Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
In Shanghai, China, a deal between archeologist adventurer Indiana Jones (Ford) and crime boss Lao Che is not going as planned. When a shootout suddenly erupts, Indy makes a daring escape, taking nightclub singer Willie Scott (Capshaw) and his sidekick Short Round (Quan) with him. Unknown to them, they board a plane belonging to the crime boss they had just outrun. On flight, the group wake to a now pilotless plane on a crash course over the Himalayas. The trio cheat death by using an inflatable raft that safely takes them down the slopes and into a raging river. The river current leads them to a desolate village in northern India, where the poor villagers believe Indy to be the savior they had prayed for, who will retrieve the sacred stone that had been stolen from their shrine and bring back life to their village.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a action adventure film by director Steven Spielberg and was produced by George Lucas, who also co-wrote the overall story line. The film is the second installment in the Indiana Jones film franchise and is a prequel to the successful first film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). The film was criticized for the brutal violance and horrific imagery it presents and was also the subject of controversy for the way it depicted Indian culture and Hinduism.
Harrison Ford returns to his role as Indiana Jones, with the support of actress Kate Capshaw and child actor Jonathan Ke Quan, who play the roles of club singer Willie Scott and Indy’s 11-year-old Chinese sidekick Short Round respectively.
It’s no secret that Spielberg probably sees this film as one of the “Not so proud of” projects in his filmmaking career. You can’t blame him, the film did stir a bit of negative controversy during its time for being too violent and for portraying Indian culture in the wrong sense. I may be wrong, but i’m sure a kid or two may have lost sleep because of the horrific and nightmarish images they had seen in what they thought was a fun filled family movie titled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. “Temple of Doom” should have been the clear sign to just leave the kids at home on movie night.
So what are we talking about here? In a nutshell, inside the Temple of Doom; People are fed chilled monkey brains, eyball soup, and beetles, the place is run by a demonic cult, people are sacrificed and offered to a whirlpool of molten lava, hearts are ripped straight out of your chest, children are slapped, whipped, and forced to mine as slaves… well it was that, plus a lot of India’s population were probably like “That is not Indian culture, you portray our gods falsely, we do not do that in our country,” that got people talking. I guess it was only right the director take initiative on censorship a little more seriously and suggest slapping a PG-13 mark on every other torturous film that came after this. Either that or we can blame a lot of people back then for overreacting to this film.
Fun ranting aside, I hardly remember the film being this brutal. I’ve always remembered the Indiana Jones series to be a happy go lucky fun adventure. For what it is though, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is one enjoyable and entertaining film, but definitely not as good as the first installment that came before it. The controversy that surrounds it is actually an interesting enough reason to go see this. Maybe its just me, but I find entertainment in how darkly comic, edgy, and adventurous this actually is all at the same time without losing the whole Indiana Jones theme and feel. Spielberg’s directing is genius.
Just like the first film, it’s the huge sets accompanied by the large number of extras in costume, all the convincingly simple special effects, the storytelling, likable characters, high adrenaline action, and just the simplicity of it all that make this an excellent film.