Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ★★★★★

Temple of Doom is the first movie I remember seeing as a kid, and I can remember that first watch like it was yesterday, in all it’s vividly thrilling, scary, and playful detail. It came out in 1984, so it probably wasn’t on video until 1985, which means I would’ve been around five years old. Not much else I can remember from those days; but this experience is especially clear. I can recall the feel of the carpet in that house, the look of the old Zenith TV flashing in the darkened living room, and most importantly, the incredible tension surrounding Indiana Jones’s perilous adventure into the evil Indian palace.

Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite IJ movie. Steven Spielberg: his greatest strength is story, followed by his ability to transform that story into an incredible sensory experience. This one is like a rollercoaster. Harrison Ford’s roguish Dr. Jones, his chemistry with Willie Scott and Short Round, the fight with Lao Che, the raft jump, the dinner scene, the bugs, the beating heart, the rope bridge, the John Williams score, the underground mine—its iconic, flowing like a vivid dream that moves in and out of some nightmarish realm.

Spielberg holds a special place in my heart for this one. For a lot of Gen X’ers it’s ET, but for me it’s Temple of Doom, all the way. Maybe it imprinted me in some way, seeing it at such a young age. But I love every frame of this dark adventure. Watched via Paramount Pictures Blu-ray.

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