Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Reviews

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January 20, 2017
Well directed, better in the weirdness.
January 18, 2017
The sharp shift in tone from Raider's is not the problem, its far more the execution that is not quite as crisp, nonetheless; Temple of Doom provides an entertaining, darker sequel to the Indiana Jones saga.
January 16, 2017
REVIEW: For many, Temple of Doom is such a radical departure from the other two movies that it doesn't sit well. For them, the comedy is too broad, the tone too dark, the action too over the top, and Kate Capshaw too...screamy. Many cite it as their least favorite and some downright hate the movie. I was one of those people for many years. But, just as certain foods are an acquired taste, Temple of Doom's charms have grown on me. I've done a complete 180 on my opinion of it. That's why I'm calling this review "Give It Another Chance, OR: Why I LOVE Temple of Doom!" and formatting it almost as a legal defense. I will address the regular complaints against the film and show why these perceived weaknesses are actually strengths.

COMPLAINT #1: "The film is too violent and dark." WHY THIS IS A STRENGTH: While Raiders and Last Crusade (with discretion) can be enjoyed by the whole family, Temple of Doom is much more scary and intense. This is part of why I didn't like it as a child but do now that I'm older. I've always thought that heroes are so much more heroic when they're facing greater menace (like the Aragorn facing the horrific Uru-Kai in Fellowship of the Ring). True, in the other movies Indy is fighting the Nazis (officially as evil as it gets) but those "movie Nazis" didn't possess the menace of the real ones. We never see them do anything truly terrible. The Thuggee cult, however, is shown engaging in human sacrifice, enslaving and whipping children (this isn't dwelt on, but it happens), using voodoo dolls, and other creepy things. Some say this is too dark, but I say that darkness, when used to contrast the light, makes the light shine brighter. Plus, the dark and harsh portion of the movie only lasts 20 minutes of the films' 120 minute running time!

For the first hour, before entering the temple of doom, there's action, fun, creepy critters, booby traps, close escapes... everything you want in an Indy film. Then the humor and sense of fun disappears for 20 minutes as the film descends into hell. It never loses its sense of compassion for the enslaved children, or its notion that the cults' practices are horrific and wrong, but for 20 minutes the audience is treated to a nightmare that led to the creation of the PG-13 rating. Why is this a good thing? Because it sets up what is, in my opinion, Indy's finest hour.

Remember, this is a prequel that takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark. At the beginning of this film Indiana Jones is a self-serving treasure hunter. "Fortune and glory!" is the motto he specifically lives by. It is the horrors of the Temple of Doom that awaken Indy's compassion, altruism, and heroism. The audience feels for the enslaved children, and may get the chills at this exchange:

Willie: Indy, let's get out of here.

Indiana Jones: "Right...all of us!"

The next shot is of a slave-master throwing a child to the ground, about to raise the whip, then looking up to see the silhouette of JUSTICE!

In that moment you know that the terror is over, and Indiana Jones is going to be kicking a** and taking names for the wrongs done deep underground. It's a truly fist-pumping moment, earned because of the 20 minutes of terror that precede it. This kicks off one of the great stretches of nonstop action in the history of cinema, as Indy fights to free the children and escape with Short Round and Willie. It's a breathtaking 30 minute crescendo of one amazing set piece on top of another. Cap that off with a happy ending, and you have a literal thrill ride that has successfully taken you from exhilaration to terror and back to the top again.

COMPLAINT 2: "It's too radically different from the other movies, and the action is over the top." WHY THIS IS A STRENGTH: As I get older I realize that, in terms of plot, Last Crusade is merely a rehash of Raiders, with a twist. Temple of Doom is bold, trying something radically new. If Raiders' tone is a tribute to the cliffhanger serials of the 1930's, Temple of Doom is a tribute to the horror films of the same era (Frankenstein, Dracula), where the evil villains are over the top and do that crazy villain laugh which is only parodied these days. While Raiders is a smart, plot-driven movie, Temple of Doom was only ever meant to be a roller-coaster. It's dumb fun, but that's what it's going for. The action is over-the-top, but that's part of the fantasy. Plus, while the other Indy movies are all about him preventing world domination and traveling across the globe, this has him engaged in a rescue mission, stopping an evil that is already occurring, and takes place mostly in the same location. It's a fun departure from formula.

COMPLAINT 3: "The comedy is too broad, and Kate Capshaw is too...screamy." WHY THIS IS A STRENGTH: If you look at the film as a self-aware, campy horror movie with an action hero dropped into the mix, Kate Capshaw's screaming actually fits right in. Some find it annoying when comparing it to Marion's toughness in the first movie, but if you take Temple of Doom on its own terms (as a tongue-in-cheek homage to classic horror, not a tonal sequel to Raiders), it works fine. Also, now that I'm older, I find Kate Capeshaw's performance to be quite funny. She seems to be channeling Lucille Ball a bit. And yes, the comedy is not as witty as Raiders or Last Crusade. It's a bit more campy and silly, but that plays to the film's tone. Like Tremors or Brendan Fraser's The Mummy, Temple of Doom has a charming, self-aware, tongue-in-cheek silliness to it. As was the case of those two movies, it's a type of humor that seemed cheesy when I was younger, but is now funny because I realize that the camp is intentional. Plus, the comedic style helps to balance out the scares because it suggests to the audience that none of this is to be taken too seriously.

In short, Temple of Doom is daring, inventive, and the most thrilling in the series. A movie that opens with a Rogers and Hammerstein-style musical number called "Anything Goes" lives up to that motto, as the film is enjoyably unpredictable. Like a good roller-coaster, you never know what's just around the corner. It successfully mixes romance, tender friendship, horror, broad comedy, and truly crazy stuntwork. While the other Indy films are popcorn movies with smarts and substance, this is proudly just a popcorn movie, through and through. But what a ride! * * * * (out of five).
January 15, 2017
This is the weakest film of the orginal Indiana Jones films. But that doesn't mean it can't be a fun watch. Their are some hard to believe action scenes in the beginning that will take you out of the movie but you get right back in and get the darkest ending of any of the Indiana Jones movies.
½ January 12, 2017
I'm sorry guys, I love Spielberg and Indiana Jones, but in my opinion, this is the worst film in the franchise (and yes, I have seen Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
½ January 8, 2017
Classic Indiana Jones film, one of the very best with Harrison Ford creating iconic moments and lots of action.
January 2, 2017
Definitely a dip in quality from the previous entry. Temple of Doom brings back everyone's favorite archaeologist but takes him on a darker path.

Sure Raiders had its frightening moments but it never felt excessive. This time, the darker moments linger for a much longer amount of time. Even more unnerving is that the lighter moments feel too light. Now we have a wacky kid sidekick and an annoyingly shrill love interest (Short Round and Willie Scott respectively) to serve as our comic relief. The tonal shifts are so extreme that it becomes very jarring.

The personal problems that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas endured during production have noticeably seeped into the final product, making it somewhat of a cynical and unpleasant experience.

It sounds like I hate this movie but in truth this is still very entertaining in many ways. There are some great set pieces, excellent action scenes, and another compelling performance from Harrison Ford. If you're curious, then I would suggest checking it out even though it's very flawed.
½ January 2, 2017
Somehow manages to be considerably darker and more horrifying than Raiders without being any less fun or effortlessly watchable. I understand the criticisms (the sidekicks can be cloying and the darker scenes too much for younger viewers); doesn't make it any less enjoyable for me.
½ January 1, 2017
Rating: 92%
Upping the stakes without backing down on the story, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is one of the rare sequels that manage to (mostly) live up to the original.
December 27, 2016
The 2nd installation doesn't quite live up to the first however still fresh and packed with fun. Short round and Indy have a wonderful adventure that takes them through India and the Temple Of Doom. The female lead isn't half as good or have as much chemistry as in Raiders but overall an entertaining adventure nonetheless.
½ December 22, 2016
I love the others but not this as much
December 19, 2016
It's still Indiana, it's not perfect but it's still good
December 18, 2016
Dark and unsettling yet bold and intelligent, Indy 2 is effectively a horror film that put me off the whole franchise when I was younger, but to be honest, I'm glad I came back to it... Willie is still fucking annoying though.

B+
December 9, 2016
Definetly gorier and darker than other Indiana Jones films, with some of Indiana Jones' most annoying allies, however this film is still a good film in many ways!
½ December 7, 2016
Indiana Jones' worst movie is still a delight.
November 28, 2016
This movie is heavily flawed and a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but it's still a fun ride, although a bit too dark at times.
November 27, 2016
The greatest adventure movie ever. This fact that this movie has gotten rotten reviews, is proof of how degenerate movie culture is today.
November 26, 2016
This movie is the best in the Indiana Jones series! It was also very funny. It had a great story too.
November 19, 2016
This is my favourite action movie ever put on screen, from the first fight scene, to the chilled monkey brains, to the last four action scenes this movie is phenomenal.
½ November 18, 2016
Dark, maybe too dark, and the structure may seem off to some, but The Temple of Doom is a great continuation of Indiana Jones that brings him to a darker place than ever before.
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