Most documentaries are pretty simple to recap: A filmmaker makes a movie about a topic or person. However, simplicity just doesn’t fit here. Filmmakers Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen made a movie about the making of a movie that is a movie re-made in honor of a movie that was already made. This isn’t Coppola’s Hearts of Darkness which portrays his difficulty in making Apocalypse Now. Far from it. This is a modern day look back at two/three geeky eleven year old boys making a shot-for-shot remake of Steven Spielberg’s classic Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Coon and Skousen catch up with forty-somethings Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb as they are trying to put together the financing and logistics to film the final scene of their unfinished movie Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. These are the same boy that started the process in 1982 and filmed each of the next seven summers until they graduated from high school.
If you are a total film geek, you have probably heard of their film and know that it has been an underground film favorite for years. But you may not know the real life details behind it and certainly not the modern day drama of Eric and Chris as they try to complete it. How about some interviews with their mothers? How about the real world possibility that Eric risks losing his job to complete this thirty plus year old kid’s summer project? How about the personal struggles of Chris over the years, or the fallout with Jayson as he is left out of this final chapter?
Director Eli Roth was instrumental in spreading the word of this film project throughout Hollywood, and the boys even got invited to meet with Spielberg. Mostly we are left with the fascination that young boys can have such passion and persistence over so many years. When asked about whether they missed out on their childhood, Chris responds “We filmed childhood”. A true and fitting response, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Fortunately, Coon and Skousen do.