Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016) (Blu-ray/dvd film review).

September 2, 2016 | By | Reply More

I have to confess that when I saw the title and blurb for this release, I only saw ‘Raiders!’ and assumed I was going to be seeing a kid variant of 11-18 year-olds, as they aged during the time it took filming, as they did their own version of ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’. Without knowing their source material, with only glimpses of it within this film, I find myself watching at an incredible disadvantage.


What I have learnt is that this is more a documentary than an adaptation explaining what happened. More so as you have the now adult original kids relating what happened ie doing a geeky thing with a cine camera re-enacting the Steven Spielberg film. It should be said that towards the end, Spielberg and Lucas have watched their film of their film and found it appealing. I suspect they see a bit of themselves as how they also started out.

What is equally confusing is there are also two audio commentaries to go on top of this documentary and as I’m still no wiser, I felt I was at the stage of ‘Kill me now’ but I’m not that suicidal. However, I found I learnt more from these with their enthusiasm than I thought I would. The first is with writer/director Tim Skousen and producer/director Jeremy Coon who tell about how they put their film together and had to edit back how much they took. The second with Eria Zala and Chris Strompolos who created the original film.

There is also half an hour of outtakes so you’re certainly going to get your money’s worth. What is a bigger puzzle is why wasn’t the original film included here as well so people like myself wouldn’t be clueless about the product they were describing. With SFCrowsnest being such an international website, I suspect you people across the pond will benefit from watching these discs then people in the UK.

The extras are more like the 30 minutes of clips they took out to fit down to ninety minutes. Granted the 93 minute version is there for cinema or even a TV viewing but it was almost asking for it all to be incorporated into a director’s cut.

There is also a 40 minute question and answer at the Alama Drafthouse conducted on 31 May 20013 after its premiere. The Americans show their usual enthusiasm answering intelligent questions and they include clips so you do get information about what they are reacting to. My reaction to their lack of knowledge on some material properties they used when filming is rather scary and I hope should be a lesson of what not to use. Rather oddly but not unexpectedly, the interview ended when they…er…ran out of film.

I suspect this edition will serve those who have seen their ‘Raiders’ film. If anything, it’s a test of obsession and how kids put together over several years their version of the Spielberg film on a tiny budget and had some fun doing it. Learn their lessons on what not to do when it comes to home-made bombs (these to simulate things in the film and got over-charged…literally) and plaster of Paris, especially as they weren’t they first to make these mistakes. Sooner or later, someone is going to have a fatal mistake and we wouldn’t want that to happen. So if you are into making home epic movies, please learn from this.

GF Willmetts

August 2016

(Region 0: pub: Drafthouse Films. 1 DVD 1 blu-ray nearly identical content 93 minute film with extras. Price: $34.95 (US). ASIN: MVD6448BR)

check out website: www.drafthousefilms.com


Category: Films

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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