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Indiana Jones’ Mysterious CGI Cliff Face Experiment

In 2008, with no real context, the Sci-Fi and USA Network broadcast “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” on television. But this version had some noticeable differences. Importantly, they re-edited “Indiana Jones” using modern CGI techniques.

In this short clip, we see the differences in the cliff faces as Indiana Jones pushes a Nazi truck off of it. In the first part, the original film, a matte painting makes up the cliff face. But in the 2008 version, the cliff is much more dynamic, reflecting CGI enhancement.

But here’s the strange part. This enhancement was never used or seen again in any “Raiders” cuts. It’s unclear whether Spielberg or somebody else on the team was just testing the waters? Maybe Paramount wanted to see how it work in just one or two networks? There’s lots of questions on how this one came to be.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is highly regarded as the best Indiana Jones movie—it’s not like the competition is that great. It’s certainly a classic.

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From iconic lines like “Try the sewer” or iconic scenes like Indiana bringing a gun to a sword fight, “Raiders” stands tall in Spielberg’s canon. And while “Raiders” is not perfect, at least it’s not “The Temple of Doom.” Wow. That movie did not age well. But I’m also not certain it was born well either? And Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Here’s hoping Indiana Jones 5 can fix some of the franchise’s mistakes.

Watch the clip above and decide for yourself if the CGI added anything to the film.