When English mountaineer George Mallory was asked, infamously, why he’d ever attempt to climb Mount Everest, he replied, "Because it’s there." The same logic can be applied to an extensive, elaborate recreation of Steven Spielberg’s masterful Raiders of the Lost Ark, which has been filmed by Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala. Why did they do it? Because Raiders is there.
Their process has taken them 33 painstaking years, and the L.A. Weekly – in its comprehensive profile of the duo and the film – report that the remake finally is finished. Their story is basically the stuff of legend. Strompolos and Zala started their process as children in Mississippi, so enamored with Spielberg’s 1981 thriller that they decided to recreate it. They only made it so far – there’s only so much children can accomplish, after all – and they eventually abandoned the project after years of passionate filmmaking fun. There was one scene, in particular, that flummoxed them. How could they recreate Indy’s fight with the massive German outside of a moving plane? They couldn’t.
As the L.A. Weekly reports, the duo was asked about filming the notorious Flying Wing sequence after a Hollywood screening of their remade creation, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. Though reluctant at first, the team finally figured out how to raise enough money to build the Flying Wing, acquire costumes and extras to play Arab and Nazi soldiers, track down vintage trucks and piece together this sequence… just to blow it up in a fiery wreck. In the end, it had to look like this:
The L.A. Weekly reports that the six-minute sequence cost more than $50,000 to complete. It continues from earlier footage of the 11-year-old Strompolos, and it completes (sort of) a masterpiece that has been three decades in the making. The replica of the Flying Wing ended up being 78-feet long. There were complications with the shoot – primarily with the explosives – but they finally blew up their replica, and Raiders: The Adaptation was complete.
You can watch a portion of the original Adaptation here:
No word on if the men will re-screen the version with the Flying Wing addition any time soon.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.