Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

release year: 1984
genre: action/adventure
viewing setting: home DVD, 9/26/12 and 3/20/04, plus many more times before

synopsis: Adventurer Indiana Jones goes up against a secret human-sacrificing cult that also enslaves children.

impressions: I'd actually never watched this one all the way through, and now I know why. While the original movie is an epic in every way, this one's just...not. In the first movie, Indy's fighting for something that could make or break the Nazi war machine and thus affect the outcome of World War 2 and probably the fate of the world. In this one, he's fighting for a few hundred slave-laboring kids. In the first movie, there's a larger overall plot with numerous parties taking part. In this one, he and his two companions accidentally end up in a foreign land with some local problems. In the first movie, there were chases involving planes, cars, and so on. In this one, the only chase is an underground mine-car sequence that makes one wonder why anyone ever dug so deep and then didn't have miners down there. But the most glaring difference between the two: in the original, we had a tough, competent female heroine; in this one, we have Willie, a singer who is completely useless. She can't fight, she's afraid of everything, she complains, she gets in the way. Someone involved in this movie's production apparently thought that a good change of pace would include an utterly helpless female companion for the hero. I'm here to tell you: that person thought wrong.

things to watch for: The feast at the prince's castle: bugs, snakes, monkey brains.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A guy who can rip out your heart and leave you still alive.

acting: Harrison Ford is fine as Indiana Jones, though his character is given different things to do here as opposed to saving the world. Kate Capshaw is outstanding as a completely useless character who contributes nothing to the defeat of the bad guys. The kid who played Shorty was a good humor sidekick, though I'm not quite sure why he waited until the end of the movie to develop karate powers. The high priest bad guy was suitably evil-looking.

final word: Decent adventure movie, but it does not rank up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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