Keeping Up With The Joneses, Part 2: The Temple of Doom
After so many people had commented on my post that I would dislike this Indiana Jones movie even more than Raiders, I had very low expectations for The Temple of Doom.
Somehow, it was even worse than I was expecting.
The Temple of Doom was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and one of the most unenjoyable two hours I’ve experienced in a long while.
One thing that helps people enjoy a movie is a likeable main character. Indiana Jones is not likeable. For everyone on my last post commenting that Indy isn’t much of a hero, y’all were so right, and boy did this movie drive that home! Indy really sucks as a person, and is a total self-serving asshole.
Starting at the beginning, the opening scene is so ridiculous. You should never ever drink a drink that your enemy has handed you, because OF COURSE it’s poisoned! And he had a little kid driving the getaway car?! This guy is seriously bonkers.
The way he treats Willie is honestly atrocious, and it makes zero sense that she’s supposed to be the love interest with how genuinely mean he is to her throughout the film. It doesn’t even seem like he likes her at all, so the romance feels like it comes out of left field and only happens because Indy is “supposed” to be a heart-throb that has attractive women throwing themselves at him.
I know Willie’s character gets criticized a lot for being a constant damsel in distress and screaming nonstop, but honestly there were some aspects of Willie’s character I found pretty solid. Like when Indiana mentions there are diamonds inside the stones, she goes “diamonds?!” and becomes invested in what is happening. She also mentions marrying a rich prince a couple times throughout the film. Here is a woman who knows what she is about. She likes jewels, money, a comfortable lifestyle, and she’s not afraid to admit her vanity. Rock on, girl.
The fact Indy just totes a little kid along and throws him into dangerous situations nonstop is wild. He almost had Short Round killed numerous times. Why on earth is he his sidekick?! Indy really just snatched him off the streets and was like, “let’s go!” Of course, it takes place in a “different time,” so I guess stealing orphans was just okay back then or something.
They did not skimp on the racism in this movie, that’s for sure. During the banquet scene, I kept thinking surely it can’t get any worse, but it did in fact keep getting worse! I assumed that there had to be some controversy over the portrayal of India in the film, not just for the food aspect but for the religion as well, and Wikipedia proved me right. It was pretty egregious.
Aside from the constant racism issue, I just found the whole child slavery aspect really disturbing, and it made me uncomfortable to watch. I was surprised by the plot point of Short Round being put to work with the other kids, and him immediately using a tool to break his chain and escape. As if none of the other kids had thought of doing that before? Seems kind of strange he’s like the only one who attempted that.
I thought the booby trap scene was much more ridiculous than any of the booby traps in the first movie. Like, you go into a room full of bugs and then another room where stepping in the middle of the room makes the doors close. Okay, sure, classic. But then a completely random part of the wall getting leaned against activates spikes coming down? Why are the spikes so slow? If you wanted to kill someone, why not make it instant instead of giving them several minutes to get out of the pickle they’re in? The booby traps in the beginning of the first one are much more instantaneous than the slow-demise style of the spikes. It was just sort of strange and nonsensical.
One thing that bothers me more than it should is the scene where the guy that tries to assassinate Indy gets hung by the ceiling fan and dies. IN WHAT WORLD IS A CEILING FAN THAT STRONG. Ridiculous, but hardly the least silly part of the movie.
Also, I was surprised by how long the minecart chase scene at the end was. How long was the mine?! It’s like that scene in Fast and Furious 6 where they’re on the runway for so long that the math adds up to the runway being like twenty miles long or something ridiculous like that.
I don’t know, the whole thing was just goofy and racist and gory and weird, and I didn’t like it at all. Certainly a movie I won’t be watching again.
While writing this post, I did something I didn’t do for the first movie and looked up the script. I actually read some of it and from just the little portions I’ve been reading, there’s quite a few differences between it and the movie. For example, in the script, Indy doesn’t willingly take the poisoned drink his enemy offered him, the enemy actually slips the poison into his drink when he isn’t looking, which makes a lot more sense than what happened in the movie. I wonder why they changed it?
I will give this movie approximately one shred of credit and say that Indiana and Willie actually had some good, romantic dialogue in the scene where he comes to her bedroom after dinner at the palace. For a second, I could see the character that Indy is ideally. A charming, witty, romantic professor. If only he were so sweet all the time and not a total dick to Willie in the other scenes.
But, yeah, bad movie. Did not like. Looking forward to the third one.