Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Written by Nick McCann


“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is nothing short of a revolution. Big money gained, along with total praise and award recognition, made Indiana Jones the latest name added to cultural familiarity. It wouldn’t be long before a sequel would come along for more high-flying action. But not as expected.

After a traditional cold open, “Temple of Doom” begins a gradual transition to something darker and more daunting. While it can be off-putting for some and other times overdone for simple shock value, credit still goes to Steven Speilberg for not repeating old hat with the “Temple of Doom’s” formula and for pushing the envelope a little more. It does come at the cost of the pacing, however. Things take more time to get into motion. But once the ball rolls, it’s the same top-line thrills and excitement you know and love.

Harrison Ford is back again, putting Indiana through even more stacked odds. He plays it with tough guy swagger, as well as being more actively humorous. It’s Ford like you know him. And the young Ke Huy Quan makes for an exceptional young foil and proactive helper for Indy. The same cannot be said for Kate Capshaw. True her fish-out-of-water and uptight attitude does make for funny beats with Indy, but does she have to scream and complain THIS much? She’s a squeal machine for nearly the entire runtime and it gets annoying quick.

Famously, this film drives up the violence and torture more. It skirts the line pretty thin for its rating, reinforcing just how dark the territory is that our heroes find themselves in. Harrowing in the most brutal instances. Aside from that, the film is as action-packed as ever. Minecart chases, spiked ceilings, and sliding down a mountain on a rubber raft, the inventiveness and fun factor are high even when some set pieces test your suspension of disbelief. The production design is rich across every set and location, with special effects that get more ambitious and visceral. John Williams also brings in some new music that’s imposing and big sounding as ever.

I myself am more partial to “Raiders” over this movie. Yet “Temple of Doom” has its own merits to like and admire. Spielberg and company tried some new stuff that hits when it’s good and gives cause for nitpicking when it doesn’t. Not quite as good as the first but never without charm.

“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” Trailer

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