Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Review By: Gringo

Quick story! I'm a thief! A while ago, when I was bored, I broke into George Lucas' home. After scaling the walls of the Lucas ranch deep in San Rafael (and may I add, it's a stupidly long drive to get there), I forced my way into George Lucas' video archive. Through money, or influence, or luck, or just complete lie, the first tape I stumbled across was the one I didn't realise I'd been looking for.

It had the words "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Creative Meeting" scribbled across it, but was clearly showing its age.

Still, it had aroused my curiosity, so instead of doing what any normal burglar would do, i.e. making a run for it, I sat down in Uncle George's video booth (very conveniently located next to the archive).

From the comfort of the big chair - he's a big man, he needs a big chair - I watched the creative meeting for what would turn out to be the bastard child of the Indiana Jones franchise.

I think this brief snippet of dialogue between Messrs. Spielberg and Lucas helps sum up why Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom was - for want of a funnier expression - doomed from the start:

Spielberg: Hey, I've got an idea! The first movie opened with a trek through a jungle, shot in sinister tones, involving deadly traps, runaway boulders, golden idols and murderous villains. You know what that means we should do for the sequel? YES! A tacky, over-the-top musical number, with deadly poison vials, runaway gongs, golden tea services and comic book clown villains! It will pack them in at the cinemas!

Lucas: Unf, please pass another burger, my neck is not quite fat enough.

There are many other gems included in the meeting, but I've put them into cartoon format. For those of you who can't be bothered to read any more text, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your LOL-mobile into top gear.

If you really don't have a life and want to carry on reading, then be my guest! Why do I hate this movie so much? Hmm! Well, it's the only Indiana Jones movie I really do dislike. I can't stand the tackiness, the headache-inducing plot, the over-the-top scenes that are over-the-top for the sake of being over-the-top, or the fact that reviewing it makes me go over-the-top in using the phrase 'over-the-top'. Damn that movie!

In no particular order, I shall calmly list the major flaws with this movie, which, in case you've forgotten or don't want to suffer watching it again, I will remind you is a prequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Meaning it happened before. In the PRE-UNIVERSE! A LAND OF MYSTERY! Here in handy numbered points is how Lucas and Spielberg pulled a Howard The Duck on Indiana Jones:

1. Willie Scott

Jesus Christ, is there any character in the history of action adventure movies the audience could possibly want dead any faster? Sure, Marion in the first movie had fucked-up gums, but Willie Scott? I'm sure Lucas and Spielberg thought it'd be hilarious to throw a prima donna character in the rough-and-ready world of Indiana Jones, but they were quite overwhelmingly wrong.

She's just fucking annoying, screeching and wailing her way through the movie. As a romantic interest, she's 100% slut (see how easy she lets Indiana do it with her) and 0% point. What function does she serve in this movie other than to fulfil the lame damsel in distress role? At least Marion could punch Indiana in the face. All Willie could do is take the archaeologist's dick in her throat.

2. Short Round

Okay, there is one character in the history of action adventure movies the audience possibly wanted dead faster than Willie Scott, and that's the little sidekick Indiana Jones gets in this movie. Didn't anyone ever question why a 30-something guy has a 10-year-old sidekick? Where are Short Round's parents? What is Indiana paying the poor kid? Why does he speak in Pidgin English? Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a deleted scene of Short Round shouting "ME RIKEY VELLY MUCH!"

Because the movie came out in the 1980s, the Short Round addition can probably be explained to that old colour clash-era cliché equation of small child + movie sequel = $$$. Sadly, like every other movie employing that trick, it turned out to have been a stupid idea. Short Round does a lot of wide-eyed panicking, and does nothing much other than get in the way and laugh a lot. Useful!

3. Anything Goes

Oh how I hate the opening credits to this movie. After the gaudy, bizarre musical number, we get some crap about a Chinese man blackmailing Indiana to give him a mystical urn in exchange for poison they just fooled him into drinking.

Cue a pathetic attempt at slapstick farce as Indiana chases the men round a nightclub, with Willie Scott singing away. It's annoying, it doesn't make much sense and it's as far removed from the enjoyment of the first and third movies as it can possibly get.

The same goes for the deeply unfunny scene in the palace where Indiana, Willie and Short Round are served slop that includes monkey brains and eyeball soup. It's gross-out comedy for the sake of being gross-out comedy, and it's just plain stupid.

4. If In Doubt, Use An Inflatable Raft

Another ridiculous element of this movie is the action scenes. In fact, you could be all witty and say "anything goes" as the writers just went as over-the-top (there's that phrase again!) with this movie.

For example, what happens when Indiana needs to escape from a plummeting airplane? Don't use a parachute! No! Use an INFLATABLE RAFT. An inflatable raft that magically lands the right way up and on a snowy mountain! And doesn't burst! Amazing!

Sure, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade stretched the believability factor to its fullest extent (a 1,000 year old Grail knight who speaks perfect Modern English?), but this movie just urinates over realism so much it becomes laughable. And stinky.

5. You Can Never Repeat Enough Dialogue

By about the fifth time I heard Indiana mutter "fortune and glory" in this movie, my head was ready to explode. I'm a huge fan of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, and you can see this by reading my review of the former here and the latter over here.

In both those movies there is some dialogue that's rehashed over and over again. In the first, it's Indiana going on about the years or the mileage or somesuch. In the third movie, it's all about penitent men and nonsense gibberish from the Grail diary. But in this movie, it's just damn irritating. GRINGO TELLS IT LIKE IT IS!

6. Take What Was Funny And Ruin It

The whole "must go over the top" vibe is evident down to the way this movie tries to outdo the jokes from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Remember when Indiana shoots a swordsman in Cairo? Well in this prequel - that word is very important - he's jumped by two swordsmen, and casually reaches for his gun holster...but no gun this time!

The stupid thing is, it's a reference to the first movie that the character of Indiana Jones clearly gets - yet the whole Cairo thing happens after this movie?! Frustration! And yes, I am very pedantic.

In conclusion, I didn't like this movie very much. Finally, as promised, here is another excerpt from that rare VHS of the creative meeting responsible for the genesis of this movie. Except this time in cartoon form, with a penis joke supplied by Joe!


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