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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Updated: 5 days ago


In 1984, there was no bigger summer movie than the first sequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark", INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

Many people remember that it was a major hit, but do you remember how it changed the ratings system for all time? More on that later.

The film opens with our titles over a big stage version of "Anything Goes" in a Shanghai nightclub.

Future wife of Steven Spielberg (he met her when they filmed this movie) Kate Capshaw plays not so bright entertainer Willie Scott.

Watching her performing is our hero, Indiana Jones, perfectly played again by Harrison Ford.

The first ten minutes is perfect Spielberg action, with Indiana battling Chinese gangsters for a priceless diamond and then his life.

We are then off an running on an action packed flight to India (watch for Dan Aykroyd in a bit part at the airport) where Indiana gets immersed in a troubled village and a very bad villain.

It seems that our villagers are missing their sacred stones AND their children. They fear the evil Mola Ram (a great Amrish Puri) has cast a spell on their families.

When Indiana goes to investigate, dragging a screaming Willie and his loyal young assistant Short Round (Ke Yu Quan of "The Goonies") with him, they soon discover a WHOLE lot not to like about Ram and his band of Thugee henchmen.

There is adventure aplenty, from bug and snake filled secret castle passages, a massive underground mining operation, flights with no pilots and bats and monkey brains aplenty.

But its the dark center of the film that changed the ratings industry. Many parents brought their kids expecting light entertainment and found themselves watching Mola Ram pulling the beating heart out of a man's chest, bad guys whipping child slaves and enough scary encounters set to John Williams terrific and intimidating score that kids left in nightmares (along with more than a few sensitive parents).

The rating system was changed to include a PG-13 rating as a buffer between a family friendly PG and a harder R.

Looking back now, our sensibilities are far different, but it is awful scary for kids.

It's also a ton of fun, with Ford's Indiana moving quickly from adventure to adventure with flawless style and excitement.

First rate stunt, action and special effects throughout. The final sequence with a long mine car chase through the underground caverns is a highlight of the whole film series, with strong sound design and visual effects that still hold up today.

At the time, Temple of Doom was reviled by many, but I loved it then and love it now.

It's a fast moving, atmospheric thriller from start to finish and gets an A.



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