Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The sets! The spectacle! The darkness! The wacky side characters! Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is almost too much of everything and anything (like they say in the opening scene, "anything goes" - which seems to have been the motto behind this film), so naturally, I adore it. It's a rollercoaster of a blockbuster, directed and shot and production designed to perfection, moving from set-piece to set-piece with ease, all of which have a different inspiration. We get a 30's gangster set-piece at the start, which evolves into sending Indy and his two companions, Short Round and Willie Scott, on a mission to retrieve some holy stones that have been stolen. We get some light investigation coupled with a comedic set-piece, then a funny screwball romantic scene, coupled with an assassination, then it's back to the bugs and levers as we go into the darkest cave and witness a full-on nightmare that the characters then, level by level, has to fight against to get up to the light, through saving Indy, freeing Scott and the kidnapped children, retrieve the stone and best the villain. It ends in plain daylight on top of a massive river, as the New World of the British shoot the shit out of the remnants of the Thuggee cult, showing us visually that what India was and its future can never co-exist, or even understand each other, being literally split apart by a gulf.

And then we have the final scene, where balance is restored, the stone and the children returned, Short Round getting in one last kid-joke as he makes his elephant spray water all over Indy and Willie, and they get united, a man caring only for the old world and a woman carrying only for the new one, as we fade out. How's that for co-existing, and a wonderful end to a pulpy, dark horror-like adventure story unlike any of the other Indy-films - and therefore, probably my favorite.

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