Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Poster

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One of my favorite sequels!
Smells_Like_Cheese23 November 2003
I know that there are a lot of haters when it comes to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it has it's flaws and is by no means the strongest movie of the Indiana Jones series, but I just have so many good memories about this film and still to this day when I watch it, it gives me chills and excitement. The characters are memorable, the script is great, and Indiana is still pulling in the action packed excitement continuing from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The direction, editing, even the special effects are great. You have to love Short Round and Willy, the two new side kicks to Indiana's new adventure. Now I agree, Willy can get a little annoying here and there, but she was just so hilarious in that scene with the bugs and having to save Indiana and Short Round. Plus, Short Round has some of the most memorable lines of the entire series "Okey, dokey, Dr. Jones, hold on to your potato!", cheesy, but so funny. Harrison Ford still has Indiana down to a tee, this was the role that was meant for him.

In this prequel, we start off in China on a trade off gone wrong with Lao Che, he ends up meeting a beautiful and very high maintence American girl, Willie. They escape together with Indiana's little side kick, Short Round and accidentally without knowing, they've escaped onto Lao Che's air plane. They wind up in India, where they find out about these rocks that can restore the village they're in, also the children have been kidnapped by Mola Ram and Indiana must free the kids and restore the rocks so the village can be safe again.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a fun sequel, I don't know why people complain so much about it. I can understand if people say it's the weakest of the series, but on it's own, this is a fantastic movie. It's one of my biggest recommendations to my friends as well as other film viewers. It just has everything you could want: action, romance, alligators, and heart sacrifices, lol, OK, that sounded gross, just trust me this that this is such a fun movie. It's one of my favorite films, I know that sounds bad, but I just love this film. It's a lot of fun and Indiana and Short Round are just the best buddies to watch argue on screen. This is an awesome sequel, definitely a must see.

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Prequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
jhaggardjr24 March 2002
It's funny to call "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" a followup to "Raiders of the Lost Ark". This film is a prequel to the 1981 smash hit, a movie where the events that take place actually took place before the events in "Raiders". Notice at the beginning of "Raiders" that the year is 1936. In "Temple of Doom", the year is 1935. See what I mean? "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is another rollercoaster ride of a movie brought to life by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Harrison Ford is back as archaeologist Indiana Jones who this time searches for a sacred stone that was stolen from an Indian village. Along for the ride is American singer/entertainer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw, aka Mrs. Steven Spielberg) and little Chinese sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). On their way to finding the stone they stumble across a palace that leads to the gateway of the Temple of Doom run by an evil Thugee cult. The action and special effects are first-rate as you would expect, though the story is a tad weaker than it was in "Raiders". Plus, Capshaw's performance leaves something to be desired. She goes so far over-the-top in some scenes that you'd wish Karen Allen would show up as Marion. Nevertheless, Capshaw isn't all that bad. She does make an impression during the times when she's not screaming. But Ke Huy Quan (now known as Jonathan Ke Quan) comes off better as Indy's young sidekick. The following year he starred in the Spielberg produced Richard Donner directed "The Goonies", but then didn't appear in much after that. "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is great fun only if you can get by Kate Capshaw's simpering wimpering character or the over-the-top violence. I found it to be exciting from beginning to end.

***1/2 (out of four)

POINT OF INTEREST: this was the film that lead to the creation of the PG-13 rating in 1984 (along with Spielberg's other 1984 movie "Gremlins"). Both "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Gremlins" feature violence that most people felt was too strong for a PG rating, though the MPAA felt that it wasn't strong enough to merit an R rating (other Spielberg movies that got PG ratings that were quite intense were "Jaws", "Poltergeist", and the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark"). So after "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Gremlins" opened in theaters at the beginning of the summer movie season of 1984 and became two of that year's biggest hits, the MPAA realized a new rating had to be created. The PG-13 rating was born. In August 1984, the first movies were released with the new PG-13 rating ("Red Dawn" and "The Woman in Red"). It's not a new rating anymore. The PG-13 rating has held up very well these last 18 years and it'll still go strong in the years to come. But I'll always remember "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" as the leading factor to the creation of the PG-13 rating.
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An entertaining experience, but unable to match the sheer brilliance of the original.
barnabyrudge9 September 2004
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the second of the Indy films from director Steven Spielberg, though chronologically it is actually the first. This prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark tries to out-do its predecessor for breakneck spills and gross-out moments, but the sparkle isn't quite there. It's an entertaining film for sure, but not as good as the original, partially because the plotting this time round is a little awkward and partially because Kate Capshaw as the main female character is an almighty irritation.

The film opens in a Shanghai restaurant, where Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) causes a riot in pursuit of a diamond. Fleeing the scene with American singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and teenaged pick-pocket Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), he escapes to the airport. However, Indy and his companions unwittingly board an airplane owned by one of Indy's enemies, from which they have to make an audacious mid-air escape when the real pilots bail out mid-flight! Soon, the intrepid trio find themselves in India, where they come across a village in the grip of starvation. The village children have been kidnapped by local cultists to work in a mine, digging for the sacred Sankara Stones, and Indy is persuaded by the distraught villagers to rescue their youngsters. His quest takes him to the opulent Pankot Palace and, beneath it and beyond a maze of tunnels, the Temple of Doom.

Ford is great as Jones, bringing genuine charisma to a role that he was born to play (can you imagine how things would have turned out if Tom Selleck had got the part, as originally planned?) There are some great moments along the way too, including the intentionally subversive opening sequence in Shanghai, a particularly funny and exciting runaway mine-train sequence, and an unforgettable banquet at Pankot Palace in which the food served up is enough to churn any stomach. But Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom still can't live up to the standard set by Raiders of the Lost Ark. As mentioned, Capshaw is a real pain on the senses as the always-squealing heroine, and the plot seems to over-stretch in an effort to link to the next development or set piece. The hunt-for-the-missing-children plot device allows Spielberg to dip into the kind of cloying sentimentality that occasionally mars his films too. This is certainly an entertaining and professionally assembled film, but in no way a rival or an equal to the excellence of its predecessor.
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Spielberg/Lucas' (partly) misguided-guide to sheer cliffhanging, shamefully entertaining adventure-lore
Quinoa198413 April 2006
(re-Review): I've never disliked this movie, but it's also been a hard movie to love over time. I also never watched it as much as I can remember Raiders, or even Last Crusade (the latter I feel like was more of a TV thing, like on the USA network). I think the two main things that bog this down are a) I don't really care all that much about the quest for the stones - as far as MacGuffins go, these are some flimsy MacGuffins, which I almost forgot about midway through the movie, and b) Willie Scott is just a terribly written character.

Kate Capshaw, it should be said, isn't exactly BAD, per-say, but her character is so one-dimensional that she's not really given all that much interesting stuff to do except be the uber/quintessential Damsel-in-Distress, to the point (perhaps it was the idea?) of parody, or as some kind of ditzy sexual object. Her best scene is when she is going back and forth across the room, inter-cut with Jones talking to himself, about whether or not to leave the room or wait for the other to come to have 'mating rituals'. Oh, she CAN be annoying in her screaming and perpetual HELP ME-ness, and yet it's interesting that some people - not all, but some - are more annoyed by Short Round.

To put it into Star Wars terms, imagine, easily enough, that Jones is Han Solo (and of course, both are Ford). Short Round is basically one of the droids, doing whatever to help the hero in his quest. Willie, on the other hand, is no Leia, or even a goddamn Padme. It's a flatly written one-dimensional object to follow along Dr. Jones on this mission that, in the grand scheme of things with this series, is a bit superfluous.

Some backstory on the production can sometimes help; it was a dark time for Lucas as he was going through a divorce, and he poured I imagine a lot of that darkness into the depiction of these tribespeople doing their insane rituals involving torn-hearts and fires burned and so on underground. Certainly those moments where Jones is in 'evil' mode are scary - though how he just snaps out of it due to fire is just one of those 'things' you really have to suspend-to-disbelieve here. And on Spielberg's part, he's always there to work and make some craftsman-stuff, but his heart is really in a couple of the set- pieces, like the descending spikes from the ceiling in the trapped room, and of course the cart-chase.

That cart-chase is a piece of icon action cinema, and for good reason; it makes the movie into a literal interpretation of what it's trying to be, as a ROLLER COASTER ride. And like roller- coasters, they're fun, they're diverting, they may be scary, and once they're over you... don't get much substance from them. So Spielberg is there to work but not fully with his heart in it (one wonders what he thought of the script on first read, from future Howard the Duck scribes Hyuck and Katz), and Lucas in a mood that is bizarre and tonally strange. What to make of a movie that has such very dark turns, and the ends with the goofiest set piece of Jones chopping a bridge so that the nameless Indians fall to their deaths as hords of crocodiles are just there already waiting.

In other words, this is the most outlandish, CARTOONISH of the bunch. I'd almost like this more if it was an animated movie; ironically years later Spielberg would make The Adventures of Tintin, a kind of Indiana Jones with a kid as the hero, and that somehow is LESS cartoony than this movie with its scenes where everything is over the top. Again, it makes for a good ride, and Ford is always great as Indiana Jones - yes, even in Crystal Skull, which I don't think is as bad as has been made out to be - but it's memorable only for the ride aspect, not for its particular, shall we say, pathos.
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Why is this one the darkhorse?
bat-57 May 1999
Temple of Doom may not be as good as Raiders, but it doesn't deserve all this negative flak. The story is a little darker but that doesn't take anything away from the film. It makes the situation that much more dire. John Williams' score infuses the sacrifice sequence with a sense of building dread. The chanting, the heavy drums all building into a wild climax of heart burning and lava filled mayhem. The mine car chase is wild fun and Indy's bridge manuver is one hell of a climax. Still don't know why everyone's so down on this movie.
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Kate Capshaw...
warrencorson28019 September 2018 annoying as hell, but otherwise this is a very entertaining, action filled movie!
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Changed My Mind About This Stylish Film
ccthemovieman-15 April 2006
For a long time, this was the only one of the three Indiana Jones films I did not like. Then, when it was part of the DVD package that came out over five years ago, I had to buy it if I wanted the other two, so I gave it a third look. Wow, all of sudden I liked it.

For the first time, the woman (Kate Capshaw) and the young boy (Ke Huy Quan) weren't as annoying as I had remembered them. The stupid kid really had rubbed me the wrong way, but this time only Kate was annoying....and she was fine once she calmed down and got rid of the hysterics.

The action in this film is mostly at the beginning and at the end. It is so Rambo-ish (bad guys never hit the target but good guys always do) it is ludicrous. It also has dumb dialog in a number of spots, paying homage to voodooism, spells and other nonsense.

Yet, despite these criticisms, it's entertaining start-to-finish and has some fantastic visuals. The photography in here is beautiful: the best of the three Jones adventures. I particularly liked the opening dance number which reminded me of a Busby Berkeley extravaganza. This whole film looks spectacular on DVD.
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Perpetually Entertaining...
Xstal6 June 2022
The cult of Thuggees seek to plunder, Sankara stones and all their wonder, an archaeologist will resist, using whips and guns and fist, in a treasure of a film packed with adventure.

There are puzzles to be solved and riddles broken, the dialogue's a joy, beautifully spoken, action packed from start to end, returns a massive dividend, engaging all the way and thought provoking.
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A darker adventure for Indy but still a thrill ride.
davidandrewvantonder28 December 2018
An indication of the personal termoil that Spielberg and Lucas were experiencing at the time, this is a darker, more ominous installment in the franchise although still a rip roaring adventure despite some of the political incorrectness that often dates older films. Not as charming as the original but a solid action adventure movie which stands on its own.
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"Doom" is about right.
dr_foreman28 December 2006
This is a shockingly bad movie. I can't for the life of me understand why it has earned over a 7.0 rating on IMDb and a club of supporters on the Internet. Nostalgia, perhaps?

I enjoy "Raiders of the Lost Ark," even though I find it to be a little politically incorrect and overrated. "The Temple of Doom," on the other hand, is downright atrocious, mightily racist and even a tad sexist. Apparently the movie was banned in India, and I can understand why, since it depicts Indians as miserably poor, superstitious, knife-waving, monkey-brain-eating lunatics.

The really sad part is that the movie stinks even if you manage to ignore the racism. It's chock full of disgusting moments, like the beetle-eating scene and the part where about a hundred bugs crawl all over Kate Capshaw. It simply pushes the gross envelope too far.

Even the never-ending action scenes are lacking. They're okay, I guess, but there's quite a lot of unconvincing blue screen work, and the big flood segment doesn't work because water doesn't "miniaturize" well. As if the special effects weren't bad enough in themselves, they're complimented by an obnoxious soundtrack, including some unusually bombastic John Williams music and Capshaw's relentless screaming.

You know, she really is a terrible heroine - annoying and painfully unfunny. A beautiful woman, sure, but irksome as all get-out. It's very surprising (in a bad way) to see such a lame female character in Indiana Jones after the series started off with Karen Allen's excellent performance as the (relatively) tough Marion Ravenwood.

Capshaw would be quite bad enough by herself, but compounding the casting problem there's Ke Huy Quan as Short Round, Indy's pointless kid sidekick. Whenever there's a stupid bit of slapstick comedy in the movie, Short Round helpfully cries, "Very funny! Very funny!" Which is code for painfully unfunny, of course.

Weirdly enough, Capshaw (whose character is called Willie, for goodness' sake!) and Short Round are really the only characters - the villains are completely faceless. There's a very bizarre segment when Indy puts on his scholarly glasses and has dinner with some people who I guess might qualify as characters, but the scene just doesn't fit with the rest of the movie, and never for a moment does the dialogue feel "real." So, in the absence of strong characters, the movie just sort of drunkenly reels from fight to fight.

I have one last observation. At one moment, Indy is waiting in his bedroom, expecting Capshaw to come in and have sex with him (he's too proud to go to her bedroom). The strange part about this set-up is that Short Round is in Indy's bedroom. Soooo...I guess Indy is expecting to have sex in front of Short Round? Isn't that a little strange? Well, maybe not; I guess the kid has to learn sometime. But maybe Indy should just go to her room, huh?

Sloppy scenes like that are a sure indication that Spielburg, Lucas and co. were really having an off day when they made this. Terrible, terrible, terrible.
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Thrilling action-packed and third adventure movie with Harrison Ford as the intrepid archeologist
ma-cortes5 September 2005
The adventurer and archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) with his bullwhip wielding and hat will fight against nasty enemies in India along with an oriental little boy (Jonathan Ke Quan) and a night club Singer (Kate Capshaw who married Steven Spielberg). Jones agrees with the village's inhabitants look for a lost magic stone. Meanwhile , they stumble with a secret thug cult ruled by an evil priest (Amrish Puri).

The Indiana Jones adventures trilogy tries to continue the vintage pathes from the thirty years ago greatest classics , and the comics-books narrative , along with the special characteristics of the horror films of the 80s decade , as it is well reflected in the creepy and spooky scenes about human sacrifices . The picture is directed with great style and high adventure and driven along with enormous fair-play in the stunning mounted action set-pieces . Harrison Ford plays splendidly the valiant and brave archaeologist turned into an action man .Kate Capshaw interprets a scream girl who'll have a little romance with Indy . The movie blends adventures , noisy action , rip-snorting , humor , tongue-in-chek , it is a cinematic roller coaster ride and pretty bemusing . The motion picture has great loads of action , special effects galore and the usual and magnificent John Williams musical score . The glimmering and dazzling cinematography is efficiently realized by Douglas Slocombe . The pic was allrightly directed by Steven Spielberg. Film culminates in a spectacular finale that will have you on the edge of your seat . It's a must see for adventures aficionados , as perfect entertainment for all the family .
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Inferior prequel -- too comic booky and not enough substance
Wuchakk8 February 2015
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" introduced the character of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and was such a massive hit in 1981 – truly one of the greatest action/adventure movies of all time – that there had to be a sequel; or, in this case, a prequel ("Raiders" takes place in 1936 and "Temple" in 1935).

The opening sequence starts out in Shanghai where there's a wild brouhaha over a huge diamond in a ritzy bar. Indy escapes on a plane with a noisy singer named Willie (Kate Capshaw) and a Chinese boy nicknamed Short Round, which leads to the Himalayas and an Indian village. It's clear that they were trying to outdo the opening jungle sequence of "Raiders" and that's the problem: They overdid it to the point of ridiculousness. At least the first film kept an air of quasi-realism with its fun, adventurous spirit. "Temple" is fun and adventurous too, but the action is so out of the realm of plausibility that it becomes a cartoony farce, not far from a "Road Runner" cartoon. Say what you will about "Raiders," but most of the action sequences were later reenacted on a TV show in order to see if they were plausible, and they were! Not so with "Temple."

The bulk of the story takes place at the great Pankot Palace in India (actually shot in Sri Lanka) and about an hour of that in the hellish bowels of the Palace, the titular Temple of Doom. These sequences feature great sets akin to Conan the Barbarian but with a noticeably comic garnishment. This is why I scoff at criticisms of the movie as too extreme or horrifying for kids. Get Real. "Temple of Doom" is a rung or two above a live-action Scooby Doo cartoon.

Kate Capshaw got the part of Willie out of 120 actresses vying for the coveted role. This is the film where she met her future husband, director Steven Spielberg, and they've been married since 1991. Kate's amiable and effective, but her constant screaming really starts to grate on the nerves. Yet that goes with the part; remember Indy's description: "the worst part about her is the noise" (lol).

Despite my criticisms, there are some entertaining parts, like most of the opening, the trip with the elephants, the introduction to Pankot Palace, the dinner scene and the initial explorations of the catacombs. Parts of the ending are good too, like the cliff sequence and, later, the rope bridge. Overall, though, the story never gains the momentum or insights of the first film; worst of all, the Temple of Doom sequence goes on forever and it's just not compelling enough to sustain interest, plus it's too cartoony. "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is a prime case of too much flash with too little substance. Although sporadically amusing, it doesn't gel as a whole and is a huge disappointment after the incredible "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

The film runs (overlong) at 118 minutes and was shot in Macau, China; Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka; California, Washington, Arizona and Florida; with studio sets in England.

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MR-ODIN23 February 2020
Not as good as the first, but those are huge shoes to fill as the first film was so amazing. This sequel takes Dr. Jones to India where he seeks holy stones and a village's missing children. Still a good story conceived by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg.
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What Were Spielberg And Lucas Thinking?
bigverybadtom12 February 2013
The original "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" was an old-fashioned fast-actioned entertainment show, full of exotic locations, wild (if improbable) stunts, stereotypical (but scary) villains, and clean humor. It took place in the 1930's-1940's and was meant to mimic the pop action entertainment of the era.

This prequel (taking place before "Raiders"), however, is awful. Instead of fun adventure, we're treated to a stupid screaming female companion and an even more obnoxious little boy companion, a silly plot and villains, and worst of all disgusting scenes of eating bugs and steaming monkey's brains. This movie actually made me glad when it ended. Fortunately the franchise was strong enough so that this movie didn't kill it.
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Two of the Worst Supporting Characters in Film History
jace_the_film_guy27 November 2021
This film is so bad. While Raiders of the Lost Ark got dangerously close to the limits of realism (particularly with the melting finale), Temple of Doom dives in feet first. Everything about this film is exaggerated and silly. The acting is horrible, the plot is convoluted and the entire movie is nonstop corny. The addition of Short Round is the second worst decision in the Indiana Jones franchise. There is no explanation of his backstory and no depth to his relationship with Indy. The first worst decision in the Indiana Jones Franchise? Willie Scott. Her personality is unbearably whiny, her constant shrieking is insufferable and her romance with Indy is a sham.

While I love watching Dr. Jones go about his adventures, the supporting characters and the plot itself make this film a travesty.
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Kate Capshaw Annoying, Movie Disappointing
SnoopyStyle25 December 2013
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) escapes from gangster Lao Che in Shanghai with Chinese sidekick Short Round and nightclub singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). They escape from the plane on an inflatable raft. They come down in India in the middle of a struggle for magical stones between villagers, the young Maharajah, and the evil high priest leading a blood thirsty cult.

This is a big disappointment. Steven Spielberg is taking the franchise into ridiculous comedy slapstick action. Kate Capshaw is super annoying screaming non-stop. While the first one had a great brassy and tough Karen Allen, they're going for a blonde bimbo this time around. Somebody really needs to shut Kate up. With people shooting at them, she tosses out the gun and complains about her chipped nail. She's not only playing the blonde bimbo. She's playing it in the most cartoon way possible. Then there is Short Round. He's yet another character to create comedy. If it wasn't for Kate Capshaw's stupid character, I might enjoy Short Round's funny banter.

And the story reeks of stupidity. The first one was well crafted, but this one goes beyond camp and over the edge. It borders on racist against the Indians. But even the basic logic is missing in this one. For example, if Lao Che owns the airline and got the pilots to crash the plane. Why not just return the plane to the airport? Heck why not just not take off? That kind of silliness shouldn't be excused. And I'm not even talking about gliding down on an inflatable raft. This is one big disappointment. It's one long series of ridiculous action scenes. In the end, this is a campy take on the racist early Hollywood adventures in foreign lands.
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"Hey, Dr. Jones, no time for love. We've got company."
ryan_kuhn2 October 2006
After the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the sequel was inevitable. George Lucas came up with the story and Steven Spielberg again directed this second adventure in the Indiana Jones serial. The high energy and joy seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark has been replaced with a darker, more serious adventure, as Indiana is charged with recovering a magic stone for a village in India who has seen drought and all of the children have gone missing. The beginning of the movie is the high point of the film, with an extravagant musical number in club Obi Wan (oh, that George Lucas and his inside Star Wars jokes), a Shanghai night club where Indiana is closing a deal over artifacts from the Chinese dynasty. Kate Capshaw is the featured singer and the latest "Indiana girl" in this film, a movie that, curiously enough, occurs BEFORE Raiders of the Lost Ark, so the suspense of Jones' fate (if there really was any) is removed, and so any potential love affairs that fail to carry over between movies. Also missing is John Rhys-Davies' Sallah and Deholm Elliot's Brody, instead, we get to see Indy's child helper, Short Round, who's job is to go into tight quarters and say "Doctor Jones" about 300 times. The plot is complicated, as I had to watch the movie a couple of times to get an idea of was actually happening, and, unlike the previous film, most of the movie happens in one place. The famous scene in this movie is the dinner at the palace, where the visitors are treated to chilled monkey brains and other appealing meals. The movie does feature a fantastic scene with an underground rail system that turns into a chase sequence that is filmed well and is enjoyable to watch. This film does not have the whimsy or innocence seen in the other two Indiana movies, and suffers because of it. While still an enjoyable film, it is the least of the three Indiana movies.
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No fun at all
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki15 March 2014
For no apparent reason, this story is set one year before Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we are reintroduced (or introduced, as this is a prequel) to Indiana Jones, in a bar in Shanghai, where he is obviously slipped a drug; a slow-acting poison in his drink. A huge fight ensues as he searches desperately for a vial containing the antidote, in a D.O.A.-inspired opening.

Unfortunately, after finding that vial of antidote in the decent enough intro, the vile film proper begins, as Jones and constantly whining sidekick Willie, and obnoxious little kid Short Round (oh please) endure all sorts of grotesqueries in their search for ... some rocks. Rocks? No fun at all, this film degenerates into nothing more than a seemingly never-ending series of repulsive, horrifying events (heart-ripping, kidnappings and child sacrifice, and enduring rooms full of bugs and tarantulas and creatures which have not yet been named crawling over people) for a couple of rocks? Are you kidding me? In the previous film, they found the Ark of the Covenant. Granted, it ends up being locked away in a huge warehouse, probably to never be seen again, but they found the Ark of the Covenant! There was a sense of wonder and accomplishment there.

Here, nothing.

Gone is the (slight) realism of Indy's quest for a historical Biblical object- in its place now, is the horrible doom and gloom of one of the lamest MacGuffins imaginable: rocks in an underground temple, being horded by a wholly forgettable villain.

John Rhys-Davies' character (Sallah) is sorely missed, but I doubt even he could have done much to salvage this material.

I'm sorry to keep bringing this up, but rocks? Bloody ROCKS? Why the bloody hell should we care about those couple of rocks?
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One of Spielberg's worst!
saip_pun31 July 2021
Not sure what Spielberg and Lucas smoked while they filmed this, by far the most nonsensical of Hollywood movies. Chinese cuisine is shown as Indian cuisine :), ageing actress with no depth, shorty steals the show, everything seemed out of place. Watch it at your own risk.
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If only this movie had fulfilled the promise of it's first 15 minutes
cherold14 September 2013
Temple of Doom begins with two of the best set pieces of the Indiana Jones series, a delightful Busby Berkeley-esque musical number and a frenetic scene involving an antidote, a diamond and some ice cubes. They're light-hearted and beautifully done, and for the first 20 minutes, everything in the movie suggests a fun, frolicsome adventure of foreign intrigue.

And then it all falls apart.

The problems start when Indy and his companions arrive in a blighted Indian village. The change in tone is striking; suddenly the movie is a grim story of suffering villagers, their lives in ruin, desperately begging Indy to help them (oddly enough their main concern is a little stone, although he soon learns they are missing something that most people would consider far more precious). From here, the movie drifts into eyeball soup, giant bugs, human sacrifices, and child slavery.

While there are some good scenes, particularly towards the end, where there is a exciting mine cart chase that could easily fit in with that first 20 minutes, the movie is generally not good at all. The story is poorly structured, the dialogue is weak, and the romance between Indy and Kate Capshaw is forced (she's whiny and he holds her at knife point in the first scene; how is that a good start for a relationship?)

Apparently Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas had just been divorced and were feeling depressed, which would explain both why they decided to pursue such dark subject matter and why Capshaw's character is so shrill and inept that I felt embarrassed for the actress (especially since she had to follow Karen Allen's strong character from the original).

Light adventure is not the venue for working out your unhappiness. The writer of Raiders of the Lost Ark actually turned down a chance to script this movie because it was so unpleasant, and that should have given Spielberg and Lucas pause, as should India's refusal to let them film there because they felt the movie was racist. These complaints seem justified; the movie is a mix of weak Indians who need a white man to save them and evil Indians that need a white man to stop them.

If only I could clip the first 20 minutes from the movie and plant it like a seed and let a two-hour movie in the vein of that beginning grow in place of Temple of Doom. This movie isn't just mediocre, it's also tragic; it's the movie that might have been.
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Indy's Formula Still Works, Although the Temple Waters it Down
drqshadow-reviews19 June 2013
A divisive chapter among fans of the series, Temple of Doom is easily the silliest of the initial Indiana Jones trilogy. While I've heard the argument that this character thrives on fantastical situations and traces of lore, for my money the envelope is pressed just a bit too far in this instance. Sure, Raiders used the power of the ark to melt the Nazis' skin and Crusade showcased an immortal knight with a collection of stand-in grails, but in each case those represented the climax of a long, grounded adventure - a mere taste of supernatural payoff. Temple shows no such restraint, diving straight in with voodoo dolls, mysterious brainwashing liquids and, memorably, bare-handed heart removals. It also tinkers with the formula of Jones as a loner, with mixed success. Indy's de-facto sidekick, Short Round, plays up every stereotype of a kid tagalong. He's shoehorned in, no doubt about it, but also adds a new dimension to the larger-than-life lead character via their rapid-fire rapport. The additional presence of a blonde love interest, Willie, seems redundant and unnecessary - her constant shrieks and clueless nature gives the impression Indy's babysitting two kids. Of course, it's not all bad news: Harrison Ford works wonders with his shadier lines and knocks the good ones right out of the park, the comic relief scenes (though over-applied) work surprisingly well, and the action / adventure elements the series is best known for hit all the right buttons. There's no shortage of that old, familiar formula here, but I wonder if Spielberg and Lucas may have overreached in an effort to make the film more palatable to the Saturday morning cartoon crowd.
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A child's dream of masculinity
chaos-rampant23 April 2011
The Indiana Jones films are redolent with scenes of brutality. One such we find here: a demonic priest ripping out the still beating heart from a sacrificial victim, who is then lowered into a pit to be burned alive. Ornamental skulls abound, omens of doom. Why is it then that, despite all this, these films are nothing like the masculine, barbarous art of Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer?

The answer for me is that the filmmaker behind this is an overgrown child. We find that again in his more serious films, but in Temple of Doom he doesn't have to hide. This is as sophisticated as a Conan film, but without any manliness to speak of.

Garish, obnoxious spectacle, a board game narrative, encounters with strange cultures reduced to 'exciting' theme-park rides and stereotype, Temple of Doom spares us nothing that is cheap and parochial.

Spielberg's destructive contribution to cinema with these films then is not simply that the horrific and grotesque are now served out of the multiplex so that anxious teenagers won't have to sneak anymore into late-night grindhouse showings of b-movies to experience them under the allure of the forbidden but instead they now safely beckon to the entire family with the dazzle of a blockbuster, but also that, having made fortunes, these disposable films become prototypes to be emulated. Twenty years later we look back at these clamorous nothings and call them 'classics'.

At the end Indiana Jones lassoes his woman close to him for a kiss. This adult moment Spielberg interrupts by having an elephant hose them both with water. The shtick over, the two of them finally kiss, at which point a chorus of happy children surrounds them. Spielberg's cloying vision of a happy family where the poor and starved are happy to have been saved. Surely one of the most naive, offensive finales in cinema.
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"Anything goes"
Steffi_P6 March 2011
It's practically accepted as a given nowadays that the sequel to a major blockbuster will be a pale and paltry reflection of the original. After all, this is what happened with Jaws, Rocky, Jurassic Park and many others. But there are just as many sequel success stories out there, in those cases where the filmmakers got the right balance between repeating the successful formula and adding enough new elements to keep the franchise fresh. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom reprises the modern-day swashbuckler hero, the blend of breakneck action and easygoing humour and the nods towards classic Hollywood movies that made Raiders of the Lost Arc the fine work it is. And yet it takes the adventure to a colourful new location, adds some sinister horror elements and makes the comedy that little bit wackier.

And of course director Steven Spielberg again displays himself to be a master at this kind of thing. The action sequences are constructed with rapid editing, and getting this right is not as simple as it looks. The director has to make sure each shot can convey what is going on for its brief duration. He must also keep the impression of frantic movement continuous from one shot to another. Hence, when Indy is battling the chunky guard on the conveyor belt, whenever we cut to the Maharajah and his voodoo doll we get the turning waterwheel in the background, just to keep some moving element in an otherwise placid shot. Often, for example during the mêlée at the club in Shanghai, Spielberg uses camera moves that counteract each other, such as moving the camera up in one shot, moving it down in the next, which gives the sequence a punchy feel. But Spielberg is also working hard on atmosphere in the non-action scenes, for example keeping the camera back amid the foliage during the jungle trek, which gives the unnerving impression that our heroes are being watched.

If anything, Harrison Ford seems even better in his role as Indy this time around. He just has this smooth and sophisticated manner that makes us trust him. He can pull off the taunting smile at Kate Capshaw when she eats the unappetizing village food without coming across as mean, and can also compromise his dignity for comic effect whenever some enemy catches his character off guard, as when a thug climbs back on board the mine cart. As his sidekick, Jonathan Ke Quan is a great addition, providing some of the best humour with his lovable smart-aleck ways and keenness to get stuck into adventure. There's also a very fine small performance from Indian actor Roshan Seth, who is brilliant at appearing a model of propriety, yet with that hint of something sinister that makes it believable he could turn out to be a secret baddie. Oh and it's great to see Pat Roach in another appearance as a burly ruffian, bringing the appropriate level of menace to the part as well as his physical bulk.

But Temple of Doom is not without its flaws. Kate Capshaw's Willie Scott is not a patch on Karen Allen in the first movie. The character is a stereotype, but one that is irritating rather than funny. And while Amrish Puri is certainly very good at looking evil, his character is two-dimensional compared to the complex Belloq of Raiders. Also, many of its comedy sequences are simply off the mark, especially the disgusting foods business at the palace. Yes, this picture falls some way short of its illustrious predecessor, but since that was a near masterpiece, it could hardly be expected to. There is much to love about Temple of Doom – the disturbing appearance of Thuggee idols in the jungle, the illogical but fun roller-coaster ride, not to mention the tribute to 1930s musical dance sequences that kicks the whole thing off – a bit of a non-sequitur for an action movie but brilliantly done all the same. It all makes this a worthy follow-up that manages to rise above the usual trashy repetitiveness with which the movie sequel is associated.
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One of the greatest adventure films of all time...
WhitePhantom8 April 2003
Everyone complains about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. One of my friends and I used to argue for months on end about which Indian Jones film was the superior. Almost anyone we ask say that Temple of Doom is their least favorite, and the worst in the Jones trilogy. I believe the only reason people say this, is because it's the middle film, sandwiched between an all time classic, and a Hollywood blockbuster. To me, there is NO question that Raiders of the Lost Ark is the far superior Indiana Jones film. To anyone who says Last Crusade is the best I can do nothing but disagree (let me point out that all THREE films are nothing short of phenomenal). Temple of Doom had so much to live up to after the first film, and instead of trying to re-create Raiders (something I feel Crusade did), Lucas and Spielberg decided to take the franchise in a new direction. In my opinion, this was a great idea. Crusade and Raiders are too similar: both of them take place in desert terrain, both have Indy going after a very famous, biblical artifact, and both have Indy fighting off the Nazi's from attaining this object for global domination. Without Temple of Doom, Last Crusade would be an obvious copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark. A different style of Indy film is needed to expand the trilogy, making Indiana Jones a truly global character, and Temple of Doom did just that.

The film itself is a non-stop action, adventure ride. Harrison Ford is once again AMAZING as the dashing professor/archaeologist thrill seeker. Short Round is a loveable character who adds a humorous touch, and reveals the more compassionate side of Indy's character. The ceremony scenes are truly breathtaking and tense. During these scenes the film contains some very graphic images, but are used justifiably to convey the real dark, feel of this film (i.e. the removing of the man's heart while he's still alive, and lowering him into a fiery pit). The mine cart chase scenes are the most amazing, fast moving action sequence in any of the Indy films, and you feel like you're on a roller coaster each time you watch it. All these events lead to the film's spectacular and memorable climax.

I know with three films as amazing as the Indiana Jones trilogy, it's hard to pick a best and worst film, in fact it's nearly impossible. I'm just going to say that each film is great on it's own, and really shouldn't be compared to the other two.
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