Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the 1984 prequel to the fantastic Raiders of the Lost Ark. It starred Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Kate Capshaw as Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott, Ke Huy Quan as Short Round. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by George Lucas, Gloria Katz and William Huyck.

Where Raiders had a basic, loose story which still maintained some coherency, all such pretenses have been tossed out of the window in Temple of Doom. The audience are thrown right into the action with Indiana Jones fighting Hong Kong henchmen only minutes into the movie, saved by his comic relief/cute child sidekick Short Round only to soon thereafter crash a plane into the the Himalayas. Along for the trip is also the night club singer Willie, who immediately establishes her role in the movie as a stupid, screaming, whining, cajoling female. Indiana & Co go on to eat chilled monkey brains and bugs (apparantly the staple diet of all well-off Indians), reveal dangerous thuggee cults and rescue thousands of children held prisoner by said thuggee cult.

Had it not been for the words "Indiana Jones" in the movie title, Temple of Doom could have been an uninteresting, forgotten 1980s adventure movie. It certainly displays all the characteristics of the worst 1980s movies - one-dimensional villains, gross-out scenes with bugs, uninspired acting from almost everyone in the movie(Harrison Ford being the most notable exception) and thousands of enslaved children(much like in another inferior sequel of the same period, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). As if these flaws were not enough, Temple of Doom breaks cleanly with Raiders in it's portrayal of the female protagonist. Whereas Marion in Raiders more than held her own in bar fights as well as in drinking contests, Willie spends most of her time in the movie screaming, getting kidnapped, or causing trouble for Indy by activating hidden traps. This difference becomes even more pronounced when Elsa in Last Crusade is brought into the picture; yet another woman who displays proof of great intelligence and self-reliance.

In short, Temple of Doom is a pointless, stereotypical movie with few redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, you might feel the need to watch it simply because Indiana Jones is in it. A good idea might be to divert this need into watching(or playing in the case of computer games) any other part of the huge amount of Indy material out there. This movie is not worth your time.

Unusual and dark Lucas/Spielberg vehicle

1984 's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is set a year before our favourite archaeologist's search for the ark of the covenant. Beginning in Shanghai, the movie quickly throws our hero and his two sidekicks (Kate Capshaw's nightclub singer Willie and Jonathan Ke Quan's juvenile offender Short Round) into rural India. There they are being convinced to go on a quest to look for a village's missing children and its missing holy Sankara Stone at the nearby temple. The temple turns out to be ruled by the Thugee Cult, a Kali - worshipping bunch of eaters of monkey brains, cow - eye soup and "Snake Surprise" (cooked Anaconda filled with eels), enslaving the local chidren in subterran mines. This is of course a state of affairs that needs to be rectified, so Indy and the entourage sort these fellows out good.

There are many things that can be held against this film: The most important aspect must be Kate Capshaw's presence and her portrayal of the most annoying female character in movie history, which goes pretty much for Quan's character. I don't think that I have ever heard so much high pitched yelling in one movie. The special effects unfortunately suffer from bad bluescreen disease and the script (not by Philip Kaufman and Lawrence Kasdan this time) has plotholes as big as the Punjab. Then there is the overreliance on cinematic quotes from the first Indiana Jones movie: the fistfight against a large, muscular opponent which ends with annihilation to mincemeat, the swashbuckling opponent scene in which he grabs his gun and thousands of machinegun/arrow shots that miraculously seem to miss any good guys. The acting is wooden and to call the storyline racist would be mild understatement, as it is obvious that educated Indians can't be up to no good. Especially if they're educated in Oxford.

Nevertheless it's an enjoyable romp: much darker than the other two Indy movies, this has impressive art direction and the sets are straight out of nightmare territory. The bad guys are far more frightening than the usual Nazis, and hey, the future Mrs. Spielberg tugged strings in the male psyche that were certainly much more elementary than Karen Allen and Alison Doody's more cultured characters could achieve. The sequences in the mine's tunnels are well executed and the human sacrifice scene is positivily frightening, thanks to John Williams's terrifying score.

So, is it really that bad? Well, yes. But if you leave your brain at the door and take the whole thing lightheartedly, it will provide you with 118 exhilarating minutes. Just don't take it seriously.

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