Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation clearly shows all you need for rousing adventure is enthusiasm, a willful abandon for one’s physical safety and John Williams music. The film is an attempt at a shot-for-shot adaptation of the original, made by and starring children (over approximately seven years). Their motive? Well, when they started, there was no “priced to buy” VHS version.
The best performance in the film might be director Zala as Belloq, but Chris Strompolos is good as Indiana Jones too. Ted Ross has fun as Toht (the Nazi with the scarred hand) but he’s not exactly good. As Marion, Angela Rodriguez is enthusiastic without necessarily being good or bad. At any rate, it’s impossible to imagine it without her.
The most impressive part of the film, besides the editing of sequences to the Williams music, is the action scenes. As a friend said, much of those scenes are examples of “bad parenting.” They do not attempt to fake any action sequences, instead these kids are jumping onto trucks from trees and getting dragged behind trucks and so on. It’s incredible to see.
The only thing wrong with it, the only place the lack of budget affects The Adaptation, is establishing shots. The Adaptation only works, because of that absence, if one has seen the original. In every other way, it could stand alone (again, the John Williams music helps—not to mention they use the Ben Burtt punching sound effect).
It’s a delightful experience.
Directed by Eric Zala; screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman; photographed and edited by Jayson Lamb; produced by Chris Strompolos.
Starring Chris Strompolos (Indiana Jones), Angela Rodriguez (Marion Ravenwood), Eric Zala (Dr. Rene Belloq), Ted Ross (Major Arnold Toht), Alan Stenum (Sallah), William Coon (Dr. Marcus Brody), Clay LaGrone (Satipo), Michael Bales (Colonel Dietrich), Kurt Zala (Gobler) and Sam Cummings (Barranca).