Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Adaptation Jones

Last night, I got to go to a private screening at Google of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (info here and here). This movie is absolutely incredible, and I wish I could tell you all to go see it, but unfortunately that's easier said than done since it's not generally available. There is a short trailer you can watch, though.

Here's the deal: In 1982, a few 12-year-old kids in Mississippi get together and decide they're going to remake the entire Raiders of the Lost Ark movie themselves, scene for scene, shot by shot, line for line. And over the course of the next six years, they actually do it, pulling in friends for various roles, piecing together sets and costumes and props from whatever they can find, and doing all their own stunts and special effects. The result is completely delightful and inspiring. A couple of decades after they finished, it was somehow resurrected and shown at a film festival, where it just blew everyone away. As one review put it, it's like "seeing [the movie] again literally for the first time."

Some of my favorite things, from both the film and Q&A with the (now grown up) masterminds behind it:
  • The scene where the bar is set on fire was done in one of their mom's kitchen, pouring rubbing alcohol over things and actually setting them on fire.
  • With spider monkeys not generally available in Mississippi, they used the lead actor's (very patient) medium-small dog to carry around and drape over their shoulders for the monkey scenes.
  • For the fight on the truck, they had a truck with no engine that was either pushed or pulled (depending on the camera angle) by people off-camera to give the illusion of driving. (It looked a little slow, but other than that, I couldn't tell they weren't actually driving.)
  • The-kid-who-played-Indy had his first ever real kiss in the "where doesn't it hurt" scene.
  • The ship rats appeared to be somebody's pet gerbils.
Anyway, the whole thing was immense fun, and if you ever come across an opportunity to see it, I highly recommend doing so.


Anonymous said...

Those kids were really committed to their project! I wish I could see it for real.

meed said...