Today’s movie holds a lot of memories for me. First off, this is the only movie in the Indiana Jones franchise that I ever saw in theaters. Actually, that might not be entirely true. There is a chance that I saw Raider Of The Lost Ark in theaters but just don’t remember it. Anyways. One of the reasons that I remember seeing this was because I saw it with my dad. The other reason was because of the somewhat violent imagery. In fact, this movie is one of the reasons that the PG-13 rating came about. But more on that later. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy today’s movie, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.
The plot In 1935 Shanghai, Dr. Indiana Jones is meeting with Shanghai crime lord Lao Che at a night club in order to make an exchange, a diamond for the remains of an ancient Chinese emperor. During the course of the exchange, Indiana drinks some poisoned champagne and the antidote winds up in the hands of Willie Scott, a lounge singer. Indiana and Willie manage to escape the club and wind up in a cab driven by Short Round, Indiana’s 11 year old sidekick. They make it to the airport and escape in a cargo plane, but the plane happens to be owned by Lao Che, and while Indiana and the others are asleep, the pilots dump the fuel and bail out of the plane, leaving it to crash in the Himalayas. Indiana, Willie, and Short Round manage to escape by using a life raft to slide down the mountain, eventually ending up on a river in India. They are met by the Shaman of a poor village, who believes that the Hindu god Shiva sent Indiana and the others to help the village retrieve their sacred stone and missing children from evil forces in Pankot Palace. Indiana is reluctant to do so, but when a child, clutching part of an ancient manuscript, manages to escape from the palace and return to the village, Indiana changes his mind. Indiana, Willie, and Short Round make their way to Pankot Palace, where they are met the Prime Minister of Pankot Palace, Chattar Lal, who welcomes them and offers them to stay the night. While Willie and Short Round are disgusted by the food served at dinner, Indiana is talking with Chattar Lal and Captain Blumburtt, the commanding officer of a British Army regiment that is inspecting India, about the villagers claims but Chattar Lal dismisses them as superstitious nonsense. That night, Indiana is attacked by a Thuggee assassin and, after dealing with his attacker, he goes to Willie’s room where he discovers a secret passage. After making their way through the booby-trapped passage, Indiana, Willie, and Short Round emerge inside an underground temple where they witness a Thuggee ceremony, with the Thuggee’s high priest, Mola Ram, performing a human sacrifice by removing the beating heart from his victim before lowering the still living man into the depths of a volcano. When the temple appears deserted, Indiana goes down and tries to retrieve sacred stone, which happens to be one of the legendary Sankara stones, as well as the two other stones in the Thuggee’s possession. As he is about to leave, he hears the sound of children crying out in pain and goes to investigate. He finds the villages children enslaved and forced to mine for the other two Sankara stones. When he sees one of the overseer’s whipping a child, he tries to stop him but ends up being captured, as are Willie and Short Round. Mola Ram tortures Indiana before making him drinking a liquid called The Blood of Kali, which cause him to fall into a trance and follow Mola Ram’s commands. Short Round is sent down into the mines but manages to escape and makes his way back to the temple, where he witnesses Mola Ram about to perform another sacrifice, with Willie as the intended victim. Short Round uses a torch to break Indiana’s trance and together they are able to rescue Willie from Mola Ram and Chattar Lal, another Thuggee follower. After grabbing the Sankara stones again, Indiana goes back to the mines to free the children and winds up battling the large overseer. During the course of the battle, the Maharajah, who is also in a trance, uses a voodoo doll to hinder Indiana’s efforts until Short Round manages to burn the Maharajah and free him from the trance. The Maharajah tells Short Round how to escape the mines and after Indiana finally defeats the overseer, when he winds up being crushed by a rock crusher, they use a mine cart to escape. Mola Ram sends some of his men in mine carts after them before he has the rest of his men destroy a water tower, causing a flood of water to race down the tunnels after them. Indiana, Willie, and Short Round eventually make it to the surface, but Mola Ram and his men wind up cornering them on a rope bridge. Indiana cuts one of the ropes, sending most Of Mola Ram’s men plunging into the river below, where they are killed by the crocodiles in the river. As they are hanging on to the remains of the bridge, Indiana and Mola Ram wrestle for control of the bag containing the Sankara stones until Indiana begins chanting, causing the stones to glow red-hot. Two of the stones fall into the river but as the third stone falls, Mola Ram grabs it, but the stone burns his hand, causing him to fall into the river while Indiana is able to grab the now cool stone. As the Thuggee warriors begins firing arrows at Indiana, Captain Blumburtt and his men arrived, having been summoned by the Maharajah, and capture or kill the Thuggee warriors. Indiana, Willie, and Short Round return to the village, where the children are reunited with their parents, and give the stone back to the village Shaman.
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom was initially met with mixed reviews from the critics, but would later receive more favorable reviews, with a current rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. While some critics praised the mixture of adventure and humor found in the film, many criticized the violence in the movie, saying it was not suitable for children, thus making this film one of the reasons for the PG-13 rating. The audiences loved this movie almost as much as the first one as it would make over $333 million worldwide and set a record with it’s opening weekend gross of $45.7 million. However, the film was met with a lot of controversy due to it’s portrayal of several aspects of Hindu culture .
Yeh, that dinner was definitely something to remember. This wasn’t quite as good as the first movie but it was still a great movie to watch. Harrison Ford did another great job in this movie and Short Round’s relationship with Indiana had a good comic relief/big brother feel to it. Amrish Puri (Mola Ram) also did a great job but Kate Capshaw really seemed like nothing more than, in her own words, “a dumb, screaming blonde”. The plot and writing were both really good, with Lucas once again coming up with an incredible mixture of adventure and humor. The special effects were pretty good, especially the scene with the sacrifice, but there were some scenes with the blue/green screen that didn’t look as good. A great movie that is definitely worth watching.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5