By Jack (California)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is definitely considered to be one of the weaker entries to the Indiana Jones franchise. (Weakest being Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I still remember people in the theater screaming in horror when Shia LaBeouf started swinging with the moneys). This movie can be a bit polarizing: you either love it or hate it. I am more towards loving it, but in a way I feel like I should be hating it (’tis an odd feeling). Unlike many movies I love to death, I can see why people wouldn’t like this film. There are many things to dislike in this movie. But still, it has some of my favorite moments from the franchise.
The biggest problem many people have, including me, is this movie is dark as fuck. I mean this movie has slave-children, people ripping hearts out, torture, and people getting whipped! This can be straight up horrific sometimes! I do like the idea of a darker Indiana Jones movie, but not this dark! It is okay for a movie to turn up the intensity, but whipping children might be taking it too far. Even I, someone who can usually handle darker, more intense movies find this movie at times to be unpleasant. Although, I will say that the more you beat a character up in a movie, the better it is when they finally get out of the situation and everything is happy again. So when they finally free the children and escape the temple there is a great sense of relief (similar to the feeling I got when the credits started rolling in Crystal Skull). Only thing is I had to sit through a load of intense shit to get to that point! Some of the darker scenes I do like. I love it whenever a movie does something so over-the-top horrific, such as the scene where the Nazi’s faces melt in Raiders of the Lost Ark, so I like the scene where the scary-ass bad-guy takes the guys heart out of his chest (I have issues).
That’s one thing I do like about this movie: how over-the-top it is. I mean pretty much everything is over-the-top in this movie. Like the part where they escape from the crashing plane, for example. Yes, it’s stupid, but in a sort of fun way.
Another reason why many despise this movie is the female-lead, Willie (calling your kid Willie is just child-abuse). She is pretty obnoxious. I don’t mind her too much, but she does get on my nerves a couple times. I love the part on the bridge when she finally figures out what Indy is about to do, and she says “oh – my – god!” Short Round gets on peoples nerves as well, but I actually love that kid. I mean he’s a badass!
One thing I will say is that the comedy in this movie aren’t as good as Raiders or Crusade. There are only a couple jokes I genuinely laughed at, unlike those two other movies where I laugh hysterically at some bits. My favorite one though is when Indy thinks he’s got the bad-guy off the mine-cart and looks all smug, then it turns out he didn’t and the bad-guy starts choking him.
Most of the action-sequences are above-average, although the ones at the end are absolutely brilliant. The part where they save the slaves is so great. I love the part where Indy is running along the catwalks while being chased by the bad-guys. The first part of the bridge sequence – that is the part until he cuts the bridge – is one of my favorite movie moments of all time. Although, the second part – that being when he fights the main villain on the cliff face – I find to be a little boring. Then there is the mine-cart chase, one of my favorite action-sequences of all time. It’s exciting, it’s funny, it’s tense; it’s everything an action scene should be.
Something I notice more and more each time I watch it is how bad the dialogue can be, especially towards the beginning when Indy’s dealing with those Chinese guys. Overall, I feel the screenplay is quite inferior to Raiders and Crusade. I mean Indy’s character arc is such has been done so many times and feels very forced. The special effects can be pretty bad sometimes too. The scene where they being pursued by the water in that cave is particularly bad.
The soundtrack is one of the best I’ve ever heard in a movie. It just adds so much more weight to the scenes it’s in. Short Round’s Theme is one of my favorite tracks of all-time, which is the one that plays when they’re traveling on those elephants.
In conclusion, I do love many parts in this movie, but there also things that suck too. It’s annoying because, in order to get to the good stuff you have to get through some of the bad stuff. But again, the good stuff can be really, really good though and it is worth at least watching it once.