Reviews: Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016)

Raiders! chronicles the making of the greatest fan film ever. 

With the advent of Youtube and other streaming services, fan films have become a mainstay in the world of entertainment. While some are good and some are extremely bad, rabid fans have been making films dedicated to their favorite franchises for much longer.

Starting with the introduction of the VHS and Beta home video cameras in the '80s, children could reinvent, remake, and try to recapture the glory of the characters and stories they loved. Raiders! tells the tale of the kids behind the most famous fan film ever made and crosses into their adulthood as they finally try to film the scene that was always missing from their final cut. Their Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation is a shot for shot remake that took them over six years to initially film with them coming back decades later to ultimately complete the airplane sequence from the 1981 original Steven Spielberg feature. The documentary chronicles their struggles with funding, the unholy interference of adult careers, and the familial dedication that helped bring the picture to life.

Stories of their Raiders movie have been discussed for years on the internet. It is in fact one of the most popular fan films ever made. Through dedication and insane creativity, these boys went back and shot Spielberg's movie and recreated all the effects shots, action sequences, and fights. The documentary Raiders! follows the current struggles they go through to finally complete the film and the ways that their nostalgic and youthful creativity intersects with their adult lives. Through thick and thin, through the complex nature of dying friendships, and through the sacrifices made for their art, Raiders! is a testament to how hard it is to complete a project of this magnitude and how grown people might still follow through with the dreams from their childhood. With emotional weight, detailed on-set dramatics, and a great backstory,  this is a great watch that takes us directly inside the minds of three distinct personalities.

For Indiana Jones fans, this will be a fun watch that lets us see how they recreated the massive effects shots from the film. For casual film goers, Raiders! will be an interesting look at what goes into creating a fan film. This is a really interesting story that shows its audience how genre fans are some of the most dedicated people on the planet, going to all lengths to make a shot for shot remake of one of the greatest adventure movies of all time. With the heightened danger of pyrotechnics by unskilled kids, the recreation of an exploding plane by a haphazard effects technician, enough heart to finally complete the project, this Raiders! is a compendium of all things good. I really can't recommend this any more than saying you must check it out.

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