Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ★★½

The opening musical number ala Gold Diggers movies of the Thirties coupled with Indy & Co.'s tussling with the Shanghai gangsters really is unfair. Why tease us with such a better movie when all it is throwaway prologue? Once they literally land in India, the pace slows and we spend what feels like an eternity inside Elstree Studios. Extreme lighting and a ginned up John Williams score tries hard to cover this up but we are indoors on sound stages with fake rocks and smoke machines.

Lucas and Spielberg chose poorly by going with, ahem, a Gunga Din inspired story. In the Thirties, Hollywood might be able to get away with the politics of that story but in the post-war, post-Vietnam, post-colonial, post-political movements in the Eighties this just seems willingly ignorant and mean-spirited. Raiders isn't immune from this but at least they are ultimately fighting them Nazzies; here, I guess they're saying British Raj was the best bet? Oh but they're rescuing children!

Ugh, I don't like mixing in kids with my adventures: don't like em in Star Trek, Star Wars and I don't like em in this. Short Round is great in the Shanghai scene but he just wears out his welcome in the Temple. Kate Capshaw's Willie is actually quite great- there is chemistry there even if it's shared not with her costar but her director. She is funny and channels an old Hollywood Ginger Rogers or Carole Lombard quite convincingly.

About having so many fucking elephants in the movie: do they really wanna be there? I hate seeing so many animals in a movie cuz it's like going to the zoo- you know they'd rather be out rolling in mud or jumping from the trees. Anything but cooped up on a movie set.

Hopefully in the next installment, Indy & Co. can get back to fighting them Nazzies again!

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