Friday, March 07, 2014


Have you guys heard about Raiders: The Adaptation?  It's a pretty cool story.  In 1982 a bunch of kids decided to do a shot for shot remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark.  Being that these were the days before you could just wait for the Home Video Release, they went to the theater and meticulously studied every frame of the film, assembling storyboards to aid their project.  They cast the film, built the sets, and over the next seven years they finished the thing.  Well, they ALMOST finished the thing...

Before we get any deeper into the story, watch this great trailer for the adaptation.  It will give you an idea of just how elaborate and creative they got with this project.

These kids grew up before the camera, and you can see just how much they changed throughout the film.  The kid that played Indy even had his first kiss on camera!  You can see just how much they loved the source material, and that this was more than just a bunch of kids goofing off with a video camera.  They stuck with it long after other kids would have gotten distracted by video games or summer jobs or crushes or any of the other stuff that seems like the most important thing in the world when you're a kid.

Over the next two decades Raiders: The Adaptation became a fixture of the underground tape trader circuit.  Today you could just plop the thing on youtube and it would go viral, but back in the day people would make copy after copy of things and they would be coveted and hunted down.  Often times they would be fifth generation copies of a fifth generation copy, barely watchable but you could squint and make out what was going on.    Such was the quest of a fan of the offbeat and obscure.

Flashforward to 2002.  Harry Knowles, the founder of Aint It Cool News,  is planning his 4th Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival.  Each year he would screen amazing movies for 24 hours straight for his birthday, and he'd invite people from all of the world to join him.  One of the guests was Eli Roth, who had been a fan of The Adaptation.  The poster for this year was Raiders Of The Lost Ark Themed, and Roth passed a dub of The Adaptation to Harry during BNAT.  Harry thought they could just pop it in if there was a dull moment in the screening.  Two films had just bombed, so they popped in the tape.

People flipped out.  It was the biggest success from a festival that featured world premieres of Chicago and Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.  This act of supreme film geekery won over the hearts of the hardest hardcore film fans, and from there it steamrolled.

The internet ramped things up considerably, and Raiders: The Adaptation was screening all over the world.  This project by a bunch of crazy kids had taken on a life of its own, spawning a documentary and a book about it.  The story could end here, but no.  There was still some unfinished business.  An unfinished film, actually.

There was one scene that the kids never shot.  You know the one where Indy fights the bald Nazi on the airplane?  This one.

They want to shoot the scene and FINALLY finish their film.  Never mind that they're all adults now, because they shot the original film over seven years of their childhood.  Continuity isn't a factor.  The folks behind The Adaptation have started a kickstarter for the funds to complete the project.  With six days left they only have to raise a little under seven grand.  There are some very cool thank you gifts available to contributors, including official copies of Raiders: The Adaptation, bound copies of their childhood storyboards for the film, actual props from the original scenes, and even bit parts in the new scene.

This is a pretty cool project.  We're all about supporting childhood dreams come true, and so we've pitched in.  Check out their kickstarter video and see what you think

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