Temple of Doom (inspired by Films to be buried with)

5 Mar

Is there a film that you used to love but have since come to realize is pretty bad? The answer, for me, comes in the form of Indiana Jones, Willie Scott, and Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. This movie fell very far for me- it used to be way up there, and now, when I recently watched it, I could only count the many ways it failed. How could a movie that once brought me so much joy be so bad, after all? Let’s see:

The story is a mess (first we go from China, to a plane crash, to an Indian village, to a trek to an Indian palace…). The editing, continuity and sound mixing are bad (Willie Scott yelling at her elephant like a ventriloquist). The one note characterization of Short Round, Indiana’s sidekick who has seemingly known him forever? The cartoonish portrayal of the evil Thuggi cult, and the icky foreign food like chilled monkey brains. So much of it now is eyeroll-inducing. And yet as a kid the sense of adventure that animates “Temple of Doom” won me over. There was a period of several months during elementary school- several months!- when my brother and I would pop this VHS tape in our VCR and watch it promptly after school EVERY DAY. We knew all the lines and every beat by heart. We cheered as Indiana and his friends liberated the imprisoned Indian children. Perhaps this movie is best watched with an uncritical eye. But as I recently discovered, it’s hard to watch as an adult.

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