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Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made Hardcover – November 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250001471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250001474
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Here’s a making-of book about the production of the coolest movie you might never see. Back in the early 1980s, when Raiders of the Lost Ark was still in theaters, a couple of kids (Eric Zala, 12, and Chris Strompolos, 11) decided to remake the movie, using a borrowed camera, a cast of friends, and as much realism and accuracy as they could muster. They figured they could do it during their summer vacation; it took seven summer vacations. This is a magnificent book. Eisenstock gives it a real let’s-put-on-a-show feel; fans of the recent movie Super 8 will note a definite similarity in tone, pacing, and sheer gosh-wow excitement. These guys weren’t just making a half-assed tribute to their favorite movie; this was supposed to be a shot-for-shot remake, using the actual script (obtained by sneaking into the movie and recording it on the sly), with music, sound effects, and visual effects (Eric set himself on fire to replicate the burning-bar scene). And think about some of the scenes they were trying to replicate: the escape from the snake-infested Well of Souls, the truck chase, a villain’s exploding head, melting faces, and the famous boulder sequence. Sure, there were compromises—a scene near the beginning replaced a biplane with a dinghy with an outboard motor (because who would give a couple of kids an actual biplane?)—but the thing is, they got the movie made. At a nearly catastrophic cost, to be sure—the account also chronicles the post-production meltdown of Eric and Chris’ friendship—but they did it. An amazing, one-of-a-kind book about a triumphant, one-of-a-kind film production. --David Pitt

Review

“The mother of all fan movies.” –The Los Angeles Times

“Alan Eisenstock’s Raiders! is a fantastic, magical book…I can’t recommend this book any higher, it’s amazing and deserves to be read by anyone even remotely interested in film or fandom. Read it!”
—unitedmonkey.com

“Before the age of Final Cut Pro and laptop editing, these resourceful kids created all their own costumes and effects, performed their own stunts (including the boulder scene), wrangled the actors, and eventually grew into young men.”
Seattle Weekly

"Raiders! is much more than just the story of some kids making a fan film. It’s about the best and worst of childhood and growing up and sharing a geeky obsession through the whole journey. It’s intense and enjoyable and heartbreaking and powerful."
Wired magazine's GeekDad Blog

"The legend of two young superfans' seven-year odyssey remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark lives in Alan Eisenstock's colossally cool Raiders!"
Vanity Fair

"A super-charged (parents: read with caution!) mini-epic that replaces Hollywood dazzle with something far more compelling: the agony and ecstasy of raw adolescent delirium"
—Daniel Clowes (Ghost World)

“The ingenuity that went into the production [of the film] was astounding…. But the book really shines in its emotional wallop.”
The Hollywood Reporter

“Here’s a making-of book about the production of the coolest movie you might never see. Back in the early 1980s, when Raiders of the Lost Ark was still in theaters, a couple of kids (Eric Zala, 12, and Chris Strompolos, 11, decided to remake the movie, using a borrowed camera, a cast of friends, and as much realism and accuracy as they could muster. They figured they could do it during their summer vacation; it took seven summer vacations. This is a magnificent book. Eisenstock gives it a real let’s-put-on-a-show feel; fans of the recent movie Super 8 will note a definite similarity in tone, pacing, and sheer gosh-wow excitement. These guys weren’t just making a half-assed tribute to their favorite movie; this was supposed to be a shot-for-shot remake, using the actual script (obtained by sneaking into the movie and recording it on the sly), with music, sound effects, and visual effects (Eric set himself on fire to replicate the burningbar scene). And think about some of the scenes they were trying to replicate: the escape from the snakeinfested Well of Souls, the truck chase, a villain’s exploding head, melting faces, and the famous boulder sequence. Sure, there were compromises—a scene near the beginning replaced a biplane with a dinghy with an outboard motor (because who would give a couple of kids an actual biplane?)—but the thing is, they got the movie made. At a nearly catastrophic cost, to be sure—the account also chronicles the postproduction meltdown of Eric and Chris’ friendship—but they did it. An amazing, one-of-a-kind book about a triumphant, one-of-a-kind film production.”
Booklist (starred)

“Swift, compelling reading”
—TheSubStream.com

“An excellent read and is just a fun book…Perfect for the entire family and a must own for anyone that is a fan of the Raiders franchise. I cannot recommend this book more highly!”
—Fort Bend Southwest Star Newspaper

“One of the best books I’ve read all year.”
—Susan Spann of the Debutante Ball blog


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The style is fluid and approachable and fun.
L & R
The first time I got about 75 pages into the story before deciding that this was a book I loved so much that I wanted my friends to read.
brian
How I miss that magic combination of free time, inspiration, zero-budget ingenuity and boundless energy!
Tony Wolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I received a hardcover copy of this novel from the publisher for review. (No further compensation was received.)

Like many who will read this book, I was already familiar with the basics of the story. I read what I could about it, found the trailer online, and even reached out to the filmmakers at one point in an unsuccessful bid to bring them to my city, just so I could see the film in its entirety. Ironically, perhaps, that was seven years ago.

But where I regrettably failed in my quest to experience the magic of this film, author Alan Eisenstock has thankfully succeeded in bringing the story to life with Raiders!.

I should start out by saying that I have never read this type of book before, so the concept and writing style of biographical fiction was new for me and took a little getting used to. Because of the narrative nature, I found myself more than once wondering where the lines blurred between fact and fiction; by the end of the book, I came to the conclusion that it was only in the minor details.

The story actually started a little slow for my taste, beginning with Eric Zala just before, during, and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, detailing the devastation left in its wake of Eric's family home. While these scenes felt a little lengthy and extraneous at first, their importance was felt later on.

The slow buildup was, in fact, an establishment of styles. Eric's story is methodical, organized - just like Eric himself. Eisenstock switches his style of prose when introducing Chris; although not overt, there is a frenetic energy that moves it along quickly, giving you the sense that he is on "Hollywood time" - totally appropriate for Chris's story and personality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. G. Gagliano VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The 411 by Maria:

This book was tremendous. I loved reading every page. RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE is a story from start to finish of the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation by at the time teenagers Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala.

The boys meet, have a love of an amazing movie and decide to try to reenact every moment of the
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas masterpiece. From writing the complete dialog, creating storyboards, making boulders, and obtaining a "Indy" jacket and hat, these boys were focused. With school, life and girls getting in the way, it took them some time to complete it but it was worth it especially after they receive a letter from SS himself!

The enthusiasm of the boys starting out to the awkward, hormonal teenage years was told in such candid detail. It is a fast read great for fans of Indiana Jones!

After reading the book and not allowing myself to watch the video until I was ready for the review. I have to tell you that I am in awe of how much work they put into this movie. Simply amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KPREUSSER on March 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fantastic read! Inspirational! Remember when you were a kid and anything was possible? SO good to read the story behind the amazing film. 5 STARS!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelvin Mao on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of two childhood best friends- opposites yet the same, whose youthful sense of wonder and enthusiasm fuels them as they traverse the ups and downs of growing up in small town Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Their struggles and growth are paralleled and reflected by the impossible task of recreating a movie that symbolizes their tender aspirations and dreams.

As they mature, leaving high school for college, college for jobs, the same passions destroy their friendship as young adults. Their differences seemingly outgrow their commonalities, splitting their paths as each finds his own way into adulthood, until finally... Fate brings them full circle, reunited under the most unlikely chain of events. You can't make this stuff up.

This book is really about friendship, and how no matter what multitude of people you meet as an adult, and how close you become with those people later in life, no one can know you quite the same as your best friend when you were ten. The book does a wonderful job chronicling Eric and Chris' journey to this poignant discovery- the true Ark of this tale.

Though their film amazingly made it to Steven Spielberg, found a greater audience than they ever imagined- reaching a generation of fellow Indiana Jones fans, and spawned this book, I don't see Raiders: The Adaptation as just an homage to Spielberg's seminal film. Viewed through the lens of adulthood, it's truly a love letter to childhood, a unique time capsule wherein those simpler joyful times can actually be relived- though best enjoyed with a packed house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SandyNYC on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a review for this book and thought it would make a fun birthday gift for my husband whose reading choices lean more toward the serious....He enjoyed it immensely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L & R on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As you read Alan Eisenstock's account of the making of the Raiders adaptation fan movie, you will be tempted to assume license has been taken with the facts. How could two kids and a cohort of their friends pull off this crazy stunt to make this movie? Further, amidst the drama of their lives, why did these two friends continue for 7 years? Yet, all of the material comes from multiple interviews, archival footage and outtakes from the fan film itself. This story to be succinct is true.

Reading more like a novel than a recount of 30 year old history, the book demands you turn pages one after or another. (Or at least tap on your kindle screen!) The style is fluid and approachable and fun. Suspense comes from the narrative but also from feeling the angst of two teen boys. Being just a few years older than Eric and Chris during the 1980's, I could appreciate the desire to find oneself and stick with a project. Yet at the same time, approaching girls and worrying about grades and the rules are all there too. So, the story ultimately becomes a coming of age tale with the film itself acting as the structure of the book and, to use a George Lucas term for Indy's treasure, a McGuffin.

Having been a Raiders fan since the day I saw it in June 1981, having worked on the TV show Young Indy and being a member of the Indiana Jones fan community, this book is an excellent edition to any collection. And as someone who went to film school and has loved movies all his life, this is a wonderful tale about the power of making movies together and the paths that this endeavor leads to.
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