a critiQal film review Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: After stumbling across a village in India, archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones (Ford) is asked to find a sacred stone that has been stolen from the village, along with all of the children. Indy discovers that the sacred stone - and the children - are being used in evil rituals by a newly re-emerging Thuggee cult...and that's just the beginning.

806 words (Est. Reading Time 4m 1s)

With the upcoming hitting theaters this weekend, we decided to take a look back yesterday at what started it all 27 years ago, .

But why stop with only his first adventure? With fresh on our minds, we plunged directly into Indy’s 2nd adventure, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom. Obviously, Indiana the film series survived this 2nd adventure – but how well would it stand the test of time?

Harrison Ford returns, of course, as Indiana Jones for this 2nd adventure. As this 2nd film is much darker than the first, and puts Indy personally in more danger, Ford manages to make his tough guy Indy as charming and interesting as he did in the first film. Indy’s not adverse to danger, and has good intentions – and he’s willing to put his own life on the line for others.

Part of Indy’s appeal is that he isn’t the typical action hero. He doesn’t have a plan most of the time, and just “plays it by ear” as he goes. Sometimes this works – and sometimes it doesn’t. The audience can tell Indy doesn’t think of himself as a hero – instead, he’s just trying to do the right thing, and he’s hoping his choices are the right ones as he goes about trying to accomplish said right thing.

Karen Allen is replaced in this second film by Kate Capshaw, who portrays Willie Scott, a totally different character than Karen played in the first film. While Karen’s Mirian could drink guys under the table and was able to fight with the best of ’em, Willie is a more typically feminine role. She frightens easily and has a hard time getting dirty (even going so far as to get upset at Indy because she broke a nail). Yet, despite that timidness, she also works well with Indiana.

While Karen’s character seemed to be the female Indy, Kate’s character is almost Indy’s total opposite – yet, underneath a seemingly frail exterior, Willie has a dogged determinedness about her, which is what draws Indy (and the audience) to her, despite her sometimes annoying screams of fright.

Also along for this second adventure is newcomer Ke Huy Quan, playing Short Round, Indy’s young “bodyguard.” Short Round obviously idolizes Indy, and easily could have become nothing more than a meek child needing Indy to save him constantly. Instead, Ke takes over the character so enthusiastically he nearly steals each scene he’s in…and with Indy’s grin, it’s easy to tell he knows it too.

This time around, Indy is roped into rescuing a sacred stone of a village he stumbles across in his travels. Only wanting to rescue some children that have gone missing, and intrigued by the legends surrounding the stone, Indy and his 2 friends stumble across an ancient evil cult – and get a whole lot more than they bargained for.

The whole mood of this second film is darker (something writer George Lucas is known for in his 2nd films) and sometimes pushes it’s PG rating to the limit. To the audience, this means the adrenaline pumps a little bit faster and the sequences are a bit more frenzied and foreboding.

This more frenetic pace could leave viewers in the dust, but instead, leaves audiences with quite a few memorable scenes implanted in their memories. Whether it’s the fast and furious mine car chase, the dinner at the palace, a literal heart-wrenching, a dropping ceiling or a voodoo doll vaguely resembling a child’s version of Indy, this film has lots of imagery that keeps circling in the viewer’s mind after the credits have rolled.

The special effects, like in have definitely become outdated, with some looking downright cheesy. This does diminish the impact of certain sequences, but not enough to pull the viewer completely away from the film.

And even if the audience does start to draw back during a rather simple-looking special effect, Indy and his pals are right there to pull them back into the storyline.

Although the storyline isn’t as good as , the filmmakers have learned a bit about what works and what doesn’t in an Indiana Jones picture, and have come up with some great sequences for Indy, making this film probably even more memorable than the first.

With Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones dashes off on another daring adventure – and audiences have been hitching a ride for 24 years. It’s no wonder. Despite the outdated effects, this second film rivals the first, and Short Round and (for the most part) Willie Scott are decent additions – especially Short Round, who audiences probably would have welcomed back for a return engagement.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – just like it’s predecessor – should definitely be a part of your DVD collection.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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