Raiders of the Lost Ark (REMAKE) - Reviewed at

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Old September 21st, 2004, 04:45 PM   #1
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Raiders of the Lost Ark (REMAKE) - Reviewed

Hey all,

Last night, I had quite the experience. I thought I'd share it with you because it wasn't the typical movie-going experience.

First, let me set the scene. The original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (and I mean original - they got a 35mm print of the film somewhere that had slightly extended scenes and slightly different music - where and how, I don't know!) and the "Raiders of the Lost Ark (REMAKE)" played at the Cooliage Theater in Boston. It's an old "non profit" theater - which must be how they were able to play both films back-to-back legally.

Anyway! We get there and the place fills up, and we all listen to the MP talk about what we're going to see. It was cool to think we're going to meet the director of the "remake" after we see it.

The original "Raiders" begins - damn, this movie is BEST seen in a theater with lovers of "Raiders". It goes beyond words to describe the experience of seeing it, and hearing it so large scale. Something about the sound system was really good - it had impact. The story which I've seen probably 25 times by now still nails me to my always get new little things.

Ok, that was the original "Raiders". It's probably the best movie ever made in the history of film. Yeah, that's my opinion. I just got done watching "Star Wars - A New Hope" today on DVD. (first in line, i'm a loser i guess!) That film is also the best movie ever made. Yes, I change my mind when I just think of those two films...flip flopping is my right! :)

OK, OK!! The remake if "Raiders" begins....if you haven't seen the trailer online go see it. Not because it's the best scene, but because it's just ONE of many great scenes in the film! I'm serious. This thing has many incredible moments! The opening scene has the star "Chris" playing Indiana going into the cave, jumping over the endless pit...making his way to the statue and finally turning....BOOM! Yes, the cave starts to crumble...he runs, the music is the same as the original, he runs out of there with all the excitement of the original, and of course you HAVE to have the guy DEAD with a spike in his head. CHEERS. No, I mean *CHEERS* from the audience. There were more CHEERS in the audience of the "Raiders" remake than just about any movie I have ever seen. The words coming out of my mouth consistantly during the film were, "oh my God!", "how the heck did they do that?", "they even got that!"..."fire is everywhere!!", "he's on the truck, he's under the the heck?!!"

I'm totally serious when I say that these "kids" did something amazing. They shot a FEATURE length movie with actors, script, sets and locations. They even got the audio on there...even though the entire movie was tattered with hum, hiss and every other VHS and 3/4" audio problem imaginable.

Ok, the film continues and it's got the bar everywhere. One of the actors was lit on fire just like in the original. What the heck? These kids were literally "playing with fire" in a real sense! The sound effects were dead on, the whole thing was shot very nicely in a basement that was setup like a bar. But, the weird thing is that everything seemed so perfectly fine. The original movie kept creepying into my mind to help the remake along. It was strange...the remake had this weight because of the frame of reference.

The next thing that was amazing was the truck scene. Yes, these kids did that scene...I could detail the whole thing, but just let me say that if they were shooting a totally seperate original movie it would have won an award for stunt work, and or effects. This film should have won an award back in the 80's if it was somehow released at a festival. In my opinon!

Let's see, they actually found a desert somehow and shot all those scenes spot on. The whole Cairo scene with the on. It was great! Including the exploding truck...which was later revealed to us as the truck from the other scene where Indy goes under it. Oh, one of things that adds appeal and must have led the producer to buy the rights to the story was the fact that the truck didn't work! The kids got the truck out of a junk yard (I think he said junk yard) and tore the engine out. They had to pull it with another car and also push it. They had a volkswagon bus stand-in for the car chasing Indy. (Oh, they actually got this what-looked-like Rolls Royce pull up to a house...just like in the original.) The amount of details and little things were so great.

The snake scene was so well put together too. They built the wall, pillars, the ark and had snakes in there too. It was truly something to see. The whole time you're watching've got the "suspention of disbelief" thing happening in your head. It looks like a bunch of kids shot this thing, but you get transported into storytelling land. It's not the sets or any of that, but more of the intent of the filmmakers. There was passion captured on VHS, so therefore it qualifies as a bonafide film. Makes me wonder why I'm spending thousands on HD equipement. I should just hire kids with lots of passion and get to work with the cheapest equipment I can find. It's the talent, and not the equipment. Just an FYI - there was a few scenes where the video was probably some of the worst video I've ever seen. I'm talking the worst! You could barely make out the actors, and the audio was going crazy. But, the entire movie theater was in a trance....who cares about the technical glitches when you're watching true artistic expression.

The wrapup of the film was the "ark" and Nazi ending and it was so COOL! They did some rough special effects that looked great! They used a fish tank and some cotton to produce the ghosts in the imaginative. I gathered that they shot through the fishtank while playing the video on the other side. The director Eric described it, and that's what I thought he said.

I think they should definately do a commentary for the film if it ever gets released, and or the film gets produced about their adventures. In the end, I'd love to see a Hollywood produced film about the kids making the movie, the full feature the kids actually shot, the documentry that one of the kids involved is making right now...and another documentry on the making of the Hollywood movie! Oh, and an added bonus...the original "Raiders" included! lol

The final thing I'd like to say is that the "remake" film got a standing ovation. Yes, the whole place stood up and clapped for a few minutes. Also, I must say that clapping/laughing/silence/yelling were staples during the film. People connected with this film on a level similar to the original. What kid hasn't done something in their childhood that they consider genius and WISH until the day they die someone out there sees it, and says "hey, great job!" This remake made me feel like I had genius as a kid because if these kids had genius...damn, I did too! This film looked like it was fun to make.

Afterwards, the director Eric was genuinely stunned and said we were "possibly the best crowd ever" for viewing the film. He definately was humbled, and answered lots of questions. It probably hit him hard that we all connected with it, and gave them the standing ovation. (oh, the credits were funny too)

I got to meet him, told him great job and he answered a few other questions. He was there with his brother who was in the movie. Overall, a great film experience and I highly recommend you seeing this film if you get a chance. Watch the original "Raiders" first though right before....gotta do that.

Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:04 PM   #2
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More infO?

Where can I find more infomration on this remake? A webpage perhaps?
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:15 PM   #3
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I found this after reading the review..

Don't know if there's more out there..
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Old September 21st, 2004, 09:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for describing the evening, Christopher, that sounds great!

It brought up a bittersweet memory for me. I grew up in Brookline; I remember going to the Coolidge as a 6 year old.

I wrote a feature between junior and senior year of high school, and attempted to shoot it at the beginning of senior year. I say "attempted" because between having to rent a VHS camera/recorder (this was 1982) for a week and my friends being more concerned with their college applications than acting or helping with my film, I ended up giving up on the whole thing part way through. And yes, one scene was shot under the old marquee at the Coolidge Corner theatre.

I guess I'm a little envious of 1) kids today having more access in general to moviemaking gear; even the lowest of tech available today would have meant the world to me back then and 2) playing it to a full house in my hometown. I did get to experience a touch of this 8 years ago when a 35mm feature that I shot premiered at the Coolidge (and was never seen again!), but still...

I have to see that Raiders film, I've been hearing about it for a while now. I think it's tremendous that those two lads got in there and made it happen. Good for them!
Charles Papert
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 06:32 AM   #5
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Charles, you grew up in Brookline? That's really cool. I grew up in the Beverly/Danvers area - we're about the same age too. Have you been to Boston lately? The big dig is still going on, BU has practically taken over the whole area!! (I guess they've always own a huge chunk of Boston)

I'm down in the Brookline area all the time. I just did a shoot at the "Mass Art" college a couple weeks ago. I've got lots of friends there too..

The "remake" of "Raiders" was really cool. I wanted to give a review, so people that won't be able to see it will get a sense of it. Apparently, the chances of it getting released beyond a few screenings are slim. I make a joke to the director Eric, "Can you accidently put it on the Internet?" He said, "No I can't do that". I got the sense that it would mess up the deals going down on their behalf. Understandable, considering the whole thing was bought from the 3 main "kids". It would make a great "Stand by Me" type film. If Speilberg gets involved (even just as a co-producer) it would probably add a little extra magic. Even so, without his involvement the story should be told. The director Eric said that it's possible the film won't get made considering how films get dumped so often. However, they should write a book or shoot it themselves someday if the deal falls through..

Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old February 17th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #6
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Awhile back I had a thread going about this as well. Maybe I should merge the two threads?

It's at if you're interested,

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