Sunday, January 26, 2014

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Steven Spielberg, 1984) Review

Oh I'm going to be in trouble for this one. You know that horrible feeling when you get to a film that you know a lot of people like, yet you yourself think is very stupid and annoying...that's the spot I'm in now! I absolutely love Raiders of the Lost Ark (can't argue with a 10/10) and so did many people, hence why we now have a quadrilogy of films...doesn't mean they have to all hit bullseyes. Let's see why.

While working in China, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds himself escaping from a criminal named Lao Che (Roy Chiao) and steals his plane. Indy finds himself stuck in a small Indian village with a stage singer named Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and a 12 year old Chinese boy named Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and the three have to band together in order to rescue the kidnapped children, stop an insane cult lead by Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) and restore peace to the village.

I'll get the positive stuff out of the way first. Harrison Ford is still excellent as the now eponymous Indiana Jones (I guess they knew that there would be a franchise). The film offers a new tone (I'll get to that) yet Ford still captures Indy's badasse and suave demeanor. There is also some very memorable action scenes such as minecart chases, cliff fights and a great climax on a bridge. John Williams' music is still memorable and the new tracks also stick in your head (again, probably because of the LEGO game...).

Now for the bad things. My God, is this film stupid. Not just stupid, it's annoying too. Very, very annoying. Willie contributes absolutely nothing to the film and the film would actually benefit from her absence. Normally, a pointless character doesn't ruin the film...this one does. All she does is scream and complain constantly. As for Short Round, while he does actually do things, this doesn't stop him from being an obnoxious character either. He screams every line of dialogue but, like I said, actually does things. In terms of the film tone, it seems to miss what made Raiders of the Lost Ark so good. Act 1 and 2 don't feel like Indiana Jones. Act 1 is was too over the top and silly (the raft scene is just bullshit) while Act 2 is actually too dark for Indy. Indiana Jones has dark imagery, sure, but it's normally balanced out by some more light-hearted moments. They kind of muddled it up a bit here. Act 3 is much more like Indy and is easily the best part of the film.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is unbelievably stupid and annoying. Do I hate it? No...well, not entirely. Act 1 is a mess but the film does start to pick up during Act 2, as mean spirited as it is. Harrison Ford and Amrish Puri are the only actors that really stand out seeing as the others make me want to throttle them but there is some great action scenes and music. It is worthy of the Indiana Jones name, definetly, but I just don't think that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull should get all the hate if Temple of Doom doesn't. Can't we agree that both of them are stupid?

There are some things in here that make it worthy of the Indiana Jones name but there is so much more wrong with it that stop it from being up there with the first film.

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