Thursday, May 22, 2008

REVIEW: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Year: 1984
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG

It was inevitable that the Indiana Jones series would continue with more movies to come. After the first film came out and managed to grab $384 million worldwide, it was only a matter of time before Paramount would green light a sequel. Apparently, it took 3 years for Temple of Doom to come out with shootings and pre-production. It was hotly anticipated and was something fans were waiting to watch. When the film released, it grossed an estimated $333 million worldwide on a budget of $28 million. While the movie definitely passed it budget, it fell short of $51 million compared to the first film. The movie also received some mixed reviews though most were positive. As the same with Raiders, I wasn't able to watch Temple of Doom in theaters because I was still growing up and was too little to watch this.

Plot Outline:
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is back once more who crashes into India after a highly enjoyable Shanghai club brawl. Along for the ride is sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) and noisy Nightclub singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). They end up in a village struck by hardship and famine when their magical sacred stones called the Sankara were stolen by an evil Thuggee Cult. Indy and gang end up trying to save the village, as well as fighting against a wily bunch of evil worshipers and an evil cult leader named Mola Ram (Amrish Puri). Its up to Indy to peace back to the village and stop this evil cult.

The first film in a trilogy is always the best out of the three. That same philosophy is apparent here too. While this movie is known as a sequel to many because its the second Indiana Jones movie released, its actually a prequel. The events in this film are before those found in Raiders. The story isn't as imaginative and creative as the first film. The adventure isn't as epic or huge as the one in Raiders. While their are a ton of action scenes that make this a worthy sequel, it just isn't as focused as the first film. I loved the Nazi side of the story in the first film, but here that's missing. While this is still a good story for the movie, its just not as great as the one Raiders had. Jones is back and great as ever, but some of his cast members get pretty annoying and distract you from the story. I praised the first film for having great and creative traps, but that's almost gone here. We get a few traps here and their, but their not as great as the ones in Raiders. The stunts on the other hand are easily as impressive as the previous film. The ending just like Raiders is good. Its nothing shocking, but its what the audience would expect.

Harrison Ford returns as the famous adventure seeking Indiana Jones. He does a great job just like he did with the first Indy film. Hes also more open this time around and more funny. Hes probably the only good casting in this film. Kate Capshaw plays as Wilhelmina 'Willie' Scott and she is terrible when you compare her to Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood from the first film. Kate Capshaw's character is just too annoying and not funny at all. I really missed the character of Marion. The chemistry she and Indy had was really strong so its a shame shes not in this film. Jonathan Ke Quan plays as Short Round and this is the worst casting in this whole film. I cant believe the writers wrote this kid in because hes pointless. He isn't needed and is easily the weakest aspect of the film in my opinion. We also have Amrish Puri playing as Mola Ram and hes really good. This is the second great casting behind Ford. Puri does a nice job acting his character out. His look and voice is is just great for his character.

Just like Raiders, the films source is in pretty good shape, but their is grain here and their. Its nothing that's going to distract you alot. Colors are pretty saturated with with an orange tint. While Raiders was a colorful film, Temple of Doom is sort of dark. Their are alot of scenes that are mostly at night or in bad lit areas. Detail is improved from the first film due to the budget being alittle more, but that doesn't mean its going to knock you off your socks off. Close up shots look really good and detailed, but some far away shots can look soft. The special effects look pretty good for a movie of its time. While the Indiana Jones trilogy has been released on DVD along time ago, it was only recently that Paramount decided to release them individually for a special edition version of each of the three films. Those special edition releases have the same picture quality found on the older box set release. This is really disappointing because it's in need of some remastering especially in high definition.

The soundtrack for Temple of Doom is just as impressive here as it was in the first film. John Williams who composed the score for the first Indiana Jones movie returns here to score this film. I was really impressed with the score he did for the first film and that same score is present here too. Williams also composes other music for the films story. It isn't was great as the movies score, but it makes the movie feel so much better. While the movies score is fantastic, its bass isn't too great. Just like Raiders, the bass seems alittle outdated. A movie like this is suppose to sound smashing with great rumble effects, but it just doesn't. The bass is still their , but its not full or loud enough. This isn't the movies problem, but rather the poor DVD encoding. This still has a great soundtrack, but It could have sounded much better had Paramount remastered the sound in 5.1 DTS.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a good movie and entertaining just like Raiders was. The story is fun to watch, but it falls short if you compare it to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The cast is good, but some of the characters can get really irritating. The visual effects are much better than Raiders, but that doesn't mean much. It still has some soft spots and really does need a remastering. The soundtrack is impressive and just as epic as it was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Like the picture quality, the music would have sounded better if it was remastered. Temple of Doom is a fun movie that's suppose to be the sequel to Raiders when in fact, its actually a prequel. The story is fun and all, but it doesn't match that of Raiders. The whole movie feels alittle bit rushed. I still enjoyed this movie and can recommend this to those who have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. I may not be as great as Raiders, but its still entertaining.

Grade: C+

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