Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Reviewed on 2008 May 26
The second Indiana Jones adventure, this one giving Indy a slight greedy streak (just enough to make him human; he’s still a good guy) and a couple of sidekicks as he zips through India on a quest for some sacred stones.
After a cool stunt with the Paramount logo, we’re abruptly dropped into a glittery nightclub in 1930s Shanghai. Indy (Harrison Ford) is facing down gangster Lao Che over a priceless Chinese artifact and a diamond the size of a snow cone (when do Spielberg and Lucas not lay it on with a trowel?). In a series of events that I won’t ruin for you, he winds up in a remote village of India with his protege Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and Lao Che’s empty-headed, high-maintenance moll, Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw).
Initially all Indy wants to get home, teach Shorty how to be an archeologist, and get away from Willie’s whining, but the villagers plead with him for help. Their children have been kidnapped and they fear they’ll never get them back or prosper again. Their sacred Sankara stone was also stolen, and until it’s recovered they feel doomed to misery. Willie, of course, doesn’t want to help, but Indy is softened by their pleas. He agrees to trudge to Pankot Palace and try to free the children and the artifact.
This was a fast-paced, entertaining follow-up to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it still had that ’40s serial feel. Raiders is still my favorite of the Indys, but this is great, and the energy it maintained was amazing. I remember one critic saying he felt tired after watching it. Kate Capshaw’s depiction of Willie was annoying, and it was meant to be. It was also pretty funny. She wasn’t really a bad person, just a pedicure junky shackled to Indy, and there were times when I felt equally sorry for both of them.
Three chocolate morsels and a nice basket of fruit. Hold the monkey brains.