well is the stuff of legend. These guys set themselves on fire and jumped out of moving trucks. They deserve to have a major film made about them.

Fascinating and watchable as hell.
22 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Fantastic Tribute to a Fantastic Adventure
britishdominion10 October 2013
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is one of my favourite movies - in fact, to watch it with an audience 32 years later, it plays as perfectly today as when I saw it on a late June matinée at the Vancouver Centre theatre as a 12 year old in 1981.

Steven Spielberg's action masterpiece inspired me, and every one of my friends. We LOVED this movie. I saw it so many times in the theatre as a kid, and when it arrived on VHS in 1983, the film became so imprinted on my brain that I know the screenplay, the action and the music cues backwards and forwards as well as anything, even to this day. As much as I forget many, many things daily now, I still know "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Along with "Back to the Future", Raiders remains a truly perfect modern-day film - perfectly written, directed, scored, and realized as a piece of exceptional movie entertainment - one that makes people happy, and they leave the theatre talking about it.

Spielberg was the guy. His movies constantly inspired my friends and I to make our own home-made movies (we erred on the side of James Bond pictures, sci-fi, and SCTV-style parodies - with a dash of John Landis anarchy) and we actually wrote screenplays, went out and shot footage, created special effects and worked to create a movie(s) of our own. This was all based on the fact that we were a TV generation - we saw all types of movies, from KVOS 8pm nightly movies, BCTV & CHEK 6 late shows, CKVU special stereo simulcasts with CFMI, everything. We absorbed the new VHS format and watched practically anything that was rentable. Pay TV was brand-new to Canada, too - and between the unedited and commercial-free "A" Hollywood titles, you ended up seeing classics and B-pictures and crappy Canadian tax-shelter dreck. And we studied the movies we saw, even the bad ones. Instead of sitting and just watching them though, with the advent of consumer-quality video cameras (thanks to the high school AV Club), we saw an opening: wanted to make some movies ourselves.

For me and my friends, it was a golden-age of movie making (the 1980s) and there were plenty of directors, ideas and plots to draw from. We put an awful lot of effort into creating pictures, but we never completed one from beginning to end - instead dropping one genre trope and moving on to the next in the excitement of seeing a cool new movie that wowed us. But boy, it was FUN. I learned an awful lot about real movie-making by actually doing it on the fly with my friends, working with a group of people who were all totally inspired by movies too. Even when I'm (rarely) shooting video today, I still use the things I learned working with my friends - editing inside the camera, framing, music, the cheats for shots, creating tension and emotion - stuff we all learned by endlessly studying movies, watching making-of documentaries and actually (sort-of) making short films with big picture ideas.

So, years ago I read an article in Entertainment Weekly or Premiere or somewhere on this thing that a group of friends in the U.S. south that had made a VHS shot-for-shot fan film re-creation of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" over many, many summers in the 1980s. They used the actual Lawrence Kasdan script, used the legendary John Williams underscore, and aped Spielberg's shots to make a kid-centric version of Raiders. Not only that, but they did stunts, created sets, even lit their parents' basement on fire to duplicate Marion Ravenwood's Nepalese bar set-piece where Indy fights the Nazi bad guy and his thugs.

Watching their ersatz movie adaptation simply blew me away. This was my early teenage dream played out on glitchy videotape: my experience as a kid who was crazy about movies, and who loved movies so much that to make a full-length movie inspired by the world's best movie (at the time) and as a way to be a part of making the same kind of entertainment that made audiences happy, excited and connected - just like the way I felt at the Vancouver Centre at that 2pm screening in 1981.

This is really a special film. It is entirely ingenious in its use of substitution, it nails the optimistic spirit of the original film and more over, you end up caring for the kids. I was particularly concerned for them when they actually lit each other on fire.

Their movie recreates in ultra-ultra-shoestring low-budget detail virtually every plot and action beat in the 1981 film so creatively, it's absolutely impossible to find any fault. The Adaptation is endlessly watchable - and as a viewer, you can't wait to see how they creatively tackle the next Spielberg multi-million dollar set-piece.

Just watch their version of the iconic desert truck chase: for my money, it is just as rip-roaringly good as Spielberg's version. And that's a REAL kid being dragged along that real gravel road. A kid that really, truly loves Raiders of the Lost Ark.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Low rating is bogus
plilja6 June 2007
I too cannot fathom why the rating is so low unless a bunch of people put in bogus ratings. Up until a major showing in Minneapolis in June 2007 (a week and a half ago from this post), I doubt many people have ever even seen this movie in its entirety - making the 51 ratings pretty suspect.

If you know the background then watching this movie is more thrilling than watching the original.

Incidentally, Paramount (the original Raiders studio) has just optioned the life story of the kids who made this movie. I'm eagerly awaiting the "movie of the movie of the movie"!!!
14 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
How can you not love this?
shanphil30 June 2019
10 out of 10? Yes!!! They did the impossible. How could I rate it any lower? If I could I'd give it an 11. Remarkable achievement. Remarkable desire, drive, and creativity. When I was the age they were when they started this, I was sitting around wasting time. Heck, I didn't think I could do the work for even one Boy Scout merit badge-and I didn't. Look what these boys accomplished. Love it! I hope it inspires young people for generations to come. Video games are fun, but get out there and create!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Inspiring, to Say the Least
moniker_jones23 April 2007
I haven't watched all of this yet, though I'm thrilled to now have a copy of this hard-to-find video which I had read about at various times over the past few years. Makes me want to get out my camera and start shooting. I'm also thrilled to hear that Daniel Clowes is working on adapting these kids' adventures for a big-screen film. Maybe their story will inspire the next generation of Spielbergs.

I'm somewhat surprised to see that no one else has commented on this film, though I suppose it's a bit difficult to find. My suggestion is to look for obscure film torrent sites like Karagarga, though some probably require invitations. I believe the film was shown in Austin a few years ago at the Alamo Drafthouse, but I wonder what sort of condition it was in at the time. The copy I have is fairly poor -- not unlike something you'd find on a VHS tape from 1985 that was re-recorded over several times. Makes me wonder if they'll show clips from the actual adaptation in Clowes' film or if they'll re-shoot clips using the actors who will play the kids in the movie. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out...
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I saw it at a film festival, highly recommended
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki7 August 2016
A trio of schoolchildren spent eight summers in the 1980s filming Raiders Of The Lost Ark in their parents' cellars, impressively setting the cellars on fire, and doing all of the stunt-work themselves, getting ships to film scenes, with all of the passion and intensity Spielberg must have had.

The trio used comic book adaptations, and saw the film as many times as possible, snuck in audio recorders to the cinema, hand drew storyboards, and filmed and starred in it themselves.

A true labour of love, and well worth it. We, the audience, watch, knowing what scene comes next, and not wondering *if* these kids will do it, but trying to figure *how* they will do it.

Some of the fire stunts were quite impressive, and could have turned disastrous, had anything gone wrong. (One of many jokes put into the closing credits says, thanks to "Mary Zala, for her support and for destroying her home")

This film, and its 2015 documentary counterpart, Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, are required viewing for Indiana Jones fans, and film buffs.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Fan Film Made With Love And Passion
moviemattb26 December 2016
Everyone has already know the story of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," as it tells about an archaeologist name Indiana Jones as he goes on an adventure to search for the Ark of the Covenant with the help of Marion and Sallah, while his arch nemesis Belloq works with the Nazis as they go after it. Also, we all know what a classic movie that was as it was made by two famous filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas; but did you know that there was remake of this movie? Yes, there was! No, it was not made in Hollywood just to make a quick buck out of it, it was entirely remade by three guys from Mississippi as it took them over the course of seven years and seven summers to remake one of the greatest adventure films of all time. This fan film was made by Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos, and Jayson Lamb as they all teamed up for trying to make the best movie they could possibly make. After seeing the documentary "Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made," I have finally got my hands on an actual copy of their fan film on DVD, and I started doing a double feature of the original and the fan film. Seeing the fan film for the first time, I was amazed on how these guys were able to pull this off, and yes I'm happy that they were able to filmed the airplane scene that they couldn't do as kids. The movie does have some goofs like some of the actors' age, hair being either long or short as well as the quality of the footage they shot as it is all mixed with Betamax and VHS cameras. This is only available on DVD, so don't expect this to be on Blu Ray; the only thing that is HD is the airplane scene. That's it. Nevertheless, the flaws may be there, but the heart is there as these guys were able to get this movie finish and they have finally accomplished. This shot for shot remake is definitely one hundred times better, than that despicable shot for shot remake of Gus Van Saint's "Psycho." Because that movie was only to make a quick buck, but this fan film is made with love and passion. If you are either fan of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," or just a huge fan of the "Indiana Jones" series, then this is definitely worth checking out. It truly is one of those fan films that has to be seen to be believe. These guys took a lot of risk for remaking a movie they love so much, and were able to get things accomplished. If you want to get a copy of this movie on DVD, go to their website: or just go to their official Facebook page. I really enjoy "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation," and I will be looking forward to see one of their movies on the big screen. I am giving their fan film a 10 out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation - final Scene
Jaycentee24 June 2014
For those of you who have not had the chance to see this film please watch for the next screening. Go to their facebook page for the most up to date information on screenings in your area.

I had the pleasure of finishing off the one last final epic scene in the this film. see the kickstarter "RAIDERS GUYS AND THE LOST AIRPLANE SCENE" site for more info.

I took part in many rolls for this final HUGE scene and have to say there is nothing like these two guys with their passion and desire to have this film come full circle and finish in the town they grew up in.

This final epic scene will be edited in the the current film with a great cut from them as kids to them as their current age. With so much thoughtfulness behind this project and what this project does for the fans as well as the charities they donate to. Nothing compares to a project such as this and please do come to a screening and see how it all comes together, and as with any fan film there are little tidbits of secret items hidden throughout this new scene that fans and newcomers will certainly appreciate. I know I did.

0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed