Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)


“You're gonna get killed chasing after your damn fortune and glory!”
“Maybe. But not today.”


            Archaeology is something that fascinates so many. It is incredible when watching a documentary about an archaeological excavation how these archaeologist gleam so much about the past, a culture, a person, a religion, a former way of life from the smallest of objects. Today archaeologists are extremely thorough in their collecting procedures and local politics. The field was not always like that though. Famously the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s entire Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art is considered to have been stolen. Using blackmail and illegal ways, Luigi Palma di Cesnola funded the excavation of Cypriot antiquities while he was appointed to the American consul in Cypress in the 1860s. Cesnola than brought his collection to the Met where he became the first Director and where the collection is still located to this day. Cypress could have used the movie character Indiana Jones on their side. (In fact most archaeologists in the 1930s were like Indiana Jones… well, they were like him in the sense they used the same practices as the character). The country could have used Indiana like he was used by an Indian village to get back their sacred rocks in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
            Temple of Doom takes place the year before Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1935. Professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is in China. He is in a nightclub to give the crime boss Lao Che an ancient Chinese artifact. Lao cheats the professor and almost kills him by poison. Indy of course manages to escape but he has a bit of hindrance with him in the form of the nightclub’s singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). Indy and Willie, along with Indy’s kid sidekick Short Round. All three narrowly escape when their plane goes down and they jump off the plane on an inflatable raft.
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            They wind up landing on a river and stopping on the shores of a small village in India. The village is desolate. All the children, they find, have been taken away from them and that there is a palace that had been silent for such a long time and now it is occupied once again. The stories of the palace are not good. Indy sees that the village’s sacred stones have been taken. He now feels it is his duty to help these unfortunate people find their children and their stones so their land can once again come back to life and the village can thrive again. Willie is not happy about this detour at all and complains the entire way to the palace.
             At the palace Indy questions the people running it about a cult known as the Thuggee that were supposed to have been banished one hundred years previously. Everyone connected to the palace of course denies any such knowledge of this cult and of course Indy eventually finds them under the palace. He also finds the children of the small village have been enslaved in mines and caves working until they can no longer work. Indiana Jones returns the stones to the village where there is now green growing and the children have returned as well.
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            Besides Harrison Ford, I think the cast of Temple of Doom is really lacking. Ford as Indiana Jones he is brilliant. No one could have been Indy but him. I could not stand the character of Willie so in turn Kate Capshaw annoyed the piss out of me. Willie is quite possibly one of the most annoying characters ever. Every time she opens her mouth I want to cry. She was such a poor follow up to Marion Ravenwood who is one of the best written female characters in a movie. It is like the writers went backwards with portraying their female lead. Willie was a whining, complaining, screaming, pain in the ass, damsel in distress. (Well, I guess technically they did since Temple of Doom is supposed to be a prequel of sorts). Despite the character being annoying Capshaw’s acting, to me, was terrible. I do want to give a mention to Ric Young who plays Lao Che’s son because he played the notorious villain Suit and Glasses on the TV show Alias. He was the first villain to really come up on Alias besides the main bad guy and to any fan of the TV show he is iconic. It was cool to see Young in a role outside of Suit and Glasses. (There is also a big Grey’s Anatomy/Alias/Kate Capshaw connection. If you want to hear this insane rambling of mine leave a comment below).
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            Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the lackluster one out of the original trilogy. Every time I watch Temple of Doom I cannot believe that this was the follow up to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders is one of the most perfect movies ever between the story, the direction, the acting, and so many other aspects and then George Lucas and Steven Spielberg followed that perfection up with a story that is just silly and with a female character that is beyond a joke. With all my bashing of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom it is not the worst movie I have ever seen and I will always watch it as it is part of the Indiana Jones trilogy (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is another discussion I will not get into at this time). This is definitely the Indiana Jones movie to drag your heels to see. 
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