December 12, 2013 Leave a Comment
director Steven Spielberg
Often considered the low point in the Indiana Jones franchise until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) mooted that argument, it had been six year since I’d watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with my kids. Which would have made Felix 6 at the time (Clara didn’t watch it with us). That would have been something to file under inadvisable overall. It gave Felix’s friend nightmares afterwards and freaked them pretty good at the time.
Turns out that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was notable as one of the key films that helped usher in the PG-13 rating, being a lot edgier, scary, violent than a normal PG film. And most people, outside of myself, I guess, remembered it that way. I remembered Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and the roller coaster-like mine race scene. Seemed fun in my mind at the time.
Anyways, if you’re considering it with small children, keep that stuff in mind. Sort of a moot point this round for us with Felix 12 and Clara 9.
It was only a couple months ago that we watched Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), so I thought we might as well soldier through the series, more for Clara than Felix who has actually seen the films before.
Turns out they really enjoyed it. In fact, they seemed to enjoy it more than Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was mostly feeling put off by the many things that annoyed me about it the last time I’d seen it, namely Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott. The dance-oriented opening, comic shootout, scrum for a bottle of antidote and a diamond in the Shanghai dance club. The whole thing continues to seem a lot more comic and contrived. By the time they jump from the plane in rubber raft, down the snowy mountains and into raging rapids… I was joking to the kids that the movie “sure started slowly”.
Actually, Clara thought Capshaw’s character was really funny. She laughed a lot throughout at all of her reactions.
Interestingly, it seems that most of what’s wrong with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom seems to fall on George Lucas. Did you know that this movie was a prequel? I didn’t realize that. Wanting to avoid the Nazis as villains, they moved back in time and came up with the Indian Thuggee cult, which winds up turning the film into some rather unfortunate stereotyping regarding India. The “darker” material, part of Lucas’s vision of a trilogy arc annoyed a lot of people involved but they all gave in to his persuasiveness. It’s not that it was all so wrong-minded but it just seems that if you delve into who contributed what, Lucas seems the center of the bad stuff.
By the end of it Felix was asking for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) for our next week feature. It’s an interesting contrast to the last time we watched it. I think I still haven’t seen the third film in the trilogy in over two decades. So I am kind of looking forward to that.
Really, it’s drawn me to one other interesting turning point in my movie-going “coming of age”. I would have been 15 when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out and I recall really liking it a lot at the time. But then there is The Goonies (1985) a year later, also featuring Jonathan Ke Quan, and I was “over” the age of enjoying the kid flick movies as a kid. I don’t know that it’s all that specific to the time or the movies but oddly enough, it comes up from time to time, especially in discussing The Goonies with people. And through said discussions, I’ve come to place my transition between these two summers. And I guess that makes sense in my world. It’s still kind of funny drawing such a conclusion.