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Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation 320

jonerik writes "Ain't It Cool News has an article on one of the more fascinating fan film projects ever conceived: A shot-for-shot remake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" filmed in Biloxi, Mississippi between 1982 and 1988 by Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb and Chris Strompolis. What's particularly amazing is that the trio began filming the project when they were twelve and finished six years later when they were eighteen. Now, fifteen years after the project was completed, word of the film's existence has gotten out and audiences who have seen it have reportedly been stunned by the trio's ingenuity, with none other than "RotLA" director Steven Spielberg giving Zala, Lamb, and Strompolis a big thumbs-up. The complete film isn't available online, but a trailer that gives a bit of the feel of the finished project can be viewed. The Austin Chronicle also has a story on the project."
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Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation

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  • by alain ( 114463 ) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:15PM (#6111104)
    Maybe the DVD to the adaptation will be out before the original version's. I certainly have stopped holding my breath for RoT and the original Star Wars series on DVD.
  • I'm sick (Score:5, Funny)

    by Swayne Shabazz ( 678612 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:17PM (#6111117)
    This sounds funny....sort of. Watching three guys progress through puberty isn't exactly what I would call "entertainment".

    I was gonna throw in a "now three young girls progressing through....." punch line....but....nahhhh, even I'm not that perverted.

  • by curtlewis ( 662976 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:17PM (#6111120)
    that's alot of work just to duplicate your favorite film and it's not like they'll make anything from the effort other than the satisfaction of having done it.

    But then, back in my teens in the mainframe and paper tape days, I wrote my own version of the ever popular Star Trek game. I didn't need to, I could play the original all I wanted. Even the source code was available. But I thought I could do the same job in a more easily understood manner. So I coded up a virtually identical version. It was much less code and alot easier to read, although the original was a little faster.

    So I guess remaking something you like just because you can must be some kind of teen geek ritual.
    • Yes, back in 1978, I too wrote my own version of Star Trek for an IBM 370 using APL.

      APL []. (Perl for arrays.)

      Star Trek in 15 lines (and a lot of 0,0rho reshaping!)

    • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:59PM (#6111672) Homepage Journal
      Back in Ye Olde Days, this was a standard part of being an apprentice artisan. Before you got set loose to create new designs, you had to practice recreating old ones until you could do it perfectly. I think there's a lot to be said for this system, and it's rather cool that a certain kind of geek imposes it on him- or herself as if by instinct.
      • I don't know; I think it really depends on the art or skill. For example, repainting something from the Old Masters means that, at the very least, you will master the physical techniques if not the creative or visual rendering aspects. Recoding a video game--when you have the source--until you can do it perfectly probably amounts to memorizing the code. Being able to understand the code, and, more importantly, being able to design code to fulfill unexpected needs, is far more important.

        What really strike

  • legality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ianmalcm ( 591345 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:18PM (#6111126)
    Wheres the MPAA? Now that this fan film is known, gaining mass popularity, and may become mildly successful, will there be legal ramifications for copyright infringement?

    Shot for Shot remake, certainly the Writers guild will have something to say.

    A brilliant piece of work though. Puts Hardware Wars to shame.

    • Re:legality (Score:3, Informative)

      Wheres the MPAA? Now that this fan film is known, gaining mass popularity, and may become mildly successful, will there be legal ramifications for copyright infringement?

      If you read the story, you'd know that not only does Steven Spielberg know about it (the guy who ran the projector at the AICN film festival it was shown at gave him a copy), he was astonished by how good it is.

      I think they're safe for now.
      • Re:legality (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MisterMook ( 634297 )
        Since when did the creators of a work have ultimate say so on the legality of a work once a corporate lawyer got involved? I'd say that Spielberg might give them all ice cream, but if the lawyers sniff trademark infringement they'll act faster that you can say crack o'the whip to send someone to seize all the copies. It isn't right and it isn't the way it should be, but it stands a pretty good chance of being the way things lay down.
    • Re:legality (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Achoi77 ( 669484 )
      Huh? Have the MPAA go after a buncha ppl that made a shot-by-shot remake of an 80's movie taped on a video camera, when they were 12 years old? That's just plain mean, and besides, nobodys made any money out of it.

      I don't think this film was even meant to be distributed around. It was one of those flukes that floated around the web, sorta like the Star Wars kid. [] I am VERY instereted in seeing how they pulled it off. Anyone got a copy?

  • Woah (Score:5, Funny)

    by zptdooda ( 28851 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .mjpnaed.> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:19PM (#6111135) Journal
    Man they'd have to have big balls to attempt that scene!

  • Holy shit! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:20PM (#6111141)
    They did this with Betamax and VHS? That must've meant linear editors - I don't envy them that task...
    • Re:Holy shit! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @11:34PM (#6111915)
      You can do non-linear editing with VHS, it is just a bit trickey. You need a minimum of two decks, and 3 works much better. With a two deck setup you drop markers where you want it to start and stop and in what order. The unit that controls the decks then takes care of the rest. It holds the record VCR, gets the play VCR to where it needs to be, starts them in sync, records what it needs, stops, goes to the next point, etc.

      Now this approach is not without problems. The biggest problem I found was with the seeking of the VCRs. Even on fairly expensive ones (like $500 at the time I think), they weren't frame accurate. So you had to fudge your cuts by about 3 frames in both directions, you couldn't get it dead on. I'm sure that $2000+ master units can seek to a single frame, but none that I've ever touched. Also, you don't really know how it is going to look till its all done, you can't really preview it since there is often a lot of time in seeking inbetween shots. YOu have to set the whole thing up, let it do the dub, tehn see if it came out ok. If not, you have to make the changes and redo the dub. Each time, of course, is slightly wearing down your master. Wrose still is if you want to use multiple cameras and tapes. The 2-deck controllers I used never understood this concept, they wouldn't prompt for tape switches. So you either had to shoot it all on one tape, or get a setup with 3 decks.

      However, it is all possable to do non-linear. Just because it isn't digital, doesn't imply linear editing. Heck, before digital (and even now in some cases) you could do non-linear editing with film by simply physically cutting and taping together the segments. Same for audio. Get a 2-inch master tape, a sharp knife, some gloces, some tape and a lot of patience.
      • This is pretty impressive. I made some short films when I was a kid on regular 8 film (film, not video). Many hours of work went into each minute of film: model making, stop motion animation, editing etc... My longest film was about 6 minutes.

        I did editing on a small manual editor and a manual splicer. Each roll only held 10 minutes of film, and you had to mail it "back east" to get it developed. I did little SF films, special effects for lasers were directly scratched onto the film (after processing) and

  • 6 years. (Score:5, Funny)

    by _RidG_ ( 603552 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:20PM (#6111143)
    6 years of doing this. Now that's dedication. My interest in re-enacting scenes from Indiana Jones waned after a heated August afternoon with a bunch of friends, following which the guy who played an evil German had to be rushed to the hospital.

    Ahh...good times.
    • Re:6 years. (Score:5, Funny)

      by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:22PM (#6111447) Homepage
      6 years of doing this. Now that's dedication. My interest in re-enacting scenes from Indiana
      Jones waned after a heated August afternoon with a bunch of friends, following which the guy who
      played an evil German had to be rushed to the hospital.

      You should have used those little plastic army men, a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can, for
      the "melting german soldiers" scene.
  • Ingenious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:22PM (#6111155) Homepage
    Am I the only one who thinks that a shot-by-shot remake of a movie is far from ingenious? Hell, when Gus Van Sant did it with Psycho, he was criticized for making it too identical. It's cool that they did it, and were able to manage it on what we must assume is a fairly small budget, but I think the hype over this thing is getting way out of hand.

    • Re:Ingenious? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:31PM (#6111211)
      I think more than anything else, people are cheering it on because of the ingenuity displayed by these kids in filming this movie. Low budget movies like that are far more impressive than stale Hollywood remakes precisely because they are low budget - people have to improvise. Surely you would not see the remake for the plot or anything new - it's a remake, you've seen it before. It's just something that makes me step back and marvel at what can be accomplished if you are dedicated enough.
      • But remakes can be more impressive than the original. The new intpretation can be quite interesting and ... frankly ... ingenious. But when you re-shoot something scene by scene with nearly identical actions, dialogue, etc. it's just not interesting.

        Anyway, I'd be far more interested in seeing a documentary on how these kids remade the film than actually watching it.
      • by coldmist ( 154493 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @11:15PM (#6111773) Homepage

        I think more than anything else, people are cheering it on because of the ingenuity displayed by these amatuers in writing this OS. Low budget software like that are far more impressive than stale Microsoft remakes precisely because they are low budget - people have to improvise. Surely you would not see the remake for the interface or anything new - it's a remake, you've seen it before. It's just something that makes me step back and marvel at what can be accomplished if you are dedicated enough.

        Cheers ;)

    • Re:Ingenious? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Greg@UF ( 97388 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:35PM (#6111234)
      When you read the article, Speilberg praises the boys' "vast amounts of imagination and originality".

      That's good enough for me.

      Besides, these kids were *kids* - not Gus Wossname with millions of bucks and a full production crew.
      Kudos to the kids !
  • This is a prime example of a copy of a previous work as a beautiful thing. Immitation really is the greatest form of flattery. It is terrible that works like this are normally supressed by copyright laws that don't serve the populance. The point of laws is to serve the populance. Clearly supression of creative expression serves no one. It is encouraging to see that Spielberg gave them a thumbs up on this project, but I don't doubt he would sue the pants off of them it he thought their project would harm his extensive bank roll. And who can really blame him if he did, he would just be taking advantage of the ludicrous law of the land. Who knows how many other cool projects like this have/will never seen/see the light of day as a result of corporate america's tight grip on the world.
    • by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:00PM (#6111355) Journal
      I'd think it wouldn't be Spielberg who'd make trouble - after all, he got his start as a punk kid making films at a very young age. If anything, he probably be supportive. It's the numerous monied interests who own various bits and pieces of "intellectual property" who would sue the pants off of anyone they thought might "reduce the value of the asset", despite the fact that many fan-derivived works serve to sustain interest in the original property, thus ENHANCING the value of the asset...
      • Definetely. Even after getting the thumbs up from Spielberg these folks should be concerned. They could still be sued by those monied interests.

        A lot of people don't get that derivitive works contribute to the original work. Just look at open-source software if you want good examples of this effect. How else was an Indiana Jones movie going to make it onto the front page of Slashdot today? I can't think of too many that do not include a derivitive work.
    • this is amazing - everyone here needs to understand.. THESE BOYS ARE LIABLE FOR IP THEFT.

      Now, its fine, dandy, and wonderful that Spielberg is not being an asshole.

      What is wrong is that the ONLY reason that these guys are not behind bars already is that Spielberg appears to not be an asshole.

      "Asshole-ness" should not be the reason one is or is not legitimately liable for IP "theft"... even if they are never charged for it.... they should live in fear, because maybe, someday, Spielberg may change his tu
  • by csguy314 ( 559705 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:22PM (#6111159) Homepage
    Am I the only one who saw 'RotLA' and thought:
    "Rolling on the laugh ass", what the hell?
  • aye aye... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:24PM (#6111174)
    this is all to the good, but I'm going to wait ten years for the "director's cut" with gratuitous CGI, unnecessary scenes, etc..

    It would be in keeping with the Spielberg spirit, after all..
  • ... if any karma whore out there has a bittorrent of it or something ;)
  • Cool (Score:2, Funny)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 )
    But I do hope the quality is slightly better than the one with the Star Wars kid...
  • by daeley ( 126313 ) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:27PM (#6111187) Homepage
    Back in my day, we didn't have all that new-fangled technology to put ourselves in our favorite movies. We did it all in our minds! Uphill! In the snow! Through barbed wired and acid pits! And we liked it!
  • by pi_rules ( 123171 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:29PM (#6111198)
    It's not much, and the encoding seems rather horrible if you ask me, but I managed to snag a copy before the Slashdot effect took over. Their front page seems to be loading rather slowly now.

    So, if you want to watch an AMD K6/2 400mhz go up in flames on a 768kbps DSL line. Here you go:

    Raider's of the Lost Ark Remake Trailer []

    My ISP is so going to kill me...
    • Sometimes I wonder if moderators mod up posts like this simply because they find it amusing seeing other peoples' servers burst into flames and die. :)
      • Actually, it looks like I'm doing okay. I'm watching the MRTG graphs every 5 minute update period and there's still some room left for outgoing bandwidth. Not much, but at least I'm not pegged at 100% just yet. Then again, maybe that steady line for a bit at 60KB/s means that my ISP itself is running a bit low on bandwidth.

        I see 21 apache processes, so if you assume 70KB/s divided by 20, well, they're only getting 3.5KB/s each. However, the server itself is far from being maxed out. Just the bandwidth
      • I don't know, but I know I'm doing my part by downloading it every few mins or so
  • Fantastic Job (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Soulslayer ( 21435 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:32PM (#6111215) Homepage
    I saw this last Saturday. One of the most entertaining movie going experiences I ever had.

    These guys did every sequence in the movie save one. After some frightening messing around with explosives they opted not to attempt the flying wing sequence despite having access to an aircraft and the part of the bald mechanic already cast.

    Every other scene is there though and done with impressive skill given their ages and the era in which they made it.
  • by Tin Weasil ( 246885 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:33PM (#6111225) Homepage Journal
    Only it wasn't quite "shot for shot". ...and it was called "Raiders of the Burning Bush." ...and it starred "Idaho Smith" not "Indiana Jones." ...and "our hero" ended up with 1st degree burns after digging up the bush (he was subsequently beaten by Nazi Ninjas.
  • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:38PM (#6111245)
    When we go and pay our $7.00 for slightly less then 2hrs of entertainment, less we forget the fact that the fact that amature fan spinoffs done by essentually students can provide entertainment. While they can't nessicarly match the production quality of hollywood's almost endless budget, there is alot more to a media then it's production value, content is a factor too.

    Starship Exeter [] is one example of fan based work. Based on classic star trek, their one release actually has a somewhat decent story as well as capturing that late 60's sci-fi theme while by todays standards is considered most cheezy. If you can get over the wind in the boom low quality film and shacky camera man, it's a worth see.

    Now, i'm not nessicarly going to say that this is going to be any good... but it should prove to be entertaining at the very least. More so then alot of things targeted tward the typcial 12 year old. I intend to watch it, if for nothing else but to use as an example, "Look at what these 12 year olds did... hollywood you have no excuse".

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:39PM (#6111247) Homepage Journal
    How long before we get a telesync on alt.binaries.vcd?
  • Music (Score:5, Informative)

    by cow_licker ( 172474 ) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:44PM (#6111281)
    If anyone cares the song that plays during the trailer is Four Ton Mantis by Amon Tobin. An excellent song.

    • Re:Music (Score:2, Informative)

      by greentoad ( 212070 )
      aha.. that's who it was... it was ringing many bells and I was about to go searching through my collection.

      It's from the album Supermodified (Amon Tobin) - an absolutely brilliant and a hardly known piece of work.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:46PM (#6111291) Journal
    for violations of Der Kopiright Akt. Herr Ashkroft announced that these economic terrorists will be stripped of their citizenship and summarially tortured for days without sleep until they confess to their vile plans of toppling the government-approved media.
  • Anyone have it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Beowulfto ( 169354 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:47PM (#6111295)
    I live in middle of nowhere and will never get to see a screening, so if anyone has a copy, please get a torrent version out there for me.

    Some friends of mine did a similar project. It wasn't a shot for shot re-make, but an original story called Indiana Jed. Was a lot of fun for high-school students to make, and sure beats the heck out of playing computer games for hours on end. Take a look at Indiana Jed []
  • See show details []
  • I think this is a great story. I mean, for a lot of people (including me) doing something like this was their childhood dream. And now to have all this publicity. Come on, when you were 12-14 or so, wouldn't you have loved to film your own (copied;) action movie?
    I know some kids about that age who are attemping their own version of the LOtR trilogy, complete with costumes and sets that they sew and make themselves.

    guess i just like having fun and its nice to see some kids come through with it.

  • by Knife_Edge ( 582068 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:10PM (#6111400)
    That you can accomplish anything you want if you devote an average of fifteen minutes a day to it. That might take a while for bigger undertakings (do you suppose these guys averaged 15 minutes a day working on this for six years? I bet it might even be a little less than that). But fifteen minutes a day is such a small commitment that if you want to accomplish anything at all faster, just devote an hour a day to it over a period of time.

    The only trick is knowing what you consider worth making an extended effort for. That takes vision. All the implementation takes is dedication.
  • by jrl87 ( 669651 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:12PM (#6111408)
    ... the first kiss, get a girl to strip and put on Marion's dress while they filmed it in the mirror.

    They are in my opinion quite obviously geeks, not that that's bad, considering how they had to make it, but when your a geek it's hard to get a girl to do anything (personal experience).
  • by dafragsta ( 577711 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @10:16PM (#6111428)
    It was insane. People wrapped around the Alamo two wide. The adaptation is very true to the film while still being very creative. I mean, how would you have done this stuff when you were twelve? I wish I had the ability to finish things I start like these guys. The Q&A's should've been filmed for the DVD special features. It was almost as entertaining listening to these guys describe how the risked life and limb and broke the law numerous times. Tbey basically played with guns, blew things up, got plaster molds stuck on their heads, (NOT dental plaster either) and lots of other stupid stuff kids do.

    Four words in closing. The fire is real.
  • by vaylen ( 566986 )
    I think I will remake Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic "Empire" SHOT-FOR-SHOT!
  • They could make so much more money if they were to put up a web cam that shows them working on the film. Yeahh...that's the ticket. And every 12 hours shut it off and recycle old footage. Yeah. $20 a subscriber.

    I think I should get $5 just for suggesting it.
  • There are obviously many parodies and knockoffs that have been released as retail products, such as spaceballs, and a large majority of Weird Al Yankovicz's songs. Does anyone know about how copyright law applies to these situations? Does one have to first license the material, then make whatever they want, or do they have to license it and get a final product approved, or, can they just do whatever they want and pass it off as a parody? If the latter was true, it would be interesting to see some sort of Ho
    • There is a difference between parody and a derivative work. Check out this article [] for a little more info.
  • the background music to the trailer is Amon Tobin... They may be geeks, they may love this movie too much...but they at the least have GREAT taste in music... god i wish the rain would stop -me
  • by spoco2 ( 322835 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @11:05PM (#6111718)
    While reading this story I got an ad:

    "Star Wars Trilogy DVD $31.99 Only. Ready for delivery One shipping rate for any quantity"

    which linked through to d=1235 []
    Which have such wonderful nuggest such as:
    "Due to the fragility and bulkiness of standard DVD case, all of our DVD titles will come in a specially designed light-weight DVD sleeve pack. This shall hold and protect the disc better than the normal case." Riiiight...
    "Q5: Does your DVD come with inserts or booklets that normally contained within the DVD case? A: No. Our DVD consists of Disc and Cover Art only. There are no inserts of booklets. " Uuuh huh.

    Erm... slightly illegal copies of the Star Wars movies... how is it legal for Slashdot (by way of OSDN) to promote such illegal products on the website?
  • by yack0 ( 2832 ) <keimel@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @11:07PM (#6111726) Homepage

    click []

  • My idea (Score:2, Funny)

    by bmantz65 ( 642864 )
    I'm currently in the pre-production stage of a shot by shot remake of Star Wars OT. It finally took six years and three second degree burns, but I made a functional light saber. Also, any female /.'rs who have a C-cup chest or bigger can audition for the roles of Leia and Oola ;)
  • It really takes four days [] for links to get from Fark [] to here? That's actually pretty surprising...
    • Perhaps it has something to do with fark's [] inability to seperate real news [] from outragious claims. [].

      Or perhaps it's their terrible use of the news flash []. You know it's a sad day when one of the dozens of articles on fark are actually real and newsworthy, and then it's confirmed with slashdot picks it up.

      (note, all of the above taken from fark under the guise of 'information')
  • I want a shot-for-shot recreation of Matrix:Reloaded. Go, you 12-year-olds! By the time you're 18 this ought to be pretty easy.. the rendering should be possible in realtime what with the 16x increase in computing power we'll see between now and then.
  • About a month ago I was reading something or other about Star Wars on /. and it occurred to me that (given time) someone would no doubt create a remake of the dire Star Wars prequels...the difference being that of course you would NOT follow the original storyline.

    "StarWars I.alt" :o

    Anyone think they can do a better job than George?
    (Hmmm...forget about the prequels...make a SEQUEL! :P
  • That, or fanmade flash films.

    In any scenario, I think the internet and new imaging tech, etc, plus the general lack of lives, need for nostalgia, and the stupidity of the tv/moviemaker corporations has led more and more fans to start making their own remakes. Take Star Trek Exeter [], for example...

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright