Saturday, November 2, 2019

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom PosterB.jpg

The first Indiana Jones sequel actually occurs in the year prior to Raiders of the Lost Ark, opening in Shanghai in 1935, where Indy is in negotiations with a Chinese triad over ancient artifacts, such as the remains of an ancient Emperor. Chaos naturally breaks out, with Indy’s sidekick Short Round, in Vietnamese child actor Ke Huy Quan’s film debut, rescuing Dr. Jones and his flame Willie Scott and taking a plane westward. Abandoned by its pilots, however, the trio ultimately finds themselves in an Indian village, whose children have been taken hostage by a local cult, as have three ancient stones.

Indy agrees to help them, and is taken to a palace that serves rather unappetizing food, and finds a secret passage leading into the eponymous Temple of Doom, where Dr. Jones and Short Round briefly find themselves trapped in a death chamber, and Willie, having to overcome her fear of bugs (with John Williams’ music in this scene really making the mood more memorable), rescues them. The three find themselves captured by the cult, following which is a sequence of scenes that leads to their escape from the temple and rescue of the enslaved Indian children.

The film has aged well, but like Raiders, it showed issues with America’s film rating system, which at the time had no intermediary between the PG and R ratings, the former which it received despite its violent content such as the villainous shaman ripping a victim’s heart out, and negative portrayal of Indian culture. Had it not been a Spielberg film, I think it would have been rated R, and even the new PG-13 rating would’ve been too easy. It’s really sad America’s film raters somehow think saying the F-word is worse than violence and torture, and again, I think films should be judged based on their actual content, cohesion, and themes rather than their influence, positive or negative, and nostalgic feelings.

All in all, probably my least favorite of the franchise, but it’s still a good movie.

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