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INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM

Directed by Steven Spielberg (1984, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Capshaw and Ke Huy-Kwan

Indy goes to India where he battles worshipers of evil to return the children, and a sacred stone, to a local village.

 

 

3 stars+

November 9th, 2003 on DVD for the 14th time

 
    While this is generally the least-liked of the Indiana Jones movies, there is still a lot to like about it. It is extremely fun, and that fun over-rides the more gruesome aspects of the movie. For sure, the movie has some horror aspects to it. Willie Scott's screams sound like they are coming from a long distance, even when we are looking down her throat. The chanting, blood, and Indy hitting a kid only adds to the horror aspect.

But there is so much to like about this movie, from the always-mentioned seduction, to the great scene of Indy standing at the mine entrance as a kid is about to be whipped, challenging the guards to dare to do it (I still have a poster with this image on it). And of course there was terrific use of multiple things going on at the same time, from the forest campfire to the dinner, especially. It let the viewers focus on a relationship or a serious discussion, respectively, while not letting the other characters out of our site.

While not as good as Raiders or Crusade, it is still a very fun ride, and great Indiana Jones. I was wondering, through the intro, if this was actually the best intro of them all... Perhaps...

 

 

3 stars+

November 9th, 2003 on DVD for the 13th time

 
    I actually liked this movie a lot more this time around. I don't know why, but I disagree with a lot of what I said after watching it the last time.

The story itself was really well written. I enjoyed the locations in China and in India, especially in the village, and the trip to Pankot palace. Indiana knows all about various religions, and what mystical aspects their beliefs entail. Coming upon the villagers, in complete poverty, with no fields, animals or children, made one point: that these were poor people. What Indy didn't believe at the time, was in the power of the Shankara stone: note how at the end of the movie the fields are bright and green, the people have plenty of livestock, and their clothing are no longer tattered. The stone was already protecting them again.

The trip through the jungle on the elephants was greatly needed comedy, though with Willie Scott around comedy was in plenty of supply. This is better comedy, too, than the blatant stuff that we get in The Last Crusade. Even inside the palace, the acting and story was good, with the exception of the dinner scene, which was too over the top. As mentioned below, I loved the "seduction" scene, especially where Willie shouts to Indy's closed door that he'll never know what he's missing, while he is reaching out to her because he is being strangled!

This is the only real use of shadows as I noticed in Raiders of the Lost Ark -as Indy is getting strangled. The director didn't use too many shadows in this second film, compared to the first, but he still gave us a little.

The movie does bog down into too much suspension of disbelief after Indy gets captured, and this is usually what people remember the most. Why doesn't Willie get her heart torn out? Where is the entrance to this place, from which all of the worshipers enter? Why does it take a terminally long time for Willie to be dropped down into the pit, while Indy can bring her all the way back up with a couple of turns of the crank?

With one exception, the only poor special effects come during the mine car chase, and we are left stunned at how the water didn't find the side chamber that Indy and the others used to escape it. The other poor effect is when the priest is thrown from the rope bridge, and the camera follows him down as he bumps along the cliff to the alligators.

As far as female sidekicks go, Willie is definitely the weakest of the three, but it was fun to see the stereotypical woman in place of the tough ones in the other two movies.

There was a lot to like about this movie, and it was definitely a fun ride. From the opening moment to their arrival at the ceremony for Kali and then from the rope bridge to the end, the story was actually terrific. There is even a homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, as Indy goes for his gun when attacked by two sword-wielding enemies -only to find that it's missing!

Yet even during the Kali ceremony, there were a lot of things to like, especially when it came to Short Round. It was uplifting to see him escaping and taking on the guards after he was captured and taken to the mines. He was truly a mini-Indy. I wonder what happened to him afterwards...

At least one of the in-jokes in this movie is very obvious, in that the club at the very beginning is called "Club Obi Wan".

This movie was dealt with the best in the behind-the-scenes features. I really gained a lot of information about this film -and I absolutely loved the stuff about the rope bridge. While the features about the other movies was good -this one had more that I wanted to see. Cate Capshaw did a great job with her interviews, expressing her horror at what she had to do as if she was doing it again! As with Raiders, however, there was way too much focus on material straight from the movie, and "talking heads". That time could have been put to showing us more of the practical jokes and actual shots that occurred outside the film. The "sound of...", "music of..." and "effects of..." specials were neat, but suffered even more from showing us too much of the actual film. The trailer was really poor, as well. I understand why Spielberg says that this is his least favorite Indy film, as it is for me, as well, but that doesn't mean it is a bad film -just check the ratings. His reluctance is very apparent whenever George Lucas made a suggestion, essentially taking over the production, I think.

 

 

3 stars

January 23rd, 2000 on Video for the 12th time

 
    Indy, of course, has been through a lot.  But this is the first time the trilogy has become available in widescreen, so I chose it.  And they've moved this movie to the front of the line, because it actually takes place earlier than the other two. 

Indy is in Shanghai, conducting business, but is poisoned when his customer receives the goods.  The opening scene shows Indy chasing the poison all over the floor, and Willie Scott the singer, chasing the diamond, all among gunshots and scattered ice cubes.  The scene is a typical Indy beginning.  But it is not as well done as the opening scene in Raiders.  Better than Crusade, however.

Indy escapes on a plane, but doesn't know that it is owned by the customer that just tried to poison him.  The plane crashes, but not before Indy and his crew jump to safety in a raft.  They end up in India, where they come upon some villagers who have had all their children stolen, as well as a sacred rock that keeps the place fertile. 

Indy goes to Pankot palace in search of the stone, which he thinks is one of the sacred Shankara stones, with magical properties.  There he discovers the British army on a surprise inspection tour (which is convenient for the ending), and a meal full of snakes, eyeball soup, and monkey brains.  Willie had a lot of trouble with her meal, but Indy is never seen eating.  He obviously didn't have much, because he was really enjoying that apple, later.  But it doesn't really make sense.  Do these people eat this way all the time, or did they put on this show for the British and Indy? 

That is the problem with the whole movie, really.  The special effects are poor, and a lot of situations, which may be neat upon the first viewing, don't make sense after you think about it.  I know, we are not supposed to think in an Indy movie, but still, it detracts from the movie. 

Indy discovers a hidden passage, which leads to the evil ceremony of a human sacrifice.  Indy goes after the stones, which are on a sort of altar, but sees children being used a slaves, searching for the rest of the stones.  He and his entourage are captured, and Indy is forced to drink some magical blood, which turns him into one of them.  Short Round, his sidekick, breaks the spell, though how he knows to do this remains unclear.  Indy goes on to battle numerous enemies, and ends up in a mine-car chase that leads them out of the temple.  But they end up on a rope bridge, which Indy destroys to keep the evil men at bay. 

Of course, he has freed all the children, so they can return to the village, but he arrives at the village at the same time as them, with the stone, of course. 

The story is gruesome, sometimes tacky, sometimes it goes too far.  Never is it boring!  Something is always going on.  My favourite parts were both comedy.  When Indy and Short Round are playing cards in the forest, Willie is running around screaming, discovering the local wildlife.  Short Round accuses Indy of cheating, and then it is discovered that it is he who is cheating, but both take no notice of the screaming woman.  Later, in the Temple, Indy and Willie have tried to seduce each other, but both are too proud to be seduced.  They spend five minutes in their rooms, desperately trying not to go into the other's arms! 

It was fun, but not great.

 

 

3 stars

September 3rd, 1995 on Video for the 11th time

 
   

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