Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K.: The Austin Chronicle Screens: 'Lost Ark,' Resurrected

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Austin Chronicle Screens: 'Lost Ark,' Resurrected

The Austin Chronicle Screens: 'Lost Ark,' Resurrected

The story begins in Biloxi, Miss., with three boys -- Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos, and Jayson Lamb -- and one adventure hero, Indiana Jones. Handsome, endlessly resourceful, as quick with a whip as he was with a quip, Indiana Jones hijacked the heart of America in the summer of 1981, and our trio of 10-year-olds proved no exception. So the next summer, the three began filming a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Seven years later, they wrapped.

The film, making its world premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse this Friday, is nothing short of stunning. Everything is here -- the rolling boulder, the live snakes, the heart-thudding truck sequence, and everywhere flames, flames, flames. The boys made a few inventive substitutions -- a puppy dog stands in for a monkey, a boat for a plane. But even more impressive are the things they don't substitute -- a submarine, a truck on fire, a melting face, the same copy of a 1936 Life magazine used in the original. This is not "cute" or "impressive considering their age" -- it is a genuine virtuoso work.