Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Review
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The Indiana Jones movies are the ultimate ‘80s adventure films. Take a brilliant and bespectacled archaeologist, Dr. Henry (“Indiana”) Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford), mix it with Ford’s cool, wise-cracking Star Wars character, Han Solo, give him a big knife, a cool hat, and a whip, and you’ve got the character that every nerd dreams of being: a chess club president who’s absolutely irresistible to women.

In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy travels to India in 1935 (which means that it takes place a year before the preceding Indiana Jones movie, Radiers of the Lost Ark), joined by his lovable sidekick, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), and nightclub singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). Together, they face a pre-pubescent ruler with a voodoo doll and a band of ancient cult zealots in order to rescue a small Indian village’s sacred stone—and bring back their children, who have been enslaved.

  
 
Even the greatest, most die-hard Indy fan has to admit that Temple of Doom is just a bit cheesy and stereotypical. Indy’s the attractive, witty, tough-guy hero who’s accompanied by his ever-present comical little sidekick. And he’s followed by a beautiful-yet-reluctant damsel in distress—who always wears high heels and screams at the smallest thing. And no matter what kind of terrifying adventures Indy gets her into, she can’t help but fall in love with him. Of course she can’t—he’s Indiana Jones!

Still, all that cheesy, stereotypical stuff is what makes Temple of Doom such a fun adventure film. Indy may be a tough adventurer, but he’s just a brainy college professor—one who, incidentally, is terrified of snakes. And the situations he finds himself in are creepy-crawly, edge-of-your-seat fun. Who, after seeing the movie, can forget the mine car chase scene or the secret tunnel that’s crawling with bugs? And who doesn’t have nightmares about eating chilled monkey brain for dessert out of a real, live monkey head?

Indy is like James Bond—only dustier—and you can’t help but love him. He’s just too irresistible. And though Capshaw’s shrieking diva, Willie Scott, does get a bit annoying after a while, easy-going, fast-thinking Indy and his adorable sidekick, Short Round, more than make up for it.

With its black magic and secret cults, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is much darker than Indy’s first outing, Raiders of the Lost Ark—but this action-packed roller-coaster ride is still every bit as thrilling as its predecessor.


DVD Review:
As I mentioned in my review of the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the entire Indy trilogy has been re-released in the box set, Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection. And, as with the first movie, the Temple of Doom disc includes plenty of extra features.

To begin, there’s an all-new introduction, in which director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas discuss the making of the movie (complete with original footage), touching on different parts of the movie, as well as the audience’s (and critics’) reactions. There are also storyboards and a few galleries, which probably won’t get more than a quick look. But Indy fans will definitely want to take a look at the other two features—both of which can be played with or without the additional pop-up trivia. One of the features travels the world, visiting the trilogy’s filming locations. The other, entitled Creepy Crawlies, isn’t one for the skittish. It talks with the film’s animal wranglers—and it offers a look at the snakes, bugs, and rats that made the trilogy so skin-crawlingly fun.

Again, if you already own the trilogy (or your favorite Indy movie) on DVD, you probably don’t need to go out of your way to pick up this new box set—unless, of course, you’re a die-hard fan and collector. But if you don’t already own the trilogy, I recommend adding The Adventure Collection to your DVD collection.

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