Raiding the Lost Ark
Another labour of love by Jamie Benning and must see for Indiana Jones fans. Imaginative blending of Raiders real-time footage with interviews from numerous sources, as well as pop up comments and screen comparisons. The documentary is dense with information and may necessitate multiple viewings. The edit itself is incredibly well executed, it feels seamless.
Video - 1280p. This is currently available in several resolutions and I would urge the viewer to seek the highest level possible. Image quality is all over the scale, depending on source materials. Outtakes are often fuzzy, production or home movies are passable. Editing is skillful throughout, and there is strict adherence to chronological sequence.
Note - Bitrate Viewer indicated PAL format.
Audio - 2 channel stereo. 157 Kbps. Excellent job of layering uncounted sources. No subs, though there are fact pop ups during the entire doc. Preference given to voiceovers. Quality varies, though everyone is comprehendible. Possible exception being Harrison Ford, especially the later interviews. His voice does not always seem properly miked or he mumbles. Not a major issue.
Enjoyment - Over the top. There is a generous wealth of details, untold stories, missing scenes to thrill all fans. Two that come to mind:
1) Early on, after Dr. René Belloq gets the gold, fertility statue, the Hovitos take it away from him.
2) When Indy and Sallah consult the imam, he warns them not to touch the actual ark, nor to open their eyes if it is opened.
If I got started, I could rattle off dozens more. Yet my details would not be nearly so enjoyable nor memorable as Raiding The Lost Ark. This is truly a wonderful companion to your DVD. Get it.
Updates for Database - The edit is 143 minutes (2 hours, 23 minutes) long, not 243 minutes (four hours +).
Editor Jambe Davdar is now going by Jamie Benning.
Jamie Benning has created another wonderful in-depth look at a modern classic. Highly recommended.
A/V Quality - 10
Editing - 10
Narrative - 9
Enjoyment - 10 (original 10)
Recommended drink: Whisky neat
After watching the SW "Filmumentaries" I was sceptical that the same amount of material existed for Raiders to allow this edit to work. Well I was wrong, there is just as much background matrial cleverly mixed in here. If you've not watched one, it's a compilation of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and text-info cut together with the film itself, following the narrative flow of the story. In short genius.
It works best when the behind-the-camera footage of Steven directing a scene, is seemlessly blended with the in-front-of-camera footage of the same scene. At times it's like watching a live on-the-fly edit of what was happening on set. My highlight was witnessing his intense and exacting direction of the Marion-Drinking-Game scene.
Considering there isn't an official commentary available for Raiders this edit is worth having just for the audio alone.
Long may Jambe Davdar's Filmumentaries continue.
btw I watched the vimeo stream and the quality was good enough for me, considring the age of some of the source materials.