Underrated “Family Friendly” Thrillers: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

Ok ok ok, so this isn’t really a horror film, but it certainly has horrific images and it was the film that created the PG-13 rating, as the MPAA felt that the film was too much for young viewers but too childish for older viewers.

I love this film, it has always been my favorite of the trilogy and eventual Quadrilogy, it has a great mix of suspense, action and even some comedy involved. The whole film even develops a semi-love story, but it doesn’t seem to smack you in the face with it, it feels more like tension until the finale. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are a force to be reckoned with when they are together and this is a great reason why, the character are well loved by these two and they know how to tell a story.

Harrison Ford is as good as ever as Indy, if you know the first film than you know he’ll end up on top, as this is a prequel but its still gut-wrenching to see him and his partners in life and death situations constantly, you still feel the dangers involved and you are on the edge of your seat hoping everyone gets out ok.
Kate Capshaw is fucking annoying in this film, she is the complete opposite from Marion in every way, she is the damsel in distress as well as being the “princess” type, who knows nothing about getting down and dirty. She does a great job in this role since that is how the character was written, she probably the only part of the film that doesn’t really evolve too much, but I don’t think thats too bad, I’m guessing she was meant to return eventually, but people loved Marion, so we got her instead.

Jonathan Ke Quan will be forever remembered for two roles, as Short Round in this film and as Data Wang in The Goonies, this isn’t really because he hasn’t done much, but because he makes such an impression in these two roles that you just love both characters. In this film he comes around as Indy’s friend and partner, its never explained why he isn’t in the last film or seen ever again, but this film comes in a time when a Japanese boy could have easily been made a joke of, in this he isn’t, he is head strong and courageous, but at the same time someone the child audience could relate too.

Amrish Puri, could I just say OMFG what a great performance, in every scene he is in he outshines everyone, including Harrison Ford, a great film is a film that has a great hero as well as a great villain and this has to be the best of them all in this franchise. I remember memorizing the chant he gives and creeping my sister out. I’m not religious at all, but I think they handled this religious side very well, Lucas and Spielberg made sure to give us an insight on both the good and evils of the religious, showing much respect.

The score is another highlight and one that needs to be talked about. Of course we have the familiar theme that was introduced in the original film, but we have some new themes, like when we get our first glimpse of the horrific surroundings of Mola Ram’s sacrifice pit, the score by John Williams is masterfully done and each theme adds to the scene its placed in. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have never done a commentary and I can’t see it ever happening, but we do get plenty of behind the scenes footage to fill my knowledge up. If you haven’t seen this film than you must be a child or under a rock, cause its just not possible for a person to not have seen this on TV or by someone else film collection(whether its DVD, LaserDisc or Blu-Ray).

–Eric Curto