Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen take on one of the weirder footnotes in cinema history: A shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark created by a bunch of Mississippi school kids over the course of seven years in the 1980s, which eventually became an underground sensation when it was discovered years later. The story is framed in the present day as two of the original, now 40-something filmmakers—Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos—attempt to get the final scene that would complete their magnum opus, and there’s a multi-layered poignancy to these middle-aged guys returning to an adolescent obsession, foolish though it may seem. It’s also somewhat fitting, given the sprawling scope of the fan-film’s production, that this documentary similarly attempts to cover a whole lot of ground, from the childhood dramas impacting the original production to the cult fame that followed. And while that makes it difficult for Raiders! to lock in on any single thematic through-line, there’s still an almost heroic quality to the tale of these two friends, and the circuitous routes their lives took towards trying to realize a long-deferred dream.
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