It was really interesting to see this documentary right after I’ve watched “The Adaptation” (which in turn I saw right after the original, which really turned out to be a great triple feature), since it gave me an even greater appreciation of the work done by the kids back then in the 80s. However, as much as “Raiders!” celebrates their achievement, and rightly so, it also doesn’t shy away of showing the down sides, and paints a surprisingly candid and ambivalent picture of the main trio.
My favorite part of this documentary was everything that dealt with the filming that took place back then in the 80s. How the project came to be, some behind the scenes-material from the shoot, as well as the insights into the solutions they came up with, and how they dealt with the problems and challenges that arose. I also loved everything about the late recognition that they got. How Eli Roth found the tape and showed it to Harry Knowles (of “Ain’t It Cool News”-fame), who then let it play during a break at his annual “Butt-Numb-A-Thon”-24-hour-movie-marathon. Some of those scenes, especially from the special screening that arose from that, really gave me goosebumps. “Raiders!” also serves as a celebration of fandoms and fan films in general, something that I also very much appreciated. It’s a testament of art in all forms, and how sometimes we can be deeply touched and influenced by something, as well as the lengths that some fans are ready to go to celebrate that which is important to them. However, another big part of the documentary was the filming of that one scene that they couldn’t get back then, and which they only finished almost 30 years later: The airplane sequence. Said scenes were quite interesting too, and they featured one of the truly standout moments of the film that really gave me pause (the explosion). But overall, I would have preferred it they would have trimmed down that part, and concentrated more on the making of the Adaptation back in the 80s. How the project got to be, how they found their team, et cetera. Also, the constant shift of focus between then and now was a little jarring. Nevertheless, “Raiders!” is a great examination of fans, fandoms and fan films that proved to be a great double bill with their actual adaptation, giving a lot of background information, and through that, even further enhancing my appreciation of their work.